On the surface, The Escapists 2 is an interesting RPG where you play prisoners trying to escape from increasingly-secure prisons and holding facilities. Basically, you’re expected to complete your daily routine while formulating and carrying out an escape plan as to not arouse suspicion.
So is The Escapists 2 a great escape or should it stay in lockdown?
Fun gameplay loop
Even better with friends
Controls and navigation could be improved
At it’s core, the gameplay loop of The Escapists 2 is rather simple. In your prison, there’s a daily routine that you have to complete. This generally involves attending roll call and meal times, doing exercise, and just being where the guards expect you to be at a given time.
Outside of being in the right places at the right time, you also need to formulate an escape plan, buy or craft items to help you carry out this plan, and work towards your goal without alerting the guards to what you’re up to.
This enjoyable gameplay loop reminded me of playing The Sims. While following your routine, you have to find extra time throughout the day in order to work towards the bigger goal of escaping. You’ll find yourself completing side quests for NPCs, improving strength and fitness stats by working out, or studying to improve your intelligence and craft better items.
The crafting system adds a good amount of depth to the game. Of course, this crafting isn’t as deep as some other games but there are enough things to make so that it doesn’t get boring. The system is easy to understand as nothing you make requires more than three items but you’ll regularly be looking for that one rare component.
The Escapists 2, much like the original, makes use of your typical indie pixel art. While the visuals aren’t the best you’ll ever see, they’re not necessarily bad. However, the general presentation and UI can be a bit noisy and it isn’t always made clear to the player why certain actions create suspicion and others don’t. The controls and navigation aren’t perfect, either. It can get tricky interacting with certain objects and navigating menus is a bit of a chore.
Despite a couple of minor complaints, however, I found that the game really achieved its full potential via multiplayer. Escaping prisons on your own is fun, but there’s an incredible feeling you can only get from you and some friends putting a plan together and coordinating perfectly to make your big getaway.
The Escapists 2 is a fun game. It’s challenging but it’s not a game that you should take too seriously. There are plenty of options and a good amount of depth for players to get creative when it comes to escaping and its few negative points are easily offset by the fact that escaping with friends is so darn delightful.