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The Escapists: Complete Edition Review

I didn’t steal this bag of money, officer, I borrowed it. Promise.

Team 17’s The Escapists has been extremely popular since its release in 2015. Hundreds of thousands of players have been digging their way out of cells, climbing through vents, and disguising themselves as guards in order to escape the confines of prison. Now available on the Nintendo Switch, The Escapists: Complete Edition includes all of the DLC ever released for the game including but not limited to: Alcatraz, Escape Team, Duct Tapes are Forever and Santa’s Sweatshop. The Complete Edition also includes nine brand new bonus maps as well as the Fhurst Peak prison, which has never released on console before.

The Escapists is a retro-style prison escape game where you play as a recently-admitted inmate whose goal is to escape. The game’s tutorial makes escaping prison seem easy. Jump in a vent, disguise yourself as a prisoner, and walk out while flipping everyone the bird. It’s not nearly that easy in the rest of the game. There’s your fellow inmates to worry about, routine checks, random pat downs, and a long list of other things that can keep you from reaching your goal. You’re also expected to exercise, attend meal times, do jobs around the prison and more. It’s a busy schedule, so you hardly have time to worry about escaping.

But don’t get me wrong, that’s clearly the point of the game. There are so many elements that you have to worry about, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with a cohesive plan of escape. That’s where the challenge of the game comes from. You’ll find yourself asking whether or not it’s worth it to miss a shift at the laundromat in order to keep digging for a few extra minutes in your cell. Or perhaps you’ll exercise until you’re absolutely exhausted so you can beat up Stan for that shiv. Every decision you make can have both negative and positive effects on your plan. Sometimes it’s worth getting beaten to a pulp just to see what happens.

In order to escape prison in The Escapists, not only will you have to perform your regularly scheduled duties, but you’ll need to steal, craft, and purchase items to help you get out. Sometimes, in order to do this you have to speak with and become a little friendly with your fellow inmates by performing tasks and favours for them. Along with this, you must learn the paths of the guards and the layout of the prison, paying close attention to all of the details. Miss one thing? You’re back in your cell, all of your hard work flushed down the toilet. Speaking of toilets, it’s also crucial that you hide things from the guards and the other inmates so they don’t get stolen. The toilet, my personal favourite, happens to be one of the best spots to hide items.

After you master escaping from the first prison, you’re able to move on to more difficult prisons with increasing difficulty level. If you’re a fan of difficult puzzles, the harder levels are sure to make you use those brain muscles. For the rest of us,  the harder prisons may prove to be a little too tricky. When it comes to the nitty gritty, a lot of The Escapists is down to trial and error. It means that things soon get repetitive from one in-game day to the next. Sure, little things will change, and you have to learn the layouts of all of the different prisons, but it can get a little tedious after a while. Of course, the dozens of hours of DLC content included here does help, which is why the Complete Edition is probably the best way to play The Escapists.

The Escapists: Complete Edition looks crisp and beautiful on the Nintendo Switch. The pixelated prisoners and officers have never looked better, as as with any game rereleased on Nintendo’s handheld hybrid, the ability to play on the go is a massive boon. Though a lot of the content is the same, players can look forward to those Complete Edition bonus levels. Despite its potential to become repetitive and a little too tricky, if you have the appetite for a challenging puzzle game, The Escapists: Complete Edition is a winner. If you love retro-styled puzzle games, The Escapists is a must-have, and a perfect fit for Nintendo Switch.

The Escapists: Complete Edition is available on Nintendo Switch.

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