Escapee GO! is something that we still see all too rarely on the DSiware service: a game that is not a puzzle game (or some type of clock). I have seen it being aptly described as "Metal Gear meets Pac-man", in that you have to navigate a maze while escaping detection.
You play as an amnesiac girl trying to escape a lab with her newfound psychic powers. You have to find these powers in the maze before you can use them, much like the power pellets in Pac-man. You don't ever get to strike back at your pursuers, however. You'll only slow them down, increase your own speed, paralyze them with fear or teleport to a random spot in the maze.
The big problem with the game is that your field of view is too limited. You can only see down a path when you've got a line of sight, i.e. you're standing in it or are just standing around the corner. Other than that, you have an area around you in which you can "sense" nearby enemies, but that area reduces to almost nothing while you're running, making it close to useless. But even if you didn't need a line of sight to see your pursuers, limited vision would still be a problem because you're limited to seeing what can be shown on the DS screen, while in the later levels, you can be in long corridors that are easily 2 or 3 DS screens long. And the enemies can definitely see you from that far even if you can't see them.
Couple that with the fact that there are no real hiding places where you can go to evade your pursuers once they've spotted you, and you get a game in which luck becomes more important than stealth or a talent for escape. If you have a power-up handy you stand a chance, otherwise you can try to run from your pursuers, but a very limited stamina bar means youíll soon run out of juice and will get caught quickly.
The game is very short. There are about 10 quick levels, most of them being little more than a tutorial for each power. I blazed through the first 9 levels in half an hour, and then spent another half hour on the last level, which had the longest, most unfair corridors in the game yet. Then it was over.
The funny thing is, I was enjoying myself until then, but the last level shows just how broken the game really is.
Once youíre done with the story, you can play through it again on a harder difficulty, or you can play any level in an endless mode that has you evade capture until youíre caught, but I just donít see myself going back to the game.
The appeal of the game is mostly that itís different from whatís out currently in the DSiware library, and that itís $2. Now there are worse ways to spend two bucks, but as for the game standing out currently on the platform, DSiware simply has to get a little bigger and more varied and suddenly uniqueness isnít a good enough reason to recommend Escapee GO!
Good review Panda. I downloaded this on a whim a few weeks back since I had 200 points to burn. I barely made it into a few levels because the looping music started to get pretty annoying. That seems like such a lame gripe, but I couldn't get past the game's sound quality.
No, it's a pretty valid gripe, I found it to be a problem as well, I didn't mention it simply because the word count for a DSiware review was getting ridiculous. I meant to write 2-3 paragraphs tops, but I kind of had to describe the gameplay as best as I could before I could explain what was wrong with it.
I've always sort of thought of our "reviews" being more than just the text of the review. The discussion afterwards is a part of it as well. Therefore you don't really have to try to include everything in the first post. I think it makes more sense to have an ongoing dialogue about a game than just a static review. Of course, a site like IGN allows reader comments on the reviews, but do they ever lead to real discussion that fleshes out the review more? Eh.
Ha! I just downloaded this game on a whim, forgot you had given it such a bad score. What raised my eyebrow was the four-player local multiplayer (yeah, I'll get some use of it). Will post my thoughts soon.