Let me start this review with the worst thing about The Artful Escape— not nearly enough people will get to play this gem. It’s gotten little to no advertising, it’s barely been covered or discussed, and it’s surrounded by way bigger releases. Hell, even when it made a *small* splash with its visuals, it was like two years ago.
All of which is to say the lack of coverage is a shame because it’s a visual experience that only comes along once, maybe a few times each generation. The last time I remember a game giving me this type of reaction was Kinect’s Fantasia Music Evolved, and that came out 6 years ago (laugh all you want about it being a Kinect title, but if you know, you know).
The story starts off cringey if you’re not a fan of the indie “young guy becoming infatuated with the manic pixie dream girl” movie vibe. But thankfully the game deviates into him taking a ridiculously weird journey of self discovery.
The gameplay is nothing groundbreaking, to be honest. Basic platforming and a very basic rhythm game lies at the core. And you can’t die. The developers really wanted you to be able to go through the game an experience the visuals and story.
Now to one of the two jewels of this title: the audio. The voice actors across the board kill it, and all of them do fantastic work, but Carl Weathers‘ Lightman in particular? I’m already mad that he’ll get overlooked for awards, because this isn’t a huge title, and, again, the lack of coervage is definitely going to hurt it. The music is an incredible mix of synth/electronica with soaring guitars (the soundtrack is thankfully on Spotify, for those who just can’t get enough of it).
The visuals…*chef’s kiss*: you know that annoying kid (and some adults) who would try to sound cool by saying crap like “loved that game! It’s great playing it high!”? Had they been telling the truth, this is probably what they would’ve seen.
The game offers an explosion of almost painting-like visuals with gorgeous lasers when you’re putting on concerts. Fair warning though, if you don’t like the vaporwave palette of pink/purple/blues that’s been taking over, it dominates a few levels so buckle up (or get ready to be converted).
If you have the glory of Game Pass, you have zero excuse to not check this out. If you don’t? It’s only 20 bucks. Totally worth it. 4.5/5 Whiskeys.
Why not 5? Low replay value, low challenge, and unfortunately no DLC to add more songs.