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PlayStation Vita  header logo

 PLAYSTATION VITA PREVIEW

Gamescom '11: Hands-on with Escape Plan for PS Vita

It's time to get out of here

Product: Escape Plan | Developer: Fun Bits | Publisher: Sony Europe | Genre: Puzzle | Networking: wireless (network)
For: PS Vita
 
Escape Plan PS Vita, thumbnail 1
We're seen plenty of big names showing their support for the upcoming PlayStation Vita, including stellar franchises like Uncharted, WipEout, and LittleBigPlanet.

We're all up for blockbusters, but we're all hoping the Vita can provide some great little puzzlers to wrap our brains around too.

Enter Escape Plan, a new Vita title announced this week at Gamescom, in development by the guys who created the wonderful PlayStation 3 title Fat Princess.

Escape Plan features two blob-like monochrome characters called Lil and Laarg, who are attempting to escape from, well, at the moment we have no idea. By helping the duo break free room by room you'll uncover the secret - and there's bound to be a huge twist involved.

Plan of action

The game was originally conceived a few years ago, but the developers didn't feel that there was an appropriate platform for the concept at the time. With Vita the game has finally found a home.

In each room, your job is to get your round-bellied friends to the exit. You're able to interact with both characters via swipes of the touchscreen to get them walking, and taps directly on them to let them know they need to stop.

Of course, as you'd expect, it's never as simple as that. Each room is filled with booby traps, security measures, and deadly pits, and accidentally leading both characters into active laser beams or through a grinder is quite a common occurrence.

Fortunately, death in Escape Plan is pretty hilarious. The duo will explode into splatters of black goo, and when they respawn the number of their bellies - which begins the game at zero - will increase by one.

In this way, it's possible to track how many deaths have occurred, which will provide some players with good reason to play through the game multiple times and strive for that perfect zero playthrough.

The dev team also told us that your overall death count is going to be used for something, but wouldn't tell us what.

Touch me

What's great is that it's possible to interact with pretty much anything in each environment, simply by using the Vita touch capabilities.

Tapping on the screen will push certain items backwards into the room, while tapping the back of the handheld will shove items forwards towards you, potentially creating platforms over spikes, or moving obstacles out of the way.

The touch panels can also be used for some really neat tricks.

At one point, Lil uses a machine to blow into a balloon and float to the ceiling. It's then possible to put your fingers around the Vita, as if you are pinching Lil, and squeeze the air out. It's pretty ingenious, and one of the best uses of the Vita we've seen so far.

You'll also uncover collectibles that, while optional, will provide a greater challenge for those who are finding it all a bit too easy. Those people will be few and far between, though.

In fact, the game is so tricky at times that you get sheep in certain rooms, which you can experiment with at no cost to your stock of lives. 

Means of escape

Escape Plan has a lot going for it.

There are over 50 levels, with some featuring both characters and others just one or the other. There's also online functionality, letting you compete with other players to finish levels quickly and with the fewest deaths and swipes possible.

The sense of mystery surrounding the game is also wonderful - at certain points when either character dies a crowd begins laughing out of nowhere. Who are they? Why are they watching?

There's no release date yet for the game, and the team wouldn't team confirm it for the Vita launch. Hopefully we'll get more information soon.
 

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 18 August 2011
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Fun Bits | 19:15 - 18 August 2011
Http://www.funbits.com/ ftw!!
 
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