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Review: Without Escape (PC)By Adam Riley At 29.04.2018 09:10

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Rather like The Longest Journey, in Without Escape the protagonist has to explore a normal world to start with, before being sucked into an alternate existence, one that is filled with terrifying scenes. It all begins at home, being woken up at 2:45 am, wandering around, checking out where the source of the noise had come from, solving puzzles to discover keys that unlock randomly locked doors, and being drawn deeper and deeper into a mysterious situation. It all works very smoothly from a first-person viewpoint, with key indicators via the mouse cursor showing what can be played around with or where the lead character can move to. The inventory system is also cleverly implemented, with items collected, but each one being automatically used at the appropriate time, rather than forcing those in control to work through endless permutations to crack conundrums. This is all about not breaking the immersion factor.

After all, the key to Without Escape is how it builds atmosphere throughout, via the vastly improved visuals from its original builds, and through the haunting soundtrack and eerie noises that present themselves at the perfect time when exploring. Then there are also FMV sequences, harking back to similar PC adventures from the 1990s, which give a bit more life to the whole experience before placing the player back in the realm of pre-rendered imagery.

The puzzles themselves are not overly complicated to the point of getting completely stuck, but they at least do get the brain thinking enough to prevent this being zipped through too quickly. Without Escape is not the longest adventure out there, but it is priced accordingly for its length, and what is included is more than engaging enough to keep things entertaining until the end. On top of that? There are multiple endings, some of which are obvious given the choices made en-route to the finale, others that can only be discovered by deeper exploration and experimentation. Once puzzles have been solved, as well, it means speed-runs can be done in search of other endings, and times can be tracked online against other players!

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Final Score
[i]Without Escape[/i] is the perfect dish for those hungry for classic 1990s puzzle adventures like Zork, Myst, et al. It does not over-complicate matters by bogging players down with convoluted puzzles, instead focusing on streamlining the experience and delivering a haunting setting that will stick in the mind long after completion. Hopefully now this has been polished to perfection, Bumpy Trail will work on a successor.

7

/10

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