Today, I dive into another indie game that I completed during perhaps what is to be the only “dry spell” for games in 2022. Escape From Life, Inc. is sure to delight many, so let’s get started:
- Title: Escape From Life, Inc.
- Developer: PowerBurger, Sometimes You
- Publisher: PowerBurger, Sometimes You
- Release Date: April 10, 2020
- Platforms: Xbox Series X/S and One, PS 4/5, PC, Linux, Nintendo Switch
- Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch–single-player mode
Escape From Life Inc. introduces you to three playable characters–a fish named Bob, a reindeer named Ern, and an eagle named Rick. Each are experiencing yet another day in their lives until they are abducted and wake up in a strange lab! Bob the fish happens to wake up with synthetic legs–how and why? Even Bob does not know. After shaking off the shock, these three animals team up to try and escape from, you guessed it, Life Inc.
In the beginning of the game, we don’t know much about this facility. Bob, Ern, and Rick meet a friendly robot named Mike who seems to forget they are test subjects and not friends. They also meet a variety of other test subjects, including a bright-eyed talking onion.
Although the story is relatively light, I noticed and appreciated themes of friendship, ethics within science, and choosing right from wrong. Escape From Life Inc. balances dark and comedic elements, which made the entire experience enjoyable. For example, the dialogue between Bob, Rick, and Ern is filled with laughable quips, yet all the while, we learn a lot about each of their lives. Rick the reindeer in particular made a soft spot in my heart, as he was ridiculed for his stutter and made to feel like an outcast by his peers (including Rudolf and “Santa”). Then…we always have that moment when we need to use the body of a dead pig to jump on and reach a platform…
I won’t ruin the ending; however, I will applaud the fact that, once again, the dev mixed in elements of the traditional happily ever after, punctuated with loss.
Escape From Life, Inc. is considered a puzzle platformer where the gamer swaps between Bob, Rick, and Ern to progress. Each character has a unique ability. Bob the fish is the only one that can interact with and swim in water. Ern can fly, and Rick can use his antlers to break boxes and take down robot enemies. Although a co-op option is available, I played alone and still enjoyed swapping between characters.
There are also different styles of puzzles as you progress through all five chapters in the game. Many times I had to resort to some parkour wall-jumping or wiggle through some pipes. Block and switch puzzles were plenty; however, I felt they were designed well–it wasn’t teeth-grindingly difficult. The boss fights were also a lot of fun, but due to game design, don’t expect it combat-heavy mechanics. Escape From Life Inc. also has some fun collectables, like acorns for a secret society and animals for rescuing.
Overall, the gameplay mechanics were simple, clean, and enjoyable. I personally did not experience anything off-putting, and if I died/failed at a puzzle, it was purely my fault.
I adored Escape From Life, Inc.‘s graphics. It’s simple (almost old-school pixel style), quirky, and colorful. There’s just something lovable about about the joyous talking onion and the gruff-speaking cat with the eyepatch. The sound matched that of the graphics–simple yet fitting. I found it catchy, and it never grated on me.
Lastly, this is not a long game. I believe that Escape From Life Inc. respected the player’s time. It was not too long or too short.
Yes. I give it four and a half stars because Escape From Life Inc. is an absolute gem. I can’t begin the gush about how a quirky game with the most bizarre creatures and setting is so much fun, and because of some of the collectables, I will likely be replaying it in the near future.
I also want to point out that this game was made by a now seventeen-year-old. Bio below:
I’m a 15 year old solo developer from Sweden, and this is my passion project I’ve been working on for about 1.5 years. It’s a very personal game, with almost every tiny detail having its own little story to tell. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it 🙂Escape From Life Inc. (2020)
Not only did this individual create an entire video game, they created a fantastic one where I can absolutely feel their passion. I highly recommend Escape From Life, Inc. if you are looking for something unique, quirky, and balanced without needing to bang your head against the wall. Not only that, this game comes at a very affordable price of $6.99 USD. If you are still on the fence, a demo is available.
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Source: Escape From Life Inc.