Escape Plan is the debut of Fun Bits interactive and a PlayStation Vita Puzzle Game, later ported to PlayStation 4. It is the tale of the aptly named duo, Lil and Laarg, a pair of prisoners attempting to make it out from a labyrinth filled to the brim with deathly contraptions, murderous minions, and sheep. It is up to you to guide them, protect them, plan, poke, and prod your way to victory- one room at a time!
Known for its clever puzzles, unforgettable chiaroscuro black-and-white style, and much bloody, messy, and unexpected deaths, Escape Plan proves itself a puzzle game with the extra twist of allowing the player control of its two characters and also providing a direct way to interact with the environment with the use of both touchscreens in the vita, or the PS4 controller's buttons and touchpanel. Every level is a short room in which the player must navigate Lil, or Laarg, or sometimes both, from one end to another without any of them dying. Most of the time the player must directly modify the environment to make a temporarily safe path to survival, and get Lil/Laarg through in time, and in one piece. Said rooms vary greatly in difficulty, starting with a few simple ones that serve to introduce basic gameplay elements, and then slowly but noticeably start mixing and matching them to ever more difficult degrees, then introducing more new elements for good measure. It differs from many other modern puzzle games, in that figuring out how to get past a room is only half the challenge; oftentimes actually carrying out the plan is the most difficult part. This, coupled with unique controls and its artsyle, make Escape Plan one of the most unique game on the Sony systems.
This game provides examples of:
- Action Survivor: Lil and Laarg are by no means capable of actually fighting anything. It's literally up to the player to make a path for them to stumble through and (hopefully) survive.
- Disney Villain Death: During the final level, Bakuki seems to fall to his death while attempting to reach Lil,ultimately subverted in the stinger showing him alive.
- Black Comedy: There's going to be dozens of bloody, messy deaths in any playthough of Escape Plan, and not one is played for drama. Matter of fact, the audience CLAPS whenever a mook meets a horrible demise!
- Blood Is the New Black: Played with. Lil and Laarg don't actually get sprayed with blood, but a huge black puddle is left behind in any of the many areas where they or a mook dies, sometimes it is already there by the time the duo arrive. And it is all black!
- Climbing Climax: In a way; the last room of the main campaign is basically an upwards race, complete with the William Tell Overture playing in the background.
- Controllable Helplessness: Subverted: There are times where Lil or Laarg can't do anything, but that's mostly because the level requires the player to directly interact with the environment.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: There's quite a few: Lil, Laarg, Mooks and sheep can and will fall to their deaths, smash against spikes, get shocked and vaporized, or hit with a giant fly-swapper. One memorable case includes a surprisingly graphic chainsaw!
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: Appart from needing the player to deal with every sapless mook, one specific level requires the player to use sheep as meatshields while Laarg makes his escape.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Lil and Laarg WILL die, often, repeatedly, and in either grotesque and/or hilarious ways, but the game will just pop back to the beginning of the room, usually no more than a few seconds from their demise. Although the number on their bellies will go up by one each time.
- Everyone Has a Special Move: Though Laarg is limited in this regard, he is the only one who is heavy enough to break through some walls or floors. Lil, on the other hand, can move faster when caffeinated or fill himself up like a balloon by inhaling helium.
- Heroic Mime: Played with. Though they're not exactly heroes, Lil and Laarg communicate in just a few noises and motions, when they communicate at all. Only the narrator gets any real dialogue, and written at that.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: During the ending it appears that Laarg has actually been killed off, but he reunites with Lil during the ending credits and the stinger.
- Shout-Out: Many of the rooms are named after famous movies, bands or other media. Examples include The Gray Mile, Final Elevation, and Dead Zeppelin.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: As you can see in the trailer, Escape Plan uses delightful classical pieces such as Rossini's William Tell Overture and Mozart's Turkish March as backdrop for Lil and Laarg attempting to survive deadly rooms and often becoming bloody puddles.
- Teamwork Puzzle Game: If the room features both Lil and Laarg, you're probably going to need both of their abilities to get through.