Have you ever played Legend of Grimmok? Yep that’s right, that was a great FPS dungeon crawler, I can’t escape? it has a long way to go yet.
I Can’t Escape: Darkness is the spiritual successor to the popular 2013 game “I Can’t Escape”. Created by Fancy Fish Games, I Cant Escape: Darkness is an atmospheric horror adventure game that I really wanted to love, i really did and maybe one day i will but today is not that day, and i shall tell you why.
First of all its a dungeon crawler, very much so in the vain of Legend of Grimmok. The aim of the game is to get to the lower levels of the labyrinth like hallways whilst dodging various terrors and traps along the way. Very little explanation is given at the beginning of the game and is left for you to find out.
The levels consist of very well drawn sprites which reek of retro, which i love by the way. The design of the levels are your typical dark and maze like hallways with animals, ghosts and demons around every turn. That is all fine but after that it tends to fall apart a bit.
The controls for me are just bad, that’s the only way to describe them. To traverse the hallways you can use either a keyboard or gamepad, I’d recommend a gamepad but honestly it doesn’t matter as the controls are clunky and awkward regardless of what you pick. I found keyboard+mouse to be much easier. The gamepad seemed a bit cumbersome and I did experience some wandering crosshairs. The controls consist of forward one step, sideways one step, backwards one step and so on, this was fine 20 years ago but by today standards it is plodding and let’s be honest slightly boring.
The gameplay has you walking, rather slowly around the darkness with various weapons you come across along the way. The combat however is for lack of a better word frustrating. The first level you have a stick, which is practically useless as the hit detection is not very well done. Once you hear an enemy around you then have to slowly turn around in order to find it only to be killed by said enemy before you see it or have any chance to hurt it. When you die, you are sent back to the beginning with the level with the amount of steps you took in your previous playthrough and told to start again.
The music is great, it adds a lot to the atmosphere which i must admit this game does quite well and does bring some tension along with it. The SFX could have been better in my opinion though and on times sounded a bit “Thwacky”, if you know what i mean.
Another thing that bothered me and this is not really about the game but more of the game developers site itself. If you want to look the game up to see what it’s about or what kind of game it is you could go to the main “I Cant Explain” website right? No, instead when you go to the site you are greeted with a flash website which then proceeds to immediately throw the price of the game and a paypal splash screen with only links to their twitter or facebook. I’m sorry guys but this is not the way to advertise or “sell” your game, and when i say “sell” i don’t mean give me a price.
Now this is only a small indie company and i am all for indie games and companies, i give a lot to various kick starters and always give them a chance as i know only too well how hard it is to get into the industry and make a mark but for me this is not the way to go about it.
I can’t tell you how the game eventually played out in the later levels as unfortunately my frustration got the better of me. Maybe I’m a bad gamer? who knows but what that tells me is that the game is not very user-friendly.
I feel quite bad about this review because i know how much hard work goes into a game, even the small ones, but I have to end by saying that maybe in the near future i will have a change of heart and go back to this game and give it another try, but for now i give up on it and hope that this is just a glitch in their creative development. Here’s hoping. My score for this barely scrapes average and does so only due to the fantastic music and artistic environments.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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