Back in 2014, The Escapists arrived with a very interesting simulation. Your task – use your wit and skills to escape from prison. The original game was quite challenging, but it was missing a key component. Namely, the ability to escape with your friends. After all, every prisoner needs a crew to escape with. With the Escapists 2, Mouldy Toof made nice updates to the core game while giving us two very fun multiplayer experiences.
The core game, for those of you who have never tried Escapists, requires you to think of a way to escape prison. At first glance, you would think this was easy. You need to run around, find items, take items from others, and make your escape. The genius part of Escapists is the requirement that you follow a prison routine. In many of the prison scenarios, you are required to follow a typical prisoner routine. If you don’t, you will fail. There are consequences for missing roll call, among other tasks that you must perform. So the game is extremely challenging when you realize that your escape efforts must be done while restricted to the prisoner life.
The simulation part of the game is actually a blast to play. I let my 9-year-old play in the Central Perk 2.0 map. I tried to give him tips and tricks but held off after a while because he was not very interested in escaping. Instead, he focused on getting to the mess hall on time, doing well at his job, and working out. Sure, he also tried to start riots fights with prisoners and guards. But he, along with myself, had a fantastic time exploring and working in each of the prisons.
Now, keep in mind that this game is very challenging. Crafting and executing your plan takes a lot of effort. However, one false move will put you right back at square one. You need to be very careful as you hide items in your cell. The AI will check your cell every so often, which could cause you to lose everything. I was worried that every map would be similar. However, there are a couple maps (like the railroad, for example) that have different objectives and time limits to deal with. It’s a lot of fun, but can be frustrating, especially if you lose your progress over a stupid mistake.
The multiplayer modes are fantastic. You can participate in a simple co-op adventure with a friend or do a versus mode. The co-op is fun because it changes the strategy. Your friend can cause issues and distract guards while you collect items (or vice versa). If you don’t feel like getting along with a friend, then versus mode is the best option for you. Everything in versus centers around you getting out of the jail first. You don’t have to worry about routines in this mode. Just do everything you can (including sabotage) to be the first to get out of jail. And don’t worry about friends having to leave mid-match – Escapists 2 has a drop in/out feature for multiplayer.
Escapists 2 keeps the same retro graphics and sound design like the first game. It’s a top-down retro simulation that looks great on the Switch. My son and I really enjoyed the customization options for your prisoner and guards. We definitely had a blast making the guards look as silly as humanly possible.
Escapists 2 is available for PC and all consoles. I mostly played on the Nintendo Switch. It runs great on the Switch and the added portability is a plus. I also checked out the PC version, which runs very well. I personally did not see any bugs or technical issues in either version. You should consider your playstyle when choosing a platform. I highly recommend the Switch (for obvious portability reasons).
Mouldy Toof and Team17 did a fantastic job with Escapists 2. It is a worthy successor to the first game. The simulation is very addicting, with challenging maps, great customization options, and multiplayer modes that are a blast. Remember that patience is a must in Escapists 2, and it will be frustrating if a simple mistake wipes out your hard work.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a physical copy for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
Tons of customization options
Very challenging for young players
One false move can ruin all of your plans