DON'T ESCAPE: 4 DAYS in a WASTELAND from Armor Games is a retro-digital take on the current fad of Escape Room games. £9.39 online.
You suffer from bad dreams/nightmares, many parts of which appear to be coming true - or are you still stuck inside one and you are waiting for your Bobby Ewing/Shower moment.?
It all seems so real.
Following a bizarre cataclysmic event that cracked the moon in half, the Earth is struggling with the environmental fallout. Everything is already dead or dying... except you. Or so you think. Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic thriller from veteran developer Scriptwelder, creator of the popular horror series Deep Sleep and Don't Escape. Players must figure out a way to properly fortify their home against each night's new danger, as they learn the truth behind the apocalypse and search for a way to safety, if one exists.
Players will journey alongside David, a lone survivor after the end of the world, who finds himself having prophetic dreams... or nightmares. Each chapter of the game has multiple potential variations to encounter, from poisonous fog or spiders to a gang of murderous thugs or a deadly heat wave, and as a result, you'll need to adjust your strategy on different playthroughs. But you don't have forever. Certain actions advance the in-game clock, and you'll need to complete your preparations to (hopefully) stay alive before night falls.
Will you make it through all four days? Will your companions?
- A classic pixelart aesthetic and creepy atmosphere from a veteran of horror and thrillers.
- Logical puzzles and exploration to challenge players without frustrating them.
- Time mechanics; certain actions advance the clock in a race against time.
- A post-apocalyptic thriller, with an engaging storyline and cast.
- Moody and engrossing original musical score.
- Multiple variations for each chapter mean multiple playthroughs with new content.
The world is ending and as far as you can appertain you are the last survivor (well David is, and you control David so ipso facto). You are in a race against a variety of plagues, the first (and only one I have encountered to date) are the 200 Locusts readying to swarm down and consume everything in their path - David included.
You are on a timer, minutes or hours pass everytime you do something. Sometimes you barely notice the clock ticking away while other times you are asked if you want to carry on with your chosen action and then you are told how long it will take to perform. Just a mini Hint: Walking to the garage takes a lump out of your time so make sure you have all you think you will need when you get there. Other places are just blips on your 'map' until you get there so it's more a case of hoping you have the right equipment with you the first time and knowing you have when you return.
Some things seem obvious and you may well pat yourself on the back for thinking about combining the parts or using the items found as per their reasons for being in the game. Then you hurry off to do what you have decided is correct, only to find that you are only half right or perhaps not even right at all, for the moment at least.
There are many frustrations throughout the game, mainly because you find things that lift you up and all manner of ideas fill your thoughts, and then you are let down because they don't work, need a part, have no fuel etc and thus opening up another avenue for your detective skills.
Knowing that the swarm (of Locusts) is on its way around dusk you need to find somewhere safe to survive the night. A lot of the items, large plastic sheets, metal grids etc could well be very useful but where, and what will you drop to allow you to carry them - you have a carry-weight allowance which you cannot exceed. If you go over the weight limit you cannot move. Thankfully, unlike many games, when you drop something it stays on the ground waiting for you to comeback for it (as long as you remember where you dropped it).
I could have played this by collecting everything I could find and storing it all in the backpack, chest in the house and storage in the garage/barn. But instead I decided to go as far as I could with my preparations and then hit the clock, sending the time spinning round and out, then sat to watch my fate unfold.
Each thing you have prepared is tried and tested by the horde of 200 and any of them that are destroyed or stopped by your efforts are recorded in a series of stop/start screens, the remainder of the Swarm being noted as insects in the top banner.
You watch in dismay as your clearly thought through plans dissolve under the weight and number of the horrible insect horde, and then ... the final message.
There are many different challenges and problems for you to face and solve, such as finding the right kHz to set the Sonic Repellent to its best resonance - clue: the picture on this page is incorrect
The more places you discover, the more items and objects you collect. You can combine some, mend others, utilising them where you think they are best suited for your safety.
As regular GGO readers will know, I am not a great fan of this current 'retro' fad but I have to admit that in this case the sparse detail and blocky graphics suited the game and play perfectly. I did opt, at the beginning, for clarity of message - there was the opportunity to select 'retro-text' and that, in my opinion, was a good choice.
This is an annoying, fun, frustrating, addictive, visual game. It goes against my ideals to like the retro style but do I enjoy Escape style games and the balance is tipped towards the game itself rather than the retro factor.