Reviews from

in the past

I had a really good time with this. The Artful Escape is essentially a game about creating a stage persona - backstory, outfit, etc. You train that stage persona in various locations all throughout the very beatifully and inticrately designed galaxy. This, in regards to the gameplay, means two things: Running around, making the scenery vibe with you and... Simon Says.

I actually find the first aspect be more fun than the latter - jumping around, pressing X, Y or B to make different moves is fun enough for the runtime of this game. Sometimes I even was quite entranced by how well the scenery, my guitar playing and my movement worked together to create something of a performance in itself. But: all this very much relies on the player to, essentially, create their own fun. I, personally, had a lot of it.

The "Simon Says"-part is the one I actually dislike. First of all, it kinda contrasts with the message of the game: The narrative is all about finding your own way and then... well, you follow orders for all of the jam sessions. This could be seen as working together with the other creature to create one unified song - but I think Simon Says moreso resembles a lesson by a music teacher than an interaction between to equally capable musicians. To give them credit, they actually made the segments feel quite satisfying by rewarding every button press with A LOT of effects and other kinds of responses. Still, I advise every developer in existence against Simon Says. Please find more interesting interactions or (at least) make it coherent with the narrative or themes of the game!

Where this game has some - very personal - problems for me is in how you construct your stage persona. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun with the creation (especially designing the outfit) and every time it was taken away from me it hit as hard as the game intended. But. As soon as I get control over a characters entire outfit, I see it as a standin for myself. Whichhhh creates some problem when you are fully invested in your now nonbinary protagonist that is regularly referred to as "he" and the game heavily implies to, no matter what, always be male. This game kinda fucks up a queer analogy for me - in the way that it does not offer that way of reading it, but I wanted to play it that way. It's a very curious case.

This experience is of course very personal, so most people will be completely fine in that aspect. Luckily, reviews cannot and should not be objective!

La aventura de The Artful Escape es una introspección galáctica sobre las sombras que la gente proyecta sobre nosotros y los caminos del "tengo que ser" por encima del "quiero ser", concepto que siempre es atractivo verlo en ejecución pero que en este caso se topa con todos los clichés posibles.

El ritmo del juego está bastante bien, aunque muchas de las pantallas, sobre todo al inicio, se me han hecho muy largas por no aportar nada más que un despliegue visual, pero se agradece que en la segunda mitad ya meta un poco más de velocidad y movimientos.

Y evidentemente lo que destaca por encima de todo en este videojuego es su apartado artístico, al que veo como un híbrido entre No Man's Sky y Rick & Morty (SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!)

I mean, it's gorgeous, a trippy psychedelic theme park ride where every new background leaves you in awe at the sheer beauty of it all. At the same time though, it's also a game that tries to convince you that pressing X to make the background even more pretty is a viable core gameplay mechanic, which it isn't.

Why is Jason Schwartzman in this?

Really pleasant all around, beautiful environments and a dope soundtrack. This is ultimately a simple platformer with Simon Says mechanics attached if you wanted to break it down.
What elevates this concept though, apart from the aesthetic qualities are the opportunities for player expression which seem subtle in that you can time your notes however you want, but feel actually really nice and the developers did an amazing job at making everything sound and feel great even with mashing of the buttons or super delayed inputs conveying the fantasy of jamming out in these psychedelic space concerts beautifully. Apart from this there are tons of options in character customization, from outlandish hyper-pop inspired outfits to flavour dialogue options that are respected throughout. Normally, this kind of player expression would be a minor detail but here it plays out to be a vital part of the whole package, tying into every aspect of the game.

The environments are so colorful and cool. Makes it a delight to walking simulatoring through fake breckenridge and elsewhere.

Its also very easy to get to the end to, not just because its low effort to play but because it keeps the stream of cool things to look at flowing and messing with the guitar timing is fun.

Simon says it's artsy.
Simon says its platforming is boring.
Simon says drugs, drugs for everyone!

The Artful Escape -
is an adventure platformer. Our ​protagonist is someone that always feels like a failure, people just can't stop comparing him to his successful and world-famous folk musician to an uncle. With all this heavyweight put on him, he feels responsible for living up to what his uncle accomplished. He is by default set to become what his uncle had become, he has to carry on his legacy.
People expect great things from him and judge him unfairly because of his famous uncle. He definitely stands out in the crowd since it takes plays in a relatively small town.
Deep within himself, he wants to become "someone else"; a new self. As the title states, he makes an "escape", an "escape" from his previously known reality. This is where the story begins, this is the point where he embarks on his journey to find his "new self".

As you progress through the story, you as the player get to choose and customize what you want this "new self" want to become. Your looks, your name, and where you come from are all up to you to decide.
I became the Flamboyant Wizard, I chose an outfit with only black & yellow colors and I came from a planet that legally changes to a new language every 3 hours. It became a bit silly but I like that I'm in charge of what I want the protagonist to become.

The platforming is very basic but smooth and somewhat satisfying. 50-70% of the platforming consists of slopes and down-going hills, those parts go fast and they're exhilarating. As you glide and traverse through these worlds, you get to experience some graphically impressive and artistically interesting visual-eye-candy.

It was perfectly long, any longer and it would have felt repetitive.
Overall a wonderfully crafted indie game.

Juego difícil de calificar. Annapurna siempre publica juegos interesantes en alguno de sus apartados, pero creo que este es de los peores que he probado de la publisher.

Es un juego que tiene buen ritmo, no llega a hacerse pesado porque apenas dura tres horas y a lo largo de las mismas llena la atención del jugador. Por otro lado, la historia es básicamente una fumada pseudoartística sobre la sombra que proyecta en una persona las expectativas que le rodean, pero muy mal llevada. Los minijuegos rítmicos son bastante entretenidos pero escasos.

En general, me ha parecido bastante decepcionante. Aunque no niego que puesto de ketamina me podría haber parecido mejor.

pretty to look at, except i still think the main character is a bit of a wiener

What. A. Trip. Amazing visuals.

This is a weird one.
Sometimes it's weird, sometimes it's amazing and hits all the right notes all at ones, but then comes a chapter where I find the answers your character can give rather strange. Something about it feels a bit odd and I'm not quite sure whether it is the delivery of the overall message of The Artful Escape or the theme they went with here.

I will probably come back to review it properly, once I made up my mind.
Visuals are amazing tho, it has absolute hit moments and the overall audio-visual experience is a pleasure. Sad tho that the mall-theme isn't included in the soundtrack, I'm looking for that song very badly because it slaps so damn hard