Escape Plan is a puzzle platformer that uses touchscreen controls only. Initially, that sounds like a really scary premise: Precise puzzle movements that are controlled solely by twitchy fingertip recognitions. In reality, the final product is actually pretty great and does a good job utilizing its control scheme.
The motions you’ll play Escape Plan with are finger taps, swipes, swirls and rear touchpad bumps. It’s all utilized extremely well, and rarely do levels require awkward combinations of the previously mentioned movements. On the best of levels, you actually start to think touchscreen controls are a good thing in gaming. It’s a combination of the clever level design and quirky gimmicks that make the touchscreen gameplay work, as levels and gimmicks allow you enough processing time to figure out the puzzles and keep your fingers moving. I think that’s the key to touchscreen gaming, allowing you enough time to do your motions on-screen correctly, which Fun Bits Interactive (the developer) nails.
While gameplay alone is a big plus for Escape Plan, its real charm lies in its presentation and audio. The game chooses to diversify itself from other platformers by being completely black and white, like something out of a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon. Not only that, but every character hosts an inky, blobby physique, one that complements the two color color scheme perfectly. As simplistic as the visuals are, the graphics maintain cutting edge status for Vita standards, the lighting/shading effects being a perfect example of Escape Plan’s graphical capabilities. With that said, things still have an innocent factor to them that the game’s decidely classical soundtrack only helps to exemplify. Beethoven’s 5th playing as two black and white inky blobs scuttle and bumble their way through obstacles such as razor blades and giant hammers has a certain appeal that not many games have, being both perilous and humorous at the same time.
In conclusion, Escape Plan is both a poster child of intuitivity (new words ftw) and proper touchscreen controls, two things gaming as a medium is in desperate need of. Even if there’s only three to four hours worth of content in the actual package, Escape Plan’s unique allure alone is enough to justify the fifteen dollar price tag.