Reviews - Updated on March 29, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Being a relative of a legendary person, if you plan to do the same as him, is not so easy. Everyone expects you to continue his work and replace him in the event of his death, but what if you want to develop in a different direction? The main character of The Artful Escape, Francis Vendetti, whose spiritual experiences lead him to a bizarre, phantasmagoric world of music, where it is easier for him to be himself, got into such a situation.

Walk away from fate

Francis is the nephew of the famous (and already deceased) Johnson Vendetti, the great folk musician who is known to all the inhabitants of the city of Calypso. A day later, the hero will have his first concert, and the importance of his family ties is so great that on the posters his image is much smaller than Johnson’s photograph.

The Artful Escape: Обзор

Everyone has bought tickets and is waiting for the new Vendetti.

The problem is Francis doesn’t like doing folk music. He is much more interested in picking up an electric guitar and jumping around the stage, rather than building out of himself as Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan). At the same time, I do not want to disappoint the audience that has already put a label on it. He remains in such an existential crisis until, on the night before the concert, a strange creature Zomm-Hypnagog, “the messenger of fate and misfortune”, flies to him. The guest says that in another dimension, a certain Captain Lightman has an artist who is ill, and invites Francis to help organize performances.

Here begins a series of events, more like hallucinations. The hero changes into a fashionable suit, and an electric guitar materializes in his hands. It is worth starting to play on it – and the world around comes to life. Garlands light up, fish jump out of the reservoirs, flowers bloom. In this fantasy, Francis is doing what he loves and becomes happier, although constant thoughts about Calypso and the upcoming concert continue to visit him.

Finally he is happy.

It turns out not the most original, but a strong story about finding yourself, fear of failure and the difficulties of living in the shadow of another person. Similar themes were raised in the recent Chicory: A Colorful Tale, only here everything is closely related to music, and not to drawing. We quickly get acquainted with the same Lightman – he turns out to be a local star and at the same time tries to help the hero understand himself. All the lines are brilliantly voiced, but the actor who gave the voice to Lightman stands out in particular – the character is reminiscent of the god played by Morgan Freeman (Morgan Freeman) from Bruce Almighty.

The Artful Escape: Обзор

Didn’t cheat.

Francis visits worlds one by one, where his ability to play the electric guitar is revealed. Each concert is a riot of special effects, a vivid journey through absurd and fantastic, but so bewitching and breathtaking locations. From a snowy area with icy ground and northern lights to a desert with strange creatures, everything looks amazing. It becomes obvious why the development dragged on for more than six years – the artists tried to make each frame special.

All this is beautifully combined with music that makes magical journeys even more epic. Even if you’re not into rock, it’s hard not to immerse yourself in the atmosphere when your short or long sips on the electric guitar fit perfectly into the background soundtrack. At times it seems that this is exactly how Tetris Effect would look and play if it were a platformer – bright, picturesque and grandiose.

The Artful Escape: Обзор

I want to take screenshots all the time.

Run to the sound of music

It is a pity that such epithets are not applicable to the gameplay. The game often offers to move from one side to another, sometimes forcing you to jump over obstacles, and the platform elements are nothing special. It’s hard to die here, there are no opponents, mistakes are not punished. Just hold the stick and run or slide down slopes. At the same time, you can hold the button responsible for the guitar – the character will play on the run, and the environment will begin to react to it.

Sometimes the hero encounters majestic creatures and a mini-game is triggered. Using five buttons, you need to repeat the melody after your opponent. You made a mistake – without extra downloads, try again. It’s funny that button images don’t just appear on the screen – they are part of the creature: eyes, eyebrows, or symbols on the torso.

The Artful Escape: Обзор

In dialogues, it is often suggested to choose replicas, but this does not affect anything.

Everything is well implemented, and there are no complaints about the controls, but because of the gameplay, the game becomes a little predictable and monotonous. On the one hand, you never know what kind of “trip” the protagonist will have to go through. On the other hand, you will probably again have to run from left to right, holding the button, and periodically participate in the same mini-games. Perhaps the heap of new mechanics and the development of existing ones would have a negative impact on the pace of The Artful Escape, however, in its current form, the gameplay is not ideal.

You can not hold the button responsible for playing the guitar, but then the spectacle will not be so interesting.

The impression of this does not deteriorate, and after the finale (it takes about four hours to complete), I would like to recommend the game. Here, a topic that is not standard for the gaming industry is successfully revealed – although you can remember a lot of adventures about finding yourself, very rarely these are stories about a character who is in an existential crisis due to the need to continue someone else’s business. The Artful Escape says bluntly: there is no such need and it is better to be yourself – you just need to give free rein to your imagination and not be afraid to be sincere.

Pros: a great story about finding yourself, in which the ending did not let us down; insanely beautiful locations where breathtaking performances take place; a wonderful soundtrack, in which the chords performed by the player are perfectly intertwined; well voiced characters.

Cons: Rustic gameplay adds an element of predictability to an unpredictable adventure.

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