Title: Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue
Developer: Dreamloop Games
Release Date: October 19, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Aksys Games
Genre: Visual Novel
Dreamloop Games did themselves a disservice by drawing comparisons to Danganronpa when describing their latest game, Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue. Although the game’s presentation hints at similarities, this comparison sets unrealistic expectations among players hungry for a thrilling death game. In reality, Inescapable isn’t a death game, but it presents moral dilemmas that demand players to make significant choices, shaping their lives and narrative pacing.
Harrison’s Mysterious Journey
Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue introduces players to Harrison, a young man who recently made life-altering decisions, prompting him to board a bus to reunite with old friends. However, their journey takes an unexpected turn when a strange gas fills the bus, and Harrison wakes up in a crate on an island. He soon discovers he’s not alone; there are ten others with similar stories. Their confusion is short-lived as the producers, Naima and Naomi, reveal that they’ve been kidnapped.
Deceptive Thrills: Inescapable may not be the death game it appears to be in its marketing or early gameplay…
The producers lay down the rules: the group must survive on the island for six months to win a cash prize of €500,000. While on the island, there are no rules, and no escape is allowed. The whole ordeal is for the sake of entertainment – people are watching, and someone is profiting. It’s crucial to note that the producers never specify that someone must die, stripping the death game aspect entirely from the experience. Nonetheless, the characters’ fates depend on player interactions, and there’s always a chance they might not make it.
A Slow Burn to Tension
The game’s initial two in-game months are considerably slow, with playful dialogue as the contestants try to fill their days. The producers attempt to introduce novelty with new rooms or items, but the potential danger is rarely mentioned. However, as time passes, the characters’ mental states deteriorate. Their pasts come back to haunt them, and island events influence their interactions, primarily determined by players’ choices.
The slow start affects the game’s overall experience, as earlier tension-building would have been more effective. The issue arises from too many unanswered questions about the island’s purpose, leaving players with slice-of-life scenarios that slowly develop camaraderie among the cast. However, the diverse cast handles their differences maturely, focusing on actions rather than division.
Each character’s actions and history define them. Players can unlock Dirt and Gossip within their bios to uncover secrets about each character. Oddly, this information can’t be used in conversation; it’s merely knowledge for Harrison. On the flip side, the characters remain unaware of what the others know about them, adding a layer of suspense to interactions.
Trust and Decision-Making
In Inescapable, trust plays a central role, and every choice you make can impact future outcomes. The writing often carries flirtatious undertones, and players may find themselves in romantic situations. Deciding how Harrison spends his Morning, Afternoon, and Evening determines the story’s flow. However, other gameplay elements offer a choice of how to spend your days.
Trust plays a central role, and every choice you make can impact future outcomes.
Tasked with building a Spa early on, players can ignore it or dedicate time to working and avoid interacting with certain characters. The first play-through is crucial because it reflects the player’s values. The events leading to the ending differ, providing topics for discussion with other characters, and leading to diverse outcomes.
The cast is highly diverse, coming from various regions and displaying distinctive accents. Their appearances don’t solely define their personalities, as each character brings a unique trait to the group. As you grow closer to specific characters, the story uncovers new facets of their personalities, for better or worse. The accents and characters’ gradual mental decline immerse players in the narrative, creating tension and impulsive decision-making.
A Limited Gameplay Experience
Inescapable follows a visual novel format with limited interaction in the game world. Although players can interact with their phone to solve daily word puzzles, the majority of the game involves clicking around the island to spend time with the characters. While puzzles make sporadic appearances, they don’t significantly impact the experience. A wider range of interactions with the environment and information utilization against characters would have enriched the gameplay.
The game’s diversity and immersive character development shine…
Character portraits and illustrations are well-executed. The diverse costumes and poses during dialogues reflect each character’s mood and personality, enhancing the game’s atmosphere. While Inescapable delves into darker themes and might be considered a horror game by some, it takes hours to reach those moments. Regardless, the game offers a compelling and high-quality experience that captivates players until all their questions are answered.
Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue may not be the death game it appears to be in its marketing or early gameplay. Still, it keeps players engaged throughout the narrative with intense moral choices and deceptive twists. The initial sense of security gives way to unpredictability, making players question their decisions. While the game occasionally demands player assumptions to piece together events, it offers an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. The game’s diversity and immersive character development shine, even though it takes time to reach the darker, more thrilling aspects. With such promise, it’s exciting to anticipate what Dreamloop Games will offer next.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.