Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘The Escapists’


One of our favourite indie game of all time is Prison Architect, it echoes the Theme Park and Theme Hospital games I loved in the 90s. And the release version of Prison Architect is out this week! But since we’ve already covered in depth and still gush about it on Twitter, here’s a game that functions almost as the perfect companion piece. Rather than building and managing a prison with cool retro graphics and black humour, you’re breaking out of one!

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You’re one of a group of prisoners in a prison (duh) and you’re goal is to find a way out while avoiding suspicion from the guards or pissing off your cellmates to the point of shanking. This means you have to stick to the prison routine by attending role call, doing your work placement, going to scheduled meals working out. You can trade with other prisoners to obtain items you need and do favours to earn cash. Some favours can involve beating up another prisoner or stealing from them, which puts you on their bad side, which will make life difficult during your day to day.

By taking advantage of fleeting opportunities to operate unobserved you can begin the process of opening a hole to the vents, chip through the wall or dig a tunnel. You’ll need the right tools for the job, which may need replacing from time to time, as well as a way to hide your work. If you get a screwdriver and open a vent, you’ll still need enough glue and toilet paper to make a paper mache cover to hide your work. If you maintain the subterfuge you can stash items in the vents and travel more freely. There’s a few different ways to go about this (even going the Shawshank poster route) depending on the prison and the timing, giving the player a number of options to explore. The game gives you very little guidance so you’re going to going through a lot of trail and error or hitting up the Wiki.

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The Escapists is a slow burn game as you have to spend a lot of time following the routine and building up your stats before you can make real progress. If you’re in the mood for a simulator with RPG elements this is top of the line, and with a number of prisons to work through you’ll get your money worth. Plus there’s some real life prisons like Alcatraz to grab as DLC. Worth checking out.

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