Preview - Escape Plan on the PS4

Taking risks isn’t easy, that’s why it’s called taking a risk. In everything we do, we put ourselves in some level of danger. Climbing out of bed in the morning is a choice, one we make freely without a second thought, or if it’s too early, after several hits of the snooze button. Either way, we plunge ourselves into the real world each day, and submit to the risks, and leaps of faith that the world throws at us. You may laugh, or this realization may turn you into a paranoid hermit who never gets out of bed.

Don’t become the second guy, unless of course your reason for staying inside it to play more PS4, in which case, nice job. I imagine that’s the only job you’ll be getting if you’re refusing to leave your house though. My apologies, I digress though. The point of this foray into the hypothetical was to introduce the concept of taking risks which I believe I’ve done fairly well. A little too well perhaps, but better to do more than not enough. In the gaming industry, people are very, very hesitant to take risks.

And they should be, a game like Call of Duty takes millions of dollars to make. Grand Theft Auto V cost more than most movies to produce. These big titles take very small, very calculated risks because their wallets are on the line. Of course, this kind of mindset breeds monotony. Every game starts to feel the same. Explosions and catchy one liners replace innovative controls and quirky art styles. So where does that leave us then? Downloadable titles my friends, the bite sized morsels of creativity that keep this industry strong, one indie game at a time.

Oh Sony, you so crazy!
It’s no secret that Sony takes risks like these all the time. Sometimes it’s a downloadable game, but sometimes it’s a budget title, on a disk, sitting on a store shelf. For example, the recent release on PS3, Puppeteer was a unique title that I very much enjoyed. It was different, way different than most games we see. For one it was a platformer, which besides Mario and Rayman, we never see those anymore. Sony isn’t afraid to let developers try something new, which I respect immensely. So today, let’s talk about one of those trips into the unknown that came back with something small, and something big. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Preview - Escape PlanThe name of the game is Escape Plan. Developed by Fun Bits Interactive, the same people who brought you Fat Princess, Escape Plan is an interesting title that began its life on the PlayStation Vita as a download. I myself, having bought a Vita at the time of its release, was eager to try something new. This quirky little title was presented in a black and white art style and featured a two dimensional movement scheme through very detailed and fun three dimensional environments.

So it’s Black, White, and 2D, what’s the big deal?
Well for one, it had a unique premise. You see, you play as two characters.Lil and Laarg. Kind of like how their names sound, one is little and one is large. They are simple but inviting character designs and as you may notice, they have a number on their stomach painted in white. Whatever could that mean? Well that number for all you perfectionists out there, is the total number of accumulated times you have quote unquote “met your maker”. Yes the game keeps track of how many times you’ve died. To fuel the fires of frustration or to strive you to succeed, I do not know, but that’s a fine line to begin with.

The story of the game is that Lil and Laarg are trying to escape from their imprisonment by an evil villain named Bakuki. He’s frightening, I’ll give him that, but he’s also cruel. You see, if he gets a hold of you, he’s going to turn you into sheep, or worse! What’s worse than being a sheep is beyond me but the concept enraptures my sense of fear and invokes my most terrible nightmares. Not really, but it’s a fun setup.

So how does it play?
Well, on the Vita, you used the touch screen entirely to move both Lil and Laarg through various puzzles. The game was divided into rooms and incorporated a lot of interesting features with the touch screen, gyroscope, and back touch panel. You could push on the back of the Vita to bring items to the foreground, or tap on the touch screen to push something back. Sometimes you could even pinch an object, like a broken pipe with one finger on the front and one on the back of the Vita, to stop the leak.

How this will work on the DualShock 4 is uncertain as of yet, but you can bet I’ll be back to update you once I get my hands on the new PS4 version! I imagine it will use the touch pad on the controller in a very similar method to how the Vita’s touch features worked. The controller does have sixaxis motion control so that’s covered, and walking could be relegated to the sticks. Easy enough, but you know I’ll have the scoop as soon as I have the game.

There were also segments where Lil could suck in helium and float. Here you could steer him by tilting the Vita. Everything worked fine, but the puzzles became harder and harder as these things usually do. Overall though, it was a very well made puzzle game. Soon, you won’t need a Vita to experience it either, because it’s coming to the PS4!

Now you’re talking!
I’ve been talking this whole time, but yes, Escape Plan is in fact coming to PS4. Two weeks after the launch, Escape Plan will be available to purchase for the PS4. Now, the awesome train doesn’t stop there because as you know it takes trains several miles to stop even after the brakes are put on. We’re just tapping them now folks because if you’ve bought Escape Plan already, like I did, then you get it on your PS4, free of charge!

Hold your applause ladies and gentlemen, because it gets better! For those of you who are reading this, looking at the pictures, and gaping in awe, you can jump on board too. That’s the good news, now here’s the great news. Escape Plan will also be cross-buy which is one of the best things anyone has done ever. Games that are part of the cross-buy program allow you to purchase the game on your console, so the PS4 for example, and then receive a second copy for your PlayStation Vita, free of charge! What’s that Microsoft? Oh, we get five year old games with Xbox Live? Great, thanks, you can go home now.

Huddle up, it’s time for a good old fashioned Recap!
Sorry for the cheap blow, had to do it. So let’s wrap this up here into a nice easy to read summary.

1. Escape Plan is a side scrolling 3D puzzle game featuring unique puzzles and a fun black and white art style.

2. The game is available two weeks after launch on the PS4

3. Buying the game entitles you to copies on both the PS4 and the PlayStation Vita.

4. If you already bought the game, you’ll have both versions for free when it releases.

If that isn’t a love letter to PS4 gamers, I don’t know what is. Puzzle fans will find a lot to like in this game, so keep your eyes out for the release.

Have you played Escape Plan on the Vita? What do you think of it releasing on PS4? Tell us in the comments!

See our review of Escape Plan.

Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 11/12/2013

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