(Mini) Game Review: Escape String

Developed by 7 Raven Studios and published by Totalconsole Escape String is a small budget indie title that put me in mind of one of my all-time favourite puzzle games, Lemmings. A simple premise and even simpler controls, but some tricky levels to navigate along the way.

“Escape String is a 2D puzzle game set in an undefined time and place. A small humanoid robot wakes up in the debris of a landfill inside a large factory. He receives strange and enigmatic messages, from someone who apparently wants to help him. The robot’s purpose is to explore the large factory where he is in search of answers about who he and his mysterious remote helper are.”

In Escape String, you play as a robot in  a factory with the main aim of getting to the exit of each level, that’s it. Basic and to the point. Of course, getting to the exit isn’t going to be as easy as just walking right. Along the way, you’ll have to deal with electrified obstacles, mechanical crushers, simple gaps and more. Now, the twist here is that you do not control the robot directly or even live, as it were. Along the bottom of the screen, you have a string where you can use basic inputs, up to fifteen of them. Move right, left, jump and duck/crawl. You have to look at the level you are on and work out just which inputs you’ll need to reach the exit.

ESCPAE STRING SCREEN 1

Use as many or a few inputs as you think you’ll need and the robot will carry out your instructions at the touch of a button. This is all about you working out your moves in advance and trying to get to the exit using as few movement inputs as possible. Nothing moves on the levels until you press the button for the robot to carry out your instructions. So, this does mean a lot of trial and error. Will you need one or two steps to the right before you need to jump that gap, and how do you avoid the crusher on the other side? You’ll need to send out the robot on a few kamikaze runs on some of the harder levels to see just what moves and how to avoid them to reach the exit.

There are 40 levels to challenge you and a number of unlockable skins to find, based on your performance. If you can reach the exit by using the minimum number of moves and by only using one string of moves, you’ll get the highest ranking on a level and a new skin for your trouble. However, you don’t have to finish every level that way. This gives a fair level of difficulty, I feel, as you can take it a bit easier to get to the exit, or you can try for the best possible performance. Really, Escape String is as easy or as hard as you want to make it.

ESCPAE STRING SCREEN 3

Around £6 is how much this will set you back and is available now on the main consoles. For the price, this is a pretty decent game. It may not be as complex as Lemmings and it lacks that game’s charm and personality, but the basic gist is the same. Get your character to the exit and avoid hazards. Escape String is certainly playable and some of the levels will have you scratching your head as you try to work out how to get from one end of the screen to the other. For a budget title and if you feel like having an easy-going but still challenging puzzle game, then Escape String may be worth taking a look at.

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