Going by the name and its inky leaping mascot ‘Norm’, Escape! Could easily be mistaken for another running game along the lines of I Must Run!.
In reality, it’s a puzzle game and it’s nothing like the Canabalt clone, except in that it runs with an established idea but never quite catches up to its competitors.
This idea is pre-school simple. Norm begins in a white room full of circular ‘stones’. To escape you have to hop forward, left or right from stone to stone, automatically eliminating each one as you pass.
The catch is that you can’t jump backwards and because stones disappear you can’t use them more than once. Controlling Norm is equally basic, using the d-pad as a decent replacement for touchscreen swipes.
Simplicity like this is often a virtue and while Escape! does manage to tickle your puzzle-gland it also comes across as a bit plain. There’s nothing introduced later to complicate things. Even the monochromatic visual style is lacking in character.
The earliest levels are easy to the point of being an insult but this seems to be a way of settling you into the concept gently. Luckily it doesn’t last long, with things getting chin-scratchily difficult 10 or 15 levels in. Opportunity cost
The first introductory 20 levels are available as part of the game’s freemium business model. To unlock new levels in medium or hard modes you have to buy credits which give you randomly generated levels (it costs about £2 for 100 credits).
The question is whether it’s worth continually forking out for more levels when arguably there are better takes on the same puzzles for a lot cheaper on the Market.
For instance, infeCCt costs 89p and has an almost identical conceit, with a few added complications, a vine replacing the fidgety Norm, and 300 levels as standard. In the end, Escape! is good but there’s simply no getting away from its more colourful neighbours.