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Video Game / Don't Escape

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If every room escape game started out like this, the genre would be a lot easier.

Don't Escape is a series of Point-and-Click Web Games by developer scriptwelder, creator of the Deep Sleep Trilogy.

The series takes the typical Room Escape Game premise and turns it on its head: rather than trying to escape from a mysterious room, in each game you must work to secure the room you start in, preventing yourself from getting out and anything else from getting in. The games are also unusual in that each one, aside from the first, operates on a time limit, with certain actions consuming in-game time, and you must complete your goal before it's too late.

In the first game, simply titled Don't Escape stays closest to the original room escape formula. You Wake Up in a Room, except in this case you play as a werewolf who must barricade every possible exit out of the room before you turn into a werewolf and potentially kill innocent people.


Don't Escape 2 takes place After the End, with your goal being to prevent a horde of zombies from breaking in. But you only have 8 hours do do so.

Don't Escape 3 takes place on a spaceship where the entire crew is dead. You must find out what happened to the crew and prevent it from getting to you as well. The only issue is, life support has been disabled and there's only 1 hour of oxygen left...

A fourth game entitled Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive (formerly Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland) was released on March 11th, 2019, and was the first commercial game in the series. A cataclysmic event has caused the moon to split in half, and you must make preparations to survive before some unknown terror gets you. It expands heavily on the gameplay of the first three, taking place over 4 days as opposed to one and featuring a new countdown and new obstacles on each day.


On Jul 29, 2019, Don't Escape Trilogy was released. Taking the first three games in the series and bundling them together, complete with an auto save feature for both the second and third games, as well as Steam achievements for all of them.

Tropes in these games include:

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     Across the entire series 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: On the second and third games on Don't Escape Trilogy, which now have an auto-save feature. Meaning it's easier to put it away and come back to it, as well as scouting for the multiple endings in both a little easier.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In the first game, sure, you've managed to keep from killing people, but your lycanthropy hasn't been cured and the same problem will keep happening over and over again.
    • In the second game, any ending where you survive counts. Bill can't be saved — either you end his suffering by killing him, or he turns into a zombie. Even if you save everyone you can, the zombie apocalypse has not ended, and you and your crew must carry on with survival in any possible way.
    • In the third game, when you find out that you have the crystals growing inside you and blow yourself up with the ship. Sure you're dead, but the crystals are destroyed and you may have just saved the galaxy from a horrible fate.
    • In 4 Days to Survive, after making it to the moon base, David and the remaining survivors (if any are left) find the sleeping pods containing the Sidereal Plexus evacuees whose minds have already fled the dimension. However, the leftover pods are unable to transfer memories properly and when David uses the pod, he wakes up in the tent he started at the beginning of the game, dooming him to repeat the events of the game again. However, if you manage to find either the MEM BOOST or PHASE CTRL LITE floppy disk then you unlock Awakened Mode to start the path for the Golden Ending.
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: Played straight by the second game, although probably justified by its small scale. Averted by the fourth game, which requires you to keep on refueling the car if you are to continue using it.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In the first game, if your preparations are inadequate and you break free, you will be cornered by a band of werewolf hunters and killed. Plus the way it describes the werewolf killing villagers, by partly eating some of them alive. The second game applies: from the descriptions of you, Jeremy, or Father Bernard in any of the game over endings, being eaten alive is as cruel and unusual as it gets. From the third game, being consumed from the inside out by parasitic crystals is a pretty bad way to go, too. A majority of the deaths in the fourth game count as well, yet subverted on Day 4, should you mess up either disaster or run out of time, as it'll mention the death was at least 'swift'.
  • Downer Beginning: All four games start out this way, be it discovering all your crewmates have been brutally killed, in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse or After the End.
  • Downer Ending: There are potential ones in each game depending on how badly you fail. In the third game, none of the endings see you make it out alive; the Golden Ending is managing to eradicate all trace of the crystal, not surviving.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sidereal Plexus, who play a major part in 4 Days to Survive, is briefly mentioned in the second game, and play a role in the "Hull Breach" ending of the third.
  • End Game Results Screen: Each game ends with a summary of your actions, and how effective they were in reducing the threat (the werewolf's stamina in the first game, the number of zombies in the second, and the ship's infection level in the third). The game also points out what you could have done but didn't, acting as a nudge for repeat attempts.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being a werewolf; heck, even in one of the endings it will state that the werewolf bit a villager. It will say that the villager who was bitten lived, and considered himself lucky until the next full moon. Also, being infected with parasitic crystals that eat you from the inside out.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Each of the protagonists, as the games are in first person, although a little sprite of their face can be seen by the inventory. The protagonist from the first game is also shown in his werewolf form. Averted by the fourth game: the game is shot from a third-person view ala classic point-and-click games such as King's Quest.
  • Golden Ending: The Don't Escape series has endings that are pretty bittersweet. However, they do have endings that are considered the "Best" ending.
    • The first game has you blocking off all exits of the house and using the potion to weaken the werewolf on a slice of raw meat and tying yourself up, then waiting for the full moon. The werewolf still ends up breaking free, but will be weakened by the poison and tired from breaking free of the hut, and will have no strength left in him and will hide in the woods.
    • The second game has you help 2 other people, as well as giving Bill painkillers to ease his pain, take the shortest routes to each location as possible (wasting less time), then having the survivors help you with tasks to fortify your hideout to waste as little time as possible. Then humanely put Bill out of his misery after getting him drunk, then hide out until your defenses stop all the zombies with you and the other 2 survivors, Jeremy and Father Bernard, surviving the night.
    • The third game has you find out the truth about the murders on the UEFS Horizon by using the security footage after upgrading your data pad to see what happened, use the chemicals to get into the laboratory and find the explosive materials, find the crystal in space, find out that you are infected with the crystal in the bunk room, then use the chemical mixer to make a powerful bomb to destroy the core of the ship, toss the crystal pieces in with the rest of the crystals in the lab, drink some alcohol from the vending machine in the quarters, then turn off the safety protocols and detonate the explosives with you still inside the ship, wiping out the crystals and all traces of them, making sure the UEFS Warsaw Rescue ship doesn't find out the truth.
    • In the fourth game, if you play again in Awakened mode and keep everyone alive with both floppy disks in the sleeping pods console, then the ending will show a reality where the lunar drilling is cancelled. David is reading about the lunar drilling being cancelled, Catherine is standing in an office building holding a cup of coffee (with a picture of David's face on a screen behind her), Barry will be with his wife Maggie holding adoption papers (possibly for Cody), and Cody will be sitting on a bunk bed holding a plush tiger. All 4 of them will stare at the moon in the sky.
  • Hammerspace: Present in all four games to some degree, although the second game requires you to get either a shopping trolley or a car to be able to take very large or very heavy items with you. The fourth game has an inventory cap based on the items' weight and number of inventory slots, although you can still carry up to 30 kg (which increases if you manage to reduce the threat level to 0 on any night) without any obvious side effects (although trying to cross the ravine or climb anything when your inventory is nearly full will take longer).
  • Human Pack Mule: The main player protagonists, most definitely. But averted with any traveling companions the protagonists may bring along: companions in Don't Escape games CANNOT be used to help carry items. They're there for labor.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: From the second game onward, the player has a set amount of time to perform all the necessary tasks, with certain tasks taking away from that time and some tasks, like in the third game, adding to it.
    • In Don't Escape 2, you have to do all these tasks before the zombies arrive. You can actually reduce the amount of time it takes to travel between places by getting your hands on a working car, and the amount of time it takes to set up your defenses by gathering allies to help you.
    • In Don't Escape 3, you have only so long before the ship's life support systems run out. You can do some minor repairs to give yourself more time. At the start of the game, the clock actually mirrors real-world time; you have only 33 real life seconds to abort the sequence that will launch you out of the airlock.
    • The fourth game's clock works much the same way as the second's. In addition, it gets darker as night approaches (and on the cold path on Day 2 and the acid rain path on Day 3, the weather starts to worsen).
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on how well the player is able to barricade themselves in before nightfall and what methods they choose to use, you can get a myriad of endings and achievements. The third game also gives you alternate endings depending on how much you're able to learn about the ship's downfall before you escape.
  • Press X to Die: If you haven't readied any preparations/defenses, the option to finish the day in all games except 3 is this.
  • Red Herring:
    • The root in the first game has absolutely no use at all. In fact, it's a detriment, as using it for the potion will weaken it, rendering it useless.
    • In what seems to be a comical subversion of Chekhov's Gun, the rifle which is very prominently hanging above the fireplace in Don't Escape, and seems perfectly suitable for the player's purposes, has no bullets and there is no way in the game whatsoever to find any. The rifle remains hanging.
    • Zig-Zagged in the second game; all the items you find can be used in some circumstances, but some become useless in others, depending on your choices. For example; the coin you find in a cash register can be used to get a shopping cart for transporting heavy items, but serves no purpose if you decide to use the car for transport or use the pliers to get the shopping cart.
    • The 3D Printer in the third game lists six gizmos in total, of which only two are essential to progress (not to mention, usable at all). Likewise, the food dispenser in the ship's cafeteria can give you three different food/drink items, but only the alcohol is essential to progress. The other two just take up room in your inventory.
    • Multiple items in the fourth game will not serve any purpose at all. The dead bird you pull out of the chimney will not have any purpose beyond the achievement (although getting it out of the chimney is necessary if you want to use the fireplace during the cold snap on Night 2) and there are multiple items in the crashed airplane to waste time or throw you off the trail. In a similar fashion to the second game, there are also items which may or may not be useful depending on which path you are following, or what choices you make. There are two different ways to get past the fingerprint scanner at the outpost, one of which is the only time the glue gun is ever used, so it serves no purpose at all if you solve the puzzle with the other method.
  • Room Escape Game: Inverted by the first two; the third game appears to play it straight, as the protagonist intends to escape the ship after destroying the crystal. The player understands why you mustn't escape after you learn that the crystal is inside you, however.
  • Serial Escalation: Each game is more complex and adds something to the basic idea.
  • Story Branching: In the second and third games, there are different ways to solve some of the puzzles; for example, to get past the cloud of toxic vapour in the third, you can either wear the spacesuit or repair the fans.
  • Tactical Door Use: Making sure all the doors are locked, closed and in some cases completely sealed are parts of every game.
  • Thematic Series: The games have no relation in story, and are only related by the central idea of "Don't Escape".
  • Too Dumb to Live: There are always ways to make glaring mistakes when preparing for the night (such as leaving doors or windows open), but there are some actions which actively and blatantly make things worse, such as activating heat-absorbing tiles during the Cold path or lighting the fireplace and wearing jackets in the Heat Wave path in 4.
    • The developer addresses some of them: for instance, trying to light the fireplace will cause your companion to stop you and point out that it won't help you at all.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: All four games start like this (in the case of the fourth game, you wake up in a tent in the middle of the wasteland). In the third and fourth games, it actually turns out to be a plot point that you were asleep beforehand.

     Don't Escape 1 
  • Amnesiac Hero: The game pointedly inverts this in a flip of typical Room Escape formula. The player remembers everything, including being a werewolf.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: How you can shut the window of the cabin. To do so, you first have to find a hammer and nails, and break some furniture to get boards.
  • Body Horror: The transformation into a werewolf isn't shown, but you hear the man screaming and the disturbing sounds of his body changing.
  • Delicious Distraction: There's a piece of meat you can use to distract your werewolf self. Poisoning it will weaken the werewolf before he can attempt to escape in earnest.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The game is significantly smaller and simpler than any of the later entries in the series, being confined almost entirely to a single room, it does not have any sort of time mechanic, and its alternate endings are simply reflective of which measures the player did and did not take (as opposed to the later games having multiple possible outcomes and variables).
  • Magic Pants: The werewolf wears pants untouched by his transformation.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Done to yourself with the meat and the poison, which won't kill the werewolf but will weaken it significantly.

     Don't Escape 2 
  • After the End: The game takes place during a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Alcohol Hic: Bill, after you give him the alcohol.
  • All or Nothing: There are only two endings - either you get eaten by the zombies, or you manage to fend them off. If there's even a single one left, you get the former ending.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: If you don't kill Bill, he will turn into a zombie.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: You can use the gas to fuel the car or a generator to electrify the compound's fence. Using it on the generator only takes out a few zombies, while using it on the car makes trips much faster. The only time the generator is useful is if you go for the "Lone Wolf" ending, in which you don't have time to set up a trap in the front yard and thus the 5 extra zombies that the generator kills can be the difference between surviving the night or not.
  • Cartridges in Flight: One of the bullets you find is embedded in a hole in the wall. The only way this would make sense is if someone took an unused bullet and placed it in the hole for whatever reason. If it was fired at the wall, as logic suggests it was, the protagonist would need some gunpowder on hand and knowledge on how to refill 9 mm cartridges, which he clearly doesn't.
  • Cutting the Knot: You can get a shopping cart by either using the coin to unlock one, or just using the bolt cutters to steal one.
  • Eaten Alive: This can end up happening to you or any of the other survivors. One achievement requires you to invoke this by using the two other survivors as live bait.
  • Gas Siphoning: You can get gas for either your car or the generator by siphoning it out of a crashed police car.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If you run out of time and have Father Bernard and Jeremy with you, after the zombies devour Jeremy, Father Bernard will block the zombies from you and allow them to eat him instead.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Without Bill, Jeremy, or Father Bernard's help (all of which you have to forgo for the Lone Wolf achievement), you have to be absolutely perfect in traveling, gathering supplies, and setting up defenses. One mistake and you're zombie chow. Even in the best possible outcome under these circumstances, the zombies will eventually breach your defences, requiring you to fight the last of them at close quarters (which you need not do if you get help), and the game allows just barely enough resources to do this, meaning you're still zombie chow if you so much as missed a bullet.
  • Mercy Kill: You get an achievement for giving Bill a calm, painless death.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Using your gun at any point in the game (except during the ending cutscene) will alert more zombies to your presence, adding 5 zombies to the already large horde of 50 that you'll have to fight off. (However, using the gun is the quickest and easiest way to retrieve Jeremy's glasses and recruit him to your cause, the benefits of which outweigh the five extra zombies it brings.)
  • Pit Trap: You can dig a trap hole which will disable 15 zombies. When improved with sharp sticks at the bottom, it will disable 20 zombies. If you're callous enough to toss Jeremy and Father Bernard down there instead of setting up the stick trap, it will disable a net total of 30 zombies (15 from the pit and 25 from the zombies being more interested in eating them than you, but 10 more zombies will be attracted by you shooting them).
  • Shoot the Dog: One of the things the player must do to get the best ending is kill their infected friend Bill. You can choose to do this as humanely as possible or otherwise.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The ending where you have Jeremy and Father Bernard set up all your traps and reward their help by crippling them and using them as live bait is called the "Governor Ending"
    • Also, in order to survive, you have to Kill Bill.
  • Take a Third Option: The most humane way to kill Bill is to get him blackout drunk and then shoot him, but this attracts more zombies with the gunshot noise. The least humane way is to butcher him with the axe while he's fully conscious and begging for a more humane death. The most pragmatic option is to meet in the middle; get him blackout drunk and then use the axe; he'll be just as unaware as with the gunshot option, without bringing in more zombies than necessary.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: It's not necessary to survive the night, but you can help out two other people, including giving the depressed priest a reason to live again.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Of course, you can also use them as live bait for your traps, which is actually more effective than the stick trap in terms of the number of zombies disabled. It's also completely optional to give Bill a humane death. You can slaughter him alive while he's fully conscious with the axe if you want.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Inverted. Giving Bill the most humane death possible requires you to shoot him in the head, which causes five more zombies to show up in the endgame. If you leave him alive to turn into a zombie, or kill him by using the axe, you have fewer zombies to worry about, which can make the difference between life and death.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you get the Governor achievement, the achievement notes that you're worse than the undead.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • You can choose to dispose of Father Bernard and Jeremy at any time after you recruit them, including after you've used their manpower to help you get all the traps set up faster. Doing this after you've dug the pit trap but without putting in the sticks has you just cripple them and toss them in as live bait.
    • Bill to a lesser extent; you can get his help with setting up defenses by giving him painkillers and then kill him afterward, but unlike the other two, leaving him alive is a far less compassionate idea.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Such is the setting.
  • Zombie Infectee: Bill. He makes no attempt to hide it and admits it's only a matter of time before he turns. All he really wants is something to ease the pain, a last swig of booze, and a clean death.

    Don't Escape 3 
  • Achievement Mockery: The "Spaced" achievement is awarded for allowing yourself to be sucked out of the airlock.
  • All for Nothing: If you don't destroy the crystal floating in space along with yourself and the ship, the rescue ship Warsaw will find the crystal and possibly doom itself to the same fate anyway.
  • Amnesiac Hero: The player character plays it straight, waking up about to be ejected from a ship and not knowing why your crewmates are all murdered. Actually subverted; your memory is fine, you just don't remember the murders because the crystal was carrying them out with your body while you slept.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Meta-Example. On the Armor Games version, the AG quests corresponding to the in-game achievements were only added after the game had been up for a while and, as a result, a lot of players had gotten them already. To prevent players from having to do the same things twice, the quests were coded so that going to the achievements page in-game would trigger the completion of any quest whose corresponding achievement was already completed.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The player coughs up blood and a crystal shard near the end, cluing them in to what has happened to them. From that point on, the character's face icon will have blood all over their face.
  • Body Horror: Being infected by the crystal does this to you.
  • Chest Burster: The crystal is capable of infecting humans and bursting out of them that way.
  • Escape Pod: There's one on the space station, which the player can use to escape and cause one of the bad endings.
  • Foreshadowing: There are several moments which foreshadow the truth about the murders:
    • The Jump Scares such as briefly seeing the spacesuited murderer in the airlock and the giant eye in the window on the bridge are implied to be an effect of being possessed by the crystal.
    • When you take the knife from the body of one of your dead crewmates, the screen flashes red and you hear a scream, which appears to be intended as a flashback to the murder.
    • If you try to look in the mirror in the bathroom, you smash it and say that for some reason, you can't bear to look at yourself.
    • The data pad also only says there is a "possible" intruder alert — since, of course, the killer technically isn't an intruder.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The player can pull this and blow themselves up with the space station, so the crystal doesn't infect anyone else.
  • Here We Go Again!: If you find out you are infected by the crystals and you decide to use the escape pod, the rescue ship UEFS Warsaw is doomed to the same fate as the Horizon.
  • Jump Scare: There are several, including a Scare Chord when you discover the empty spacesuit.
  • Liquid Courage: You can get a bottle of alcohol out of the Horizon's vending machine and drink it. If you decide to blow yourself up with the ship after finding out that you're infected with the crystals, the player will note "Now I'm ready" after drinking.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The protagonist feels this way after he realizes that he killed all of his crew members.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Once the player has made it into the locked room, it's utterly dark at first with only an outline of the space-suited murderer on the security feed... which you then realize, after you turn the lights on, is an empty suit.
    • If you choose to escape without getting into the locked room and finding out the truth about the murders, then the End Game Results Screen tells you that all contact with the rescue ship was lost a few hours after they picked you up, and the mystery remains unsolved.
  • Not Himself: The protagonist killed his crew under the influence of the parasitic crystal. Once he remembers what he did, he is horrified and realizes what he must do to stop it.
  • Press Start to Game Over: It is possible to immediately lose at the beginning by either doing nothing and waiting for the countdown to complete, or voluntarily ejecting yourself into space.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The crystal is able to control the player's body when they're asleep.
  • Railroading: A positive example; it is not possible to blow yourself up along with the crystal until you understand why you would want to do that (to be able to do so, you need to disengage the ship's safety protocols, for which you need the captain's access card, and to get that, you need to get into the bunkroom and learn the truth about the murders).
  • Schmuck Bait: It is perfectly possible to escape via the clearly marked escape pod. It's just not a very good idea, although why isn't immediately obvious.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Blowing yourself up with the ship to destroy the crystal is this if you don't make sure to get the crystal floating outside the ship.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The pancakes you can get from the food dispenser are described as being "a la Mark de Laplier".
    • The ship's name, the Horizon, could be a reference to the film Event Horizon, in which a crew member, possessed by something inhuman, kills off almost everyone else aboard the ship.
  • Silicon-Based Life: The crystal is alive and sentient.
  • Something Completely Different: The first two games have the common link of deliberately subverting the Room Escape Game premise. The third game initially appears to be a straight example of the genre, with the twist as to why you musn't escape not being revealed until quite a way into the game, and even then the endgame is very different from the first two: you mustn't just not escape, you must destroy the spaceship and yourself with it.
  • Space Isolation Horror: The game takes place on a spaceship whose crew have all been horribly murdered save the protagonist, who starts the game about to be jettisoned out the airlock. Since he murdered them while possessed by a sentient crystal, it was trying to kill him before he could solve the mystery and warn the incoming rescue ship. Unlike most examples, the ship actually seems quite pleasant to live in.
  • Stealth Sequel: One to Primal Sands, one of scriptwelder's earlier games. The game's Wham Shot is even similar to the ending of Primal Sands.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: It is technically only necessary to take out the laboratory in order to make sure the rescue ship survives. It is possible to attach the bomb to the ship's power core and destroy the entire ship for good measure. (However, once you play the fourth game, it becomes apparent why making sure the entire ship is destroyed and the rescue ship never finds out the truth is preferable.)
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The game opens by threatening you with this if you don't shut off the sequence in time, or if you start the sequence up again for some reason. It turns out the crystal was attempting to dispose of you in that fashion.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Deliberately ejecting yourself from the airlock, or successfully escaping and dooming the rescue ship, are both required to unlock achievements.
  • Wham Line: "The suit is empty... and it has my name tag..."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After using your body to kill all your crewmates, the crystal tries to dispose of you in the airlock. Luckily, you woke up before the countdown finished.

    Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Thankfully, both David and his party members don't seem to suffer any fatigue or tiredness, even wandering from one location to another for over two hours.
  • After the End: The game takes place in a ruined wasteland after the Lunar Incident and is still ending after that.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In the Sidereal Plexus building is a locked room that can only be opened from within, and the only alternative way in is through a ventilation duct. Cody is required for this since the adult characters are all too big to fit through the vent, and getting into the room is necessary for the good ending since one of the two floppy disks is in there.
  • Alternate History: The game set in a different 1996 since pre-apocalypse society had lunar outposts and exotic technologies thanks to Sidereal Plexus. who actually obtained their technology from other dimensions (or even their timelines) via consciousness transferring programs.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Once you've found the true ending of the game, Custom Mode is enabled. This allows you to set exactly which events will happen on each day, thereby allowing you to play through each scenario and get any achievements you may have missed without having to rely on random chance.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2 (Societal Collapse), where the explosion of the Moon left entire human civilization in shambles with the remnants also suffering from bandit raids, mutated insects, and hostile weather phenomenon. Furthermore, Class X (Planetary Annihilation) approaching in 4 days as the shattered moon began to descend down on Earth.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Seeing the moon descending on the Earth in David's dream and on day 4 is quite the spectacle. Even moreso when you see it from the moon's point of view in the base as you work to get the sleep machine operational.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The moon is one of the biggest celestial bodies in the solar system, at least in comparison to other satellites. It would be incredibly unlikely to crack the moon apart with mining by accident. Furthermore, the resource they are stated to be mining for, Helium-3, is deposited on the moon via solar radiation. The majority of it would be locked up near the surface of the moon. Cracking the moon all the way through shouldn't even be possible with surface mining. Of course, the stated reason for the mining could be and is a lie. However, simply cracking the moon apart wouldn't cause it to fall back to Earth regardless unless some force slowed its orbital velocity, though such a force is confirmed to have happened.
  • Asshole Victim: The bandit leader, Razor, can be held captive and killed by Cate under the right circumstances on Day 4.
  • Astral Finale: You probably wouldn't guess this is where the game is heading during day 1, but it becomes the ultimate goal right at the start of day 2.
  • Badass Longcoat: David's attire features a trenchcoat, which he ditches for a regular jacket in the Golden Ending.
  • Berserk Button: Barry gets very angry if David shows Barry his wife's locket, accusing David of being a scavenger. While this is the only way to recruit Barry, this is also the angriest Barry ever gets.
  • Blood-Stained Letter: If Cate dies at the end of night 4, she slips one into your pocket after she dies. It takes David until he enters the space station to notice it.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • The hatch to the attic in the house is locked during day 1, and there is no way to open it. It pops open when Cate crashes the helicopter into the house at the start of day 2.
    • When you first go to the restaurant in day 2, there is a restroom which still contains a lingering trace of whatever the previous day's threat was, stopping you from entering it. This will be gone by day 3, allowing you to loot it.
  • Canon Welding: This game welds together all of scriptwelder's story lines including the previous Don't Escape games and Deep Sleep, which also makes the creator's name a meaningful one.
  • Chain of Deals: The longest chain of deals is probably with Sarge on Thunderstorm Night 3. You will need to get medical supplies to help one of his soldiers to get some Stormcatchers and then after that you need to give him a gun and ammunition for help setting it up.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While most items in the game serve a purpose one way or another, the floppy disks have a use after leaving the planet and will have an impact on the ending or subsequent playthroughs.
  • Colony Drop: The entire premise of the game is functionally built around this idea.
  • Deadly Gas: One of the possible events on the first day.
  • Dead Man Writing:
    • Maggie's corpse has a golden locket, with a note she wrote to Barry in case she wouldn't survive and in which she encourages him to go on without her. This note is needed to snap Barry out of his depression and make him join David's group.
    • If Catherine dies during the rocket flight, she will slip you a bloodstained note that she wrote in preparation of her death. It will explain the purpose of the pods on the moon base along with a farewell to David. It is not possible to see this note unless Catherine dies.
  • Death World: Following the moon incident, Earth has become actively hostile to human life. Giant spiders and locusts can easily kill people, clouds of toxic gas strong enough to melt hazmat suits float around, heat waves can char flesh, flash freezes can freeze people solid, and acid thunderstorms combine deadly acid and lightning.
  • Detonation Moon: The moon has been destroyed at the start of the game, resulting in Earth being the wasteland that it is now.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cody is an orphan and doesn't seem to care that he doesn't have parents. If Cody dies from the fall on the Sidereal Plexus office complex, his last words are of him begging his father to find his lost stuffed tiger plush. In the Golden Ending, it's strongly implied that Barry becomes his adoptive father.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect:
    • On the first two nights, it is not necessary to do everything that can reduce the threat level of that day's danger to get it down to 0, because there are more options than necessary, which gives you a lot of leeway for dealing with the threats or collecting items to deal with future ones. This is perhaps most notably seen in the heat path on night 2, where spending the night in the cave instead of the house is optional despite the big reduction it offers. It is even lampshaded in the end of night review for a perfect run ("You didn't even need to put on the hazmat suit/drink the water/put on the jacket"). Nights 3 & 4, however, leave almost no room for error if you are aiming for the Golden Endingnote .
    • Although if you reduce the threat to 0%, but not before it gets into the house, you don't get the same result as a perfect day. For instance, it's possible to reduce the damage from the acid rain on day 3 by blocking the doors with towels and doing everything else except dig the ditches, but you won't get the bonus carrying capacity from a perfect day. The reasoning being that while you were protected from the event, the house was damaged instead and that implies that you were too stressed out to get proper sleep.
    • In order to get one of the achievements (Lone Wolf), you have to practice this, by either not taking Cody and Barry or getting them killed, and by intentionally neglecting to completely fix the spaceship so Cate dies on the last day.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Every night, David will have a dream that will end in his death. These dreams are the game's way of letting you know what to prepare for that night. It's also likely these dreams are from another reality where David actually did die.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: The roll of duct tape has a variety of uses, including repairing the water pipe, securing the barricades around the windows, repairing the hazmat suit on the toxic cloud path and securing the tarp to the roof on the acid rain path. David even lampshades this if you inspect the tape in his inventory.
    David: If something can't be fixed, you aren't using enough duct tape.
  • Establishing Character Moment: After crashing the helicopter into the house that David was taking shelter in, Cate immediately pulls a gun on David when he goes to check out the crash. She only decides to lower the gun when she concludes that David looks wimpy.
  • The Everyman: David's personality and backstory are vague enough for the player to easily project onto him. The most we can find out about him is that he's not particularly religious.
  • Everyone Lives: In the Golden Ending, the protagonist manages to get himself and his friends into the sleep machine and, with the memory disks, is able to successfully transfer their consciousness to themselves on a world where the Lunar drill was canceled, preventing the apocalypse. Barry's wife, Maggie, is still alive as a result and likely Sarge and Razor as well.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sarge and Razor do this if you spare them. You can tell Sarge about the rocket when you meet him at the gas station, but he'll decline to come with, wanting to stay with his men on the dying Earth. Once you and your surviving party blast off to the moon, both men see the rocket going up while the moon fragments descend toward the planet. Razor decides to just sit where he is while Sarge prays for the party's success as his men and he share one more bottle of whiskey together.
  • A Father to His Men: Sarge, a major character in Night 3, tries to make sure that his remaining squad survives in a post-apocalyptic world. In the Storm event, he'll have his men provide David with Stormcatchers if a wounded soldier was treated. Furthermore, he also advised David (and his team, depending on their availability) on drainage ditches and Stormcatchers' placements to survive the storm. In the Bandit event, Sarge joined the bandits for shelter and food even if he disdained over their pillages to the point that he can be appealed to leave for the sake of his men's morals. If the player poisoned the bandit's food; however, he would stay with the bandits when one of his men was poisoned as a result.
  • Fog of Doom:
    • The cloud of corrosive, poisonous gas that you can get as a hazard on the first day.
    • If you get the spiders or the locusts on day 1, you can actually create one of these yourself as a defense by turning on the sprinklers around the farmhouse on the "overnight mist" setting, and lace the water with poison. It won't stop all incoming spiders/locusts (and you need to be careful to get the correct poison), but at least a few will bite the dust.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When you first meet Cody, he is trying to get into the back room of the restaurant in search of food, and giving him a tin of meat is the only way to convince him to come with you; in addition, Sarge and his men have a large stockpile of food, as do the bandits if they appear on that day. However, David has no food with him at the start of the game, the house does not have any food left, and the only other food item in the entire game (apart from the bottles of water, which are only used to cool down on the heatwave path) are the frozen noodles, which are a deliberate Red Herring. How David and the other characters apparently survive four days without eating is never explained.
  • Giant Spider: One of the possible threats on Day 1 involves a swarm of these.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Sidereal Plexus officially denies it, but the emails all but say they are the ones who caused the lunar explosion. Furthermore, they did it mostly on purpose. An email found on Day 3 indicates that Sidereal Plexus had no interest in the Helium-3 on the moon, and was actually interested in special crystals far below the surface. They also were well aware that it could result in terrible consequences for Earth, but deemed this particular reality as "backwards" and of no real importance, so it wouldn't be a problem if it were destroyed. So they blew up the moon and ran away to another reality because they didn't care.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Several actions in the game require speaking to your companions to enable the action, which isn't immediately apparent at first glance since dialog with companions up to this point is mere exposition.
    • The game only registers a perfect night if none of the threats make it into your home. This means that whenever "x of y were stopped" comes up, you must stop all of the threats as your further defenses do not compensate for those that already made it in. This also throws you a curve ball on the Acid Rain Scenario of Night 3, as even if you manage to get the meter down to 0, the rain will enter the house if you didn't tape and secure the tarp on the helicopter hole.
  • Happily Adopted: Cody in the Golden Ending. Barry's section of the ending cutscene shows him holding an adoption permit, strongly implying he and Maggie are Cody's new parents.
  • Heat Wave: A lethal version can happen on day 2, forcing you to find ways to cool your hideout.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Razor, the bandit leader from Night 3, actually holds his word to leave the group alone. As the moon fragments are falling towards the Earth, however, the closest thing to atonement is his witness from afar as the rocket ascends towards its destination.
  • Hellish Copter: Cate crashes her helicopter into David's safehouse at the beginning of Day 2. If you get the acid rain path on Day 3, then you have to deal with the wreckage — and the very large hole it has left — to avoid the rain getting in.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • If you don't fulfill all the requirements in Night 3, Barry will often sacrifice himself to shield the others either from the acid rain or from the bandits.
    • During Night 4, if you run out of fuel or air too early but still managed to reach beyond the "death" threshold, Catherine will speed up the rocket to reach the moon base in time. She will not survive crashing the ship, but David will, and possibly Barry/Cody will survive as well.
  • Hollywood Silencer: You can find one of these on Day 3. It lets you take out the construction site guard without alerting the other bandits.
  • Hostile Weather: Day 2 forces you to survive a flash freeze or an extreme heat wave, and one of the two possibilities for Day 3 is an acid thunderstorm.
  • I Will Find You: If Cody survives to the base, David promises this when they're about to enter the sleep machine.
  • In Medias Res: Although it is not apparent at the start, your first playthrough is not the first time David and the others have been through these events.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You can only hold so much in your backpack, both in terms of the weight of all the items you are carrying and the number of slots in your inventory. You can drop items wherever you like and pick them up later, and there is a storage chest in the house you are hiding out in as well as a smaller one in the bed of the truck.
  • Involuntary Group Split: At the Sidereal Plexus office complex, a falling letter will collapse the roof and separate Cate from David and the others. If you have both Barry and Cody, you must choose which one of them to save while letting the other one fall.
  • Karma Houdini: The members of Sidereal Plexus responsible for blowing up the moon and dooming the world (at least those who made it to the sleeper pods to escape to an alternate universe).
  • Kill It with Fire: It is possible to craft a makeshift flamethrower. It's the strongest weapon you'll have during Night 1 against the locusts or spiders. You get an achievement for using it to light the fireplace.
  • Life Meter: More like a Death Meter. Every night the bar at the top represents the current threat. Getting it as low as possible is the objective.
  • Mega-Corp: Sidereal Plexus.
  • Morton's Fork: Day 3, the player has to choose whether to save Barry or Cody when a letter atop the Sidereal Plexus Offices smashes the glass roof, leaving them hanging for their lives. Are you willing to let a child die to keep the teammate who saves you much more time? Or is Cody worth sacrificing someone who guarantees more time to make adequate preparations to survive the night? Good luck answering that one!
  • Ms. Exposition: Cate has answers to almost any questions Barry and David have about the outpost and Sidereal Plexus.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Each night can have multiple outcomes; a perfect night where the danger doesn't even make it indoors gives you +5 kg to carrying capacity from a full night's sleep, a good night where the problem was swiftly dealt with as soon as it made it indoors has no disadvantages, a problematic night which usually results in either a character being killed off or time/resources being lost, or a failed night where your defenses are overrun and inadequate, which results in a game over.
    • The ending of the game can also have variations depending on how many survivors you have left, but what really changes the ending is how many of the floppy disks you managed to recover. With no floppy disks, David and the others forget everything and have to repeat the events of the entire game. With one floppy disk, the events repeat again but this time, David can remember enough to save both Barry and Cody. With two floppy disks (which is only possible on Awakened Mode), the Golden Ending is unlocked where everyone can escape the lunar explosion timeline.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The painting in the house depicts the hut that was in the first Don't Escape.
    • Cody's dream of dozens of zombies and him suggesting that the group should prepare for them is a nod to Don't Escape 2's threat.
    • Likewise, the painting in Barry's house depicts a lighthouse along a shoreline, a nod to Deep Sleep.
    • During the third night in Awakening mode, if you go up the stairs and talk to either Maggie or Cody's tiger plush, you will eventually be chased by the shadow creature from the Deep Sleep series, one of scriptwelder's earlier games.
    • Cody's tiger plush model is shared with the tiger plush from Deeper Sleep, and it's very likely Cody from this game is the same Cody who was reported in the newspaper at the end of Deeper Sleep.
    • The Sidereal Plexus archive has a list of dimensions that mustn't be visited for any reason, including the worlds of the first two games (stuck in a medieval state and plagued by a "rage virus", respectively) and the real world (where Sidereal was never established).
  • New Game+:
    • Beating the game with a floppy disk in the console will unlock Awakening Mode. It plays similarly (with minor dialogue changes) to a standard game up until Night 3, when staircases appear in your memories and either Maggie or Cody's plush tiger will appear, depending on who died in your previous run. They will give you an option to stop Barry or Cody from following David in the office complex. A screenshot of the game in development shows that originally this was planned to actually be called "New Game +".
    • Following a later update, beating the game on Awakening Mode unlocks Custom Game Mode, which allows you to choose which threats happen on which day rather than it being randomized.
  • Nonindicative Name: Ultimately, the goal of the game is to escape, albeit not in the manner you might first expect. It can be argued, however, that by following the path to the true ending, the ultimate goal is not to escape the crumbling, dying world as much as it is to utilize the sleep pods and the memories in order to ultimately return to a time where the moon was never destroyed in the first place, thereby solving the entire problem instead of running away from it.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • If David dies, it will quickly reload to the beginning of the area.
    • David can get spotted by a bandit guard at the construction site, who will shoot him.
    • He can also fail to input the ID card in time at the rocket site, which will electrocute him.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: If you successfully finish the game without both disks, you're treated to several shots of the various locations in the game, with no music, and the implication that the Moon is about to crash down and destroy it all... and then David wakes up in his tent at the beginning of the game. You never actually see the Moon collide with Earth. The tension while you're waiting for it to happen can be nerve-wracking; granted, if you took down the restaurant's flag during nights 2 to 4 at any point, you may notice it's back up again, killing the suspense. Though this could also give the interpretation that this sequence is meant to show that the Bad Future scenario happened to yet another universe that David now inhabits.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Two of the three possible window-barricade solutions on the first night can help with the problem presented, with one okay option and one perfect option: The spiders can be stopped by the heavy metal bars, but they can be slowed (barely) with the insect netting. The locusts can be stopped with the insect netting, but slowed with the heavy metal bars. The only exception is the third possible problem, the poison gas. Only the plastic cover will help; the other two options do literally nothing, since they're porous.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cate has this reaction when the sleeping pods are unable to transfer memories properly.
  • Ominous Crack: During the ending, the window in the space station control room begins to crack as David is rerouting power to the sleeper pods. He gets out before decompression occurs and the room seals.
  • Properly Paranoid: Every night will have such a catastrophic disaster that requires you to prepare as much as possible. Remembering to shut every single door and board every window will be the least of the requirements to handle every situation.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Night 1's crises (Locusts, Spiders, and Toxic Gas) involved the correct type of barriers for the windows. The plastic sheet will seal the house against poisonous gas, but is too weak to hold against spiders and locusts. The iron bars are strong enough to stop large spiders, but locusts and gas can go through their large holes. The nets are too weak and porous to bar either spiders or gas, but perfect against large numbers of locusts.
    • Going against Barry's wishes and entering his house and taking his wife's locket off of her corpse causes him to freak out and threaten you. It's only after a lot of convincing and gun waving to get him to read the note that was inside the locket and back down. Turns out, pissing off a guy you just met and has nothing left to lose is a potentially fatal mistake for somebody involved.
    • In Night 3's bandit event, David can poison the bandit's food supplies. While it may seem like a more effective idea despite the game's warning of the action being immoral, one of the poisoned bandits happened to be a member of Sarge's squad. This would cause Sarge to remain with the bandits if he was already convinced to leave them.
    • In the Thunderstorm Scenario, it's possible to get 100% without securing the tarp to the house. Failure to do so will still result in an imperfect night, as the giant gaping hole in the house's roof still lets the water in.
  • Red Herring: While there are items that are only useful against certain threats (such as the jackets only being useful against the cold snap), there are items that are completely useless every time and only serve to take up space in your inventory, such as the freeze-dried noodles. Learning what is and isn't important, and more crucial, learning when certain items are important, is a key gameplay element.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: If you're still on Earth with only an hour or two left on Day 4, the sky turns red as the moon comes closer. (Unless you're really bad at time management, this is only likely to be seen if you deliberately waste time or are going for the Mostly Walking achievement.)
  • The Reveal:
    • Cate's full name is Catherine Mayweather and she was a pilot for Sidereal Plexus.
    • The space station is on the moon, not floating in space. Also, the escape is less about physically being safe and just transferring consciousness to a different dimension.
  • Running Gag: Cate calling David harmless.
  • Sadistic Choice: On Day 3, a dilapidated Sidereal Plexus sign breaks through a roof while the group is walking over it. Cate is unaffected, but David has to choose between saving Barry or Cody; there's no time to save both of them. However, if you install one of the one of the disks in the console before the ending, New Game+ unlocks and you gain a prophetic dream warning you of the situation, which allows you to have one of the two stay behind and avoid the choice entirely.
  • Schizo Tech: While Don't Escape 4's pre-apocalyptic society had lunar colonization and technology that is advanced even beyond our own time, let alone The '90s, their computers still utilize Cathode Tube monitors and floppy disks. This was due to the results of schematics from the technological observation from Sidereal Plexus' travels across the multiverse based on mind transfer through the dream dimension.
  • Ship Tease: Some of the banter that can happen when idling in a room can be Cody asking why Cate married David if she seems to hate him. Cate gets obviously flustered while trying to explain.
  • Shout-Out: There is an achievement in the game called Dead Bird Space.
  • Snow Means Death: One of the 2 potential dangers for Day 2 is a severe snowstorm that will freeze you to death if you don't protect your hideout. If you don't recruit Barry on this day, you will find his frozen corpse the next morning.
  • Story Branching: The game is structured in such a way that one of two (or three) events will happen at night, which you need to spend the day preparing for.
    • Day 1: Either a toxic cloud sweeps through the area, an all-consuming swarm of locusts, or a group of large mutated spiders will attack.
    • Day 2: Extreme heat or extreme cold will strike during the night.
    • Day 3: A thunderstorm with acid rain or a bandit raid will occur.
    • Day 4: The rocket will be limited on either air or fuel.
  • The Swarm: The locusts, which can be one of the dangers you have to prepare for on day 1.
  • Throwing the Distraction:
    • On Day 1 with giant spiders, you have to distract a spider that's blocking your path to a gun by throwing a rock.
    • On Day 3 with bandits, you have to distract a guard by throwing maggots to attract crows.
  • Timed Mission: Every day has a limited amount of time. Using it properly is the only way to progress and being caught in the open when time runs out is a guaranteed death sentence.
  • Token Good Teammate: In the Bandit event in Night 3, Sarge — and possibly his squad — joined the bandits for survival and regretted his participation in their plundering of vulnerable survivors. His decency allowed David to convince him and his squad to leave the bandits, which would leave them shorthanded in their attack on the hideout.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the Golden Ending of the bandit path on Night 3, Razor will continue to attack your hideout even if you have gotten rid of all of the other bandits and he is the only one left. It does not end well for him.
  • Together in Death: If Barry dies at any point in the game, he will be this with Maggie.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Barry's initial position when you first meet him.
  • The 'Verse: The game links into all three other games in the series at some point, most notably being explicitly set in the same universe as the third game, as well as scriptwelder's Deep Sleep Trilogy.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • While Cody is only hungry and giving him food will recruit him, Barry is grieving over his wife and has given up on life. To get him to join you, you must show him his wife's last words and give his wife a proper burial.
    • You can also give Cody more food if you steal some from the bandits during their scenario, which confers no benefit but does make him happy.
    • If bandits attack on Night 3, you can convince Sarge and his men to not attack by appealing to his duty as a soldier. They will leave during the attack, cutting the bandit attack force by a substantial amount.
    • If Barry or Cody die on Day 3, you can spend some time building a makeshift grave for them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can choose to shoot Sarge at the gas station instead of talking to him.
    • There is also an option to have David poison the bandits' food at the construction site. This is the only time the game warns you that this is an inhumane action and asks if you're okay with it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If David poisons the bandits and convinces Sarge to take his men and leave, one of Sarge's men will be poisoned. Sarge will recognize it was David's group and refuse to leave. Overall, this is a net loss to reducing the bandits' threat for the night. If David convinces Sarge to leave, Sarge will take his four men with him, reducing the bandits' numbers by five (excluding two drunken bandits), but if David poisons the bandits, only three bandits are reduced because Sarge and his men will not leave (four if you spend one of your bullets to kill Sarge before he leaves the gas station).


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