It took me nine real world hours and eight in-game days, but I finally escaped the “very easy” beginner prison, Center Perks. And escaping really was exhilarating!

I must start by saying that The Escapists is far and away one of the most frustrating, rage-inducing games I’ve ever played.  That being said, I could not stop playing it.  Every failure lead to increased resolve.  Every mistake lead to increased concentration.  Every rage-quit lead to a fresh outlook ten minutes later.

The Escapists isn’t a game for everyone.  Despite its cute characters and colorful environments, this is a game for the hardcore, dedicated gamer. There isn’t a tutorial telling you what to do.  There isn’t a shallow learning curve easing you into each of its mechanics.  This is a game where every mistake will find you in the infirmary or in solitary confinement, all of your carefully collected and painstakingly crafted items stripped away. At this point your best bet is to load your most recent save, losing every bit of progress from that day. Saves are automatic and only occur each morning. Since some of your most sensitive exploration can only happen at night, this will lead to very tense moments where you know the next mistake will cost you every item, relationship, and dollar earned that day.  Like I said – casual gamers need not apply.


So much of The Escapists is figuring out exactly how everything works, and exploring each of your options for escape.  If I were to attempt an escape at Center Perks again, I’d likely be out on day two, simply because I’ve learned so much. I’ve moved on though. My prisoner alter-ego, Stu, now finds himself thrown into a predominantly outdoor prison, Stalag Flucht, based on a World War II prison camp. It’s cold and uncomfortable, and now I have a cellmate. It feels very different than Center Perks, and since it’s classified as “easy” I’m guessing I’ll be in an anger-induced gaming coma for the next two weeks.

Here’s the big question though: Would I recommend it?  ABSOLUTELY.  Just don’t get mad at me each time you rage quit. (And rage quit you shall!)

I’ve been playing on the PC, but The Escapists is also available for the XBOX One.

About The Author

By day I’m a producer/director at a video game development studio. By night, I’m… um… yeah, i’m usually just a more tired producer/director at a video game development studio. BUT, by weekend I’m a husband, father, and critic of all things.

  • Justin

    Is this a sequel to Prison Architect?