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THE ESCAPISTS: The WALKING DEAD
Team 17    Skybound     made with
 UNITY

You get a first taste of the Walking Dead just after you craft a weapon from a sock and a bar of soap (a make-shift cosh). then you encounter a room full of them and run away (following the onscreen arrow assistants) until you lock yourself in a room where you find a gun. Then it;s outside, find a shovel, go down a hole, dig your way up, shoot some more and escape to the hospital.

The ESCAPISTS uses the names of the main characters from the TV series The Walking Dead. I would say it also uses the likenesses but for this to be true you would have to have a very good, vivid and amazing imagination, because the characters are bloxcels (pixelated blocks). You play Rick Grimes (you can tell it's Rick because of the western-style hat (though it could easily be his son Carl as he wears a similar hat in the series) and you move around the compound via the Arrow keys or WASD and activate items, objects, rucksacks, cupboards and weapons etc by the mouse buttons or by specific letters (shown above the object to be manipulated).

You begin the first level in bed in the Harrison Memorial Hospital, within the compound, and quickly dress and head off to breakfast in the main hall. You will be called back here regularly for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. As the meals end the other characters get up and run off to do their chores - if you need to speak with someone this is the best and easiest way to catch up with them. If you get close enought o a character their name tag appears above them and you can chat (actually all chats are created within the game, you do not have to write anything) and you can request them to follow you.

During your chores, which are given to you by another character or appear in a message board above the game screen, you should be on the lookout for bonus comics.

As you go through the drawers, cupboards and rucksacks etc, plus searching the deceased Walking dead (finding things on the bodies is very rare) you can collect items which go in your 6 space inventory. Then you can hit C and craft these items into more useful objects or groups of like-objects (medicine and bandages help create a medical pack for example) which goes into one inventory space and frees up others.

Once you have finished all of the tasks at the Hospital, whether or not you have found all of the comics, you move on to the next location - the Greene Family Farm. This gets a lot more hairy and without a little luck you are likely to get swarmed and (b)eaten. If you die you restart the level from the starting place for that level. Going back to your room at night allows you to save your progress as well as rest. Following on from the Greene Family Farm are other locked locations - Meriwether Correctional Facility; Woodbury and Alexandria.

Each level offers different challenges, puzzles and problems and as you would expect gets a little tougher as you proceed. The Walking Dead move surprisingly fast, especially when they get close to you. You can generally run away if you move off as soon as you encounter them, but they are very good at surrounding you and if they manage to get one behind you and one in front you have little or no chance of survival.

Some of the tasks are menial and the only challenge is the clock. Other tasks put you in harms way where you find that your gun suddenly has a finite number of bullets rather than an infinite number (as it seems when you first find it). Also you do not always automatically have your gun with you - which confused me a little as Rick always straps his gun on before going anywhere. The lack of the gun means you have to remember where you saw things you couldn't carry and locate them so you can craft other useful weapons; for example - scythe, wood and string go well together to make a decapitating pole-arm of sorts. So although not having your gun with you might seem illogical it is also a good way to make you think rather than just shoot.

As readers will already know, I am not the greatest fan of the retro bloxcel style games, but I have to hold up my hands and admit that this is quite an entertaining amusement. I am not even a fan of the TV programme, I find it quite ludicrous to be honest, but I also appreciate that many people love it, especially my wife, and so I have to look at it objectively. The main thing is that this game is FUN!

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015