A Casual-Game Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 19 January 2012
Category: Games > Casual > Reviews
Tags: #ninjas Comments View Comments


You're trapped in a shaft and the only way out is up in this one-button fast-paced wall-jumping game - but how high can you go? Will you escape?

EscapeEscape was a jam entry, and multiple-category winner, in Ludum Dare 21, a 48-hour game-development contest that ran over a weekend in August last year (the "jam" version offers a 72-hour deadline). The result is a fast-paced, addictive retro-style game that's simple to jump in to but impossible to master.

You play a little purple ninja-like dude who is stuck at the bottom of a large industrial shaft. As you make your first few jumps up the shaft you trigger a laser beam that slowly starts moving upwards, preventing you from returning to the bottom. To survive you need to keep moving, leaping up the sides like a parkour expert. Randomly placed along the walls, however, are spiky things that impart an electrical shock that kills you so you have to avoid both sliding down the walls into the laser beam and accidentally leaping into a spike.

This is a one-button game so you control your character with presses of the ESC key (or W, X, C, UP, ENTER, or SPACEBAR if you would prefer - but where's the fun in that?). The skill comes in learning how to time the jumps and control their height. After a few tries your stress levels will probably be sky high but as a bonus you may get a desk-bound ab workout as you tense up at every key press. As you get used to death after death after death it becomes more of a Zen exercise because the irony, of course, is that there is no escape - just up and up and up forever, until you eventually make a mistake. I'm sure there's some sort of philosophical lesson in there somewhere....


The wonderful pixel art graphics, complete with vertical parallax scrolling to give the gameplay area visual depth, are paired with retro sound effects and fast-paced chiptune music composed by Guerin McMurry to emulate the style of a game from the 1980s. The game was programmed in ActionScript and Flixel by Josh Schonstal and the graphics were designed by Ian Brock (collectively Incredible Ape) and you can read a very interesting developers' post mortem at the Ludum Dare web site as well as watch a time-lapse video, which is embedded below, of the game being programmed. The game's source code and assets (graphics, sound effects, music, fonts, and a piece of concept art) are also available at GitHub if you'd like to poke around and see how they did it.

This is an impressive piece of work, especially considering that it was created over a weekend. We're pretty sure that after a few attempts and some mastering of the basics you'll be addicted to trying to beat your best-height high score.

Modified versions of the game are now available for Android devices (roughly R8.00 [?]) via Kongregate Arcade (free) and iOS devices ($0.99 [?]).

Play Online Play Online: Escape
Kongregate (Updated Version):
Notes: There are two badges available for gamers who have (free) profiles at Kongregate. Sign up! Opinion
Rating: 7/10
Time-Wasting Value: 5 seconds to 30 seconds per game
Learning Curve: Easy
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Replayability: 9/10

Key Facts: Escape
Price: Free
Year: 2011 (22 August)
Genre: Action
Keywords: action, casual, one button, wall jumper
Size: 2 MB embedded Flash file
Resolution: 480x640
Requirements: Internet connection, Adobe Flash Player, web browser, mouse, keyboard
Created By: Incredible Ape
Programming: Josh Schonstal
Art: Ian Brock
Music: Guerin McMurry (Spamtron)

On The Internet
Guerin McMurry (Spamtron) :
Official Site | VGDb Profile | YouTube Playlist

Watch Online Watch Online: / ESCAPE \ Programming Timelapse

You Might Also Like Comments Speak Your Mind

Search Network
Editorial Contacts

South Africa Mandy J Watson
Founder and co-editor
Cape Town, South Africa

United States Jase Luttrell
Portland, Oregon, United States

Stay Up To Date

Feed delivery Subscribe in a reader

Email Delivery
Email delivery Subscribe to by email
(brief update notifications and general announcements)

Monthly Newsletter
Newsletter delivery Send a message to newsletter [at] to receive the newsletter via email
(it's monthly and experimental)

Explore The Archives
From The Archives

★ More from the archives.

Shop | ZA
Clash of the Titans: Special Edition (2 Discs)  Alice In Wonderland  World War II In Colour  Glee: Season 1, Volume 1 - Road to the Sectionals
Drop Zone  Invasion - The Complete Series: (Box Set)  Star Trek I - The Motion Picture Special Edition  Star Trek II - Special Edition
Schuks Tshabalala's Survival Guide To South Africa  The Princess and the Frog  Avatar  Finding Nemo
Shop | ZA

Shop | Amazon.comAmazon US

Shop | UK

Ads | Ad Dynamo

Shop | iTunes App StoreAmazon US

Ads | Google