Mouldy Toof Studios and Team17 give us an amazing sandbox with lots of narrative and gameplay innovations, from cooperative multiplayer to variety of prisons
With his funny prisoners and jails in exquisite 16-bit pixel-art, The Escapists 2 takes us back to the four digital walls of one of the amusing indie series of recent years.
The title, as its direct predecessor, is developed by the Mouldy Toof Studios with the valuable contribution of Team17. The evasion of our character continues to be the center of gravity of game mechanics and history: unlike the past, however, this time we can arrange escape in the company of several other prisoners through the new multiplayer cooperative and competitive mode. And that changes everything.
While remaining in the path of the past chapter, the Mouldy Toof traces a completely new road through the introduction of dozens of innovations and improvements suggested by fans and those who have already played the previous episode of this cute sandbox saga.
The 20 hours spent with the anti-heroes of The Escapists 2 will help us analyze the title in this review that accompanies the release of the game on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch version will come out later, but will include all the content and functionality of the versions available today on PCs and consoles.
Evading prison has never been so fun! The maps of The Escapists 2 are considerably larger than those of the previous episode. Each of the ten proposed environments includes planes, roofs, tunnels, and ventilation tubes, as well as the outside areas surrounding prison facilities.
Our hero’s life will be marked by appeals, work, and procedures conducted under close surveillance of the guards: being able to work out a flight plan will not be easy even though developers have added dozens of new objects to crafting.
Every prison in The Escapists 2 has its own rules and dangers: only the most daring players will be able to escape without being noticed by the guards. From this point of view, the addition of multiplayer mode does not necessarily help make the escape plan easier: by playing together with three other friends, for example, it may be easier to find the objects needed for evasion but becomes more complicated “Stay in the shadows” and not be seen by the guards.
For this reason, The Escapists 2 introduces a new combat system that makes the clashes with the guards and other prisoners more exciting and fluid: the new set of animations includes powerful attacks, parades and shots, making it even more important to go to Gym for training and improving muscle tonics.
Also interesting is the Local Versus Mode that simplifies playability and eliminates any “jailbreak constraints” (and snipers on the perimeter walls of the structure) to allow us to challenge our friends in split-screen and see who is able to escape first during the course of one game-day.
In order to fully appreciate the work of developers of The Escapists 2, however, it is necessary to gain a lot of experience between the four digital walls of the first prisons available. Who is approaching only now in this series, in fact, will find particularly frustrating the first few hours of play because of the difficulties encountered in finding a solution to escape from the prisons: every evasion needs a lot of patience, attention to detail and a bit of luck.
Graphics and Sound
Graphics, such as gaming mechanics, received a substantial upgrade from the previous chapter: The Escapists 2 follows the example of other indie titles and ideally evolves from the 8-bit consoles of the mid-1980s to the style of 16-bit of early 90′s platforms.
The prisons of The Escapists 2 have a great deal of detail, with beautifully built interiors and perfectly recognizable objects both ingame and as icons within the menu.
Developers have also worked on animations of characters and guards, improving existing ones and adding many more to the evasion phases and, above all, for barefoot combat or with crafting objects.
The cure for the details cast by the Mouldy Toof is reflected in the evocative soundtrack of The Escapists 2, which is really interesting and capable of harmoniously following the rhythm of the play scenes
With The Escapists 2, Team17 and the authors of Mouldy Toof succeed in the unlikely attempt to expand the already huge original title game offer.
The disproportionate amount of content poured into this small jewel of independent video production is really amazing. Switching to a 16-bit pixel-art graphics enables developers to evolve every aspect of the project: the new crafting system, the variety of prisons, the original combat system and the introduction of multiplayer (both cooperative and competitive) perfectly fit with the previous game mechanics.
The excellent price/quality ratio, attention to detail from Mouldy Toof Studios and the monstrous longevity of the main campaign and online modes make The Escapists 2 a must-have sandbox for all fans of the genre.