Reviews for "I Can't Escape"

I have some feedback. Some good, some bad.

I think this is a really conceptually good game. The atmosphere is perfect. You really do feel lost (and there's a good reason for that, which I'll get to in a bit) - it's very claustrophobic, smothering almost. It's thick with tension. The graphics and music are perfect. The concept is great too; I really like exploration games, and this, at first, appears to be one. I think this, with some work, can be amazing.

Which brings me to the bad part (just in my opinion, of course)


I don't think purposely going against all intuition makes for a compelling game. The art makes this game compelling, but I've spent a few hours playing it now (about 3, probably) and I have figured more of this game out as I've gone. This game purposely works against your intuition - I think misleading a player is fine, and can make for interesting gameplay, but this is different. The game gives the appearance that you're wandering a hard to nagivate maze, but you're not. You're walking through a procedurally generated reactionary map. I guess you could call it a maze, but that's a stretch. During my first half hour of gameplay, I thought, ok, I'll get a pen and paper, and write everything down, so I can better navigate... but that's not possible.

Upon discovering that the map "despawns" areas that are outside a certain distance of you, I realized there was a much more cryptic mechanic going on. This actually increased my interest in the game; it's a bit Silent Hill'ish almost (granted Silent Hill never had any mechanics like this, but it kind of reminds me of "Nowhere" from the first Silent Hill,) and definitely makes the game creepier. So I pressed on for about another 90 mintues, determined to figure out how exactly to navigate something that changed so frequently. This in and of itself is totally fine, and is not the problem...

The problem is that there's absolutely no basis for figuring out how to manipulate the generator. It's literally guessing, and trying to make mental notes of arbitrary concepts. I'm not saying it's not fun ---- it is fun --- but it's ultimately unrewarding, because even if you were to "figure it out," you would likely not know how you did. I watched the video where you escaped, and it gave me some leads... but it's like putting a puzzle together where all the pieces look the same. I think --- I REALLY think --- I'm close to "understanding" how it works, and I realize that *MORE SPOILERS* it has something to do with the short hallways where there can be three doors, a blank wall, or bars viewing into another room... and I came close, I think, to escaping MANY times... but it's just so unintuitive, and there's no form of noticeable progress to gauge at all.

Again, I think that the atmosphere that this type of gameplay achieves is absolutely amazing, but I do think this game needs quite a bit of work. Trolling is fun, but this game is so incredibly misleading and cryptic that most people will probably never realize that they're being trolled. If I may offer some suggestions... Assuming I'm right about the short hallways, you need to offer some form of visible progress. I see the *slightest* hint of progress, and I can on the tip of my tongue taste that victory is near, but I don't know why - I just know that through my shooting in the dark, that I'm making some arbitrary form of progress. It's very unfulfilling, and makes it all the more disappointing when RNG decides a door is trapped, and that I need to fall down to the next floor.

Also, I could be totally wrong, but I don't see what purpose the lower floors serve; they're just sort of there, and they're VERY well designed, but they don't seem to be important in solving the game...

Again, this game is really close to being amazing, but right now it's just good. In my opinion, you need to make the game much more intuitive. What makes Portal 2 puzzles so great is that the solution is obvious, but so completely obscure at the same time. Here it's just obscure. Still 4/5 stars, will keep playing.

davidmaletz responds:

I can see you're trying really, really hard to make sense of this dungeon, but the more you try, the more confusing and frustrating the game gets! I see you haven't explored the lower levels yet, so try playing without worrying about the map, and let the game take you down and see what happens. That's the main progression of the game, although it is possible to escape!

Can you do medals? this game is too amazing to not have medals!

davidmaletz responds:

Haha, I was actually thinking about adding medals, but then I thought: if the medal achievement popped up while you were playing, wouldn't it ruin the atmosphere?

I lost on the first try, beat it on the second.

Here's all I know folks:

Always check the ground before you walk. Pitfalls and keys are easy to notice. Hidden pitfalls will have an inconspicuous gathering of plant matter that, if you look closely, is covering a hole. Most easily found ladders will have hidden pitfalls!

I won the game by picking up a key and walking into one of those walls that has a red gash on it. It teleported me right next to an untrapped ladder. Some of those walls make a locked door sound when you try to back into them. Trying this trick on other wall types may make you drop down a level.

Anyway, the game isn't terrifyingly scary, but it is unnervingly scary. The atmosphere and feeling of helplessness is spot on. Falling into the darker and more degraded parts of the dungeon, seeing stranger and scarier things, is an absolutely horrible experience (in a good way).

I am asked to slide the slider till the black box is barely visible, so I slide it all the way to the left and guess what? its still super visible.

davidmaletz responds:

Haha, you must have a very bright monitor, or very good eyes (or both). When I slide the slider all the way to the left, the game looks almost pitch black! Just play with the slider all the way to the left, perhaps reducing your screen brightness a little. You'll have a slight advantage as you'll be able to see everything better, but that's ok!

took me an hour but i got it!
now to test how far down i can go