🏚️ Review: Without Escape - "A Brief Jaunt into The Unknown" 🏚️ @BrittRecluseuk @kingdomofcarts #GameDev #IndieGame

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Game Title: Without Escape
Developer: Bumpy Trail Games
Platform Reviewed: PC (Steam)
Rating: Melting

Without Escape has been released previously in a different guise on the Xbox Live service and has been in development through various stages since 2001, when it was a very different beast indeed. 

The game comes with a brief history of its development cycle (Bumpy Trail Games is a one-man team) and it’s clear to see that the game is a labour of love. 

From its inception as a very basic point and click game with graphics drawn in Paint through to the newest and final incarnation as a game with lushly rendered graphics and extra sections with multiple endings that we see today.

The game starts with the player character explaining how their parents are staying away for the weekend and they go to bed alone in the family home. 

Waking up at 2:45 to some strange sounds downstairs, they begin their investigation of the odd noises…

Without Escape is an inventory-based graphic adventure with static backgrounds. The gameplay is quite stripped back in that as long as you have an item in your inventory, it will be used automatically. The game consists mostly of ‘use this with that’ types of puzzle with a smattering of combination/number sections and some others which may make you raise an eyebrow or two.

The story of Without Escape gets out of hand FAST. I was expecting a short, tense game about locating a home intruder but the stakes are actually quite grand and take an unforeseen turn after a while. The game is quite brief and as mentioned, the graphics are well-designed and the ambient music keeps up a mood of tension and intrigue whilst the game never tips into out and out horror. Beyond a few mildly unsettling scenes, it is bereft of jump scares and so the puzzles are the main focus here. Though there are a few quibbles I had which did detract from my enjoyment and can make certain sections a chore.

The first and main issue was pixel-hunting. Often I found myself making some progress before coming to a screeching halt and reverting to a walkthrough only to find that I’d missed a small interactive piece of the screen which was vital to moving forwards (I look at YOU, resin…). The progression is also very linear and so completing things out of sequence can cause back-tracking to trigger a scene. There are also some quite illogical puzzles, but nothing too teeth-grinding.

At its price point, Without Escape is a decent time-filling point and click adventure that I enjoyed spending a couple of hours with, despite its flaws and constraints.  

I must admit that I think a lot of the game’s issues could be solved by having a button which highlights hot spots on each screen, it would make progress far more enjoyable and efficient, removing the tedious pixel-hunting. 

If you are after a full-on tense horror experience, then Without Escape won’t deliver, but as a budget title, it has a charm that should hold the attention of fans of the genre until it’s completely bonkers finale.

Right, I’m off to house-sit for the weekend.

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)
Review By Britt