Point and click adventures, some might say, were the pinnacle of gaming back in the early days of PC and Windows 3.1. Over the years, they have been replaced by far superior technology, and today are often looked over in favor of a more modern style game. If we dug a little deeper into the plethora of release these days though, we may find games like Without Escape. Developed by Bumpy Trail Games, this title is a throwback to the days when still motion pictures could tell a story – and a horrific one at that.
“Without Escape harkens back to first-person graphic adventures of the early ’90s, which relied on pre-rendered backgrounds and full-motion video to tell interactive stories. Explore the confines of your own home as you flip between a mundane existence and a horrifying otherworld. Can you escape the nightmare and find the answers you’re looking for?”
Being at home alone during the night as an adolescent can be a bit rough, especially with all the things that can go bump in the night. After hearing a noise coming from downstairs you wake to investigate and try to find the cause of the noise. You notice a note and your only clue to salvation, a phone number. This will begin a chain of events that you must follow and solve before moving on.
The gameplay is simple as it comes; move the cursor around the screen to look at or use an item. You have an inventory system to hold and carry around certain objects in the game to help you solve the clues. Graphically Without Escape doesn’t do to much, still pictures of what each room looks like. Go to another room, another picture of that room until eventually you reach a place which is less nice and less normal. Red walls and giant eyes are just a hint at what’s coming, a hellish nightmare awaits you.
As you traverse your family home you hear noises of a vase hitting the floor or a violent beating at the door, a nice collection of sounds to keep the suspense up and keep the player alert. Every now and then you will come across a cutscene using those old school graphics and for me, it was a nice little nostalgia kick.
Without Escape is a very short game, but this also depends on how long it takes you to figure out the puzzles. It even has an ending to unlock by beating the game in 5 minutes. There are three endings in total depending on how and which order you complete the game. I hope to see more indie titles like these, though maybe executed more in the vein of titles such as Full Throttle or Day of the Tentacle -having someone walking around on screen can be slightly more engaging.
Without Escape has some great ideas and at times keeps you on your toes, but unfortunately doesn’t offer much in the way of excitement or thrill, at times feeling more like having a read through the family photo album.