April 8, 2012 28 Comments
I really, truly don’t get the appeal in point and click games. I’ve seen my father, a fairly jovial individual if there ever was one, lose his shit and degenerate into a snarling, swearing madman whenever he can’t find his car keys. Somehow, the old man always misplaces them and it drives him crazy. Point and Clickers are the video game version of “where the fuck are my keys?” A scavenger hunt where you go from room to room looking for trinket A that goes into hole B based on the always batshit insane logic of the developer.
Without Escape cranks the nutbar meter up all the way to raving lunatic with some of its logic. You play as a dude who wakes up in his house and everyone is gone. It tries to present itself like one of those “escape the room” games, but it fails. It feels like any other Plicker game, right down to the stupid “pick up the items and use them in ways you would never actually use them” idea. I’ll give you some examples. In one scene, there’s something shiny in a toilet, but the dude refuses to put his hand in it. Right, because when you’re in a situation where you’re alone and terrified, you’re really worried about getting a little shit on your hands. If I’m in the dude’s situation, shit is already in my pants by this point and probably trickling down my legs, so what does it matter?
But no, Mr. Prissy wants to avoid the poop in the toilet in his own bathroom (which means it’s probably his own) and needs something to reach down and get it. Now despite being in his house, with all his belongings, he has no idea where anything he could use to get this is. Off the top of my head, I could rattle of multiple things I could use to fish a key out of a toilet. Right next to the bathroom is his closet, which I’m guessing has a coat hanger in it. Just bend the coat hanger into a fishing hook and not only do you have a way to retrieve the key, but you also have an emergency abortion kit if the need ever arises.
Oh wait, the closet door is locked. And we’re also too much of a sissy to kick the door open. Or any door, for that matter. Why does nobody ever kick open doors in these games? They search around for a key that they need to accomplish some important task when their foot and the laws of physics are right there the whole fucking time! Hell, if someone really is fucking with you, kicking doors open might be a good way to show them who the boss is. But no, he doesn’t want to hire someone out to fix the door, so he searches around for something he can use. And what does he find? A sweater. No really, that’s what you use. He wraps his arm in a sweater to grab the key. The character even notes that it doesn’t work all that well. Mind you, there’s a shower curtain right fucking there next to fucking toilet! Shower curtains being things that repel water. I’ve worn sweaters and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I promise you, they do everything BUT repel water.
I can’t really complain all that much, because this happens in every point and click game. I can complain about the graphics. The screen is too dark and you can’t adjust the settings for it. In some rooms, the back walls are nearly completely enveloped in darkness. After much complaining from Brian, I finally relented and adjusted the brightness on my television. It didn’t help. Stuff was still not viewable. Stuff that apparently should have been. I clicked in the darkness and my dude described a painting to me that I couldn’t see. It’s really annoying.
The ending is fucking abysmal too. The game sets itself up as a psychological breakdown, but ends up going a bizarre Sci-Fi route involving the destruction the entire universe and you being handpicked to build the next one. It makes no sense at all why they would choose to fuck with you the way they have. Whatever. The story sucks, but the game doesn’t really suck any more or any less than the average point and clicker. If you’re into this type of thing, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you’re like me and think they’re fucking stupid, it won’t change your mind. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hide my father’s car keys again.
80 Microsoft Points inch closer towards their inheritance, one “misplaced” set of car keys at a time in the making of this review.
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