The Escapists Review

There’s a reason prison breaks happen far more often in fiction than reality: these places really don’t mess around. Nor, despite what its cute graphics may suggest, does The Escapists. It’s hardly a realistic simulation of life behind bars – with the prisoners quoting everything from famous movies to Breaking Bad – but it’s a fiendish little mix of sandbox and puzzle game whose six prisons take no prisoners. Metaphorically speaking, anyway…

It’s a game that looks like Prison Architect’s black-sheep brother, but plays about as a regimented sandbox to first be controlled by, and then to subvert. Morning roll-call is time for everyone to gather and be told the business of the day, including whose cells are about to be inspected for contraband. Soon I realized it’s also a great time to sneak into other prisoners’ cells and carefully pocket anything good from their stash. Social times like dinner, meanwhile, offer a chance to chat with other prisoners, recruit assistance, and collect mini-quests like retrieving someone’s stolen DVD or causing a scene during the next roll-call.

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