The Artful Escape review: Tangled up in neon blue

Some video games make their bones on the again of intelligent gameplay mechanics and studying curves to push aggressive varieties to their limits. Others depend on fashion and presentation. The Clever Escape actually falls into the latter class, providing customary journey sport fare set in opposition to the backdrop of retina-burning neon dreamscapes. Its story and themes are well-trodden materials, however top-notch course helps to maintain the journey partaking, even when the moment-to-moment gameplay is something however.

Standing within the shadows of giants


The Clever Escape has a easy setup: Francis Vendetti is a younger fellow who occurs to be the nephew of a world-famous people musician and is combating the selection to be himself or what he thinks everybody else thinks he ought to be. Francis grew up in a small Colorado city along with his dad and mom and his father was the brother of Johnson Vendetti, a people hero who bears greater than a passing resemblance to Bob Dylan. 

The city is hustling and bustling for the upcoming weekend that marks the anniversary of Johnson Vendetti’s most-loved album. As a cap to the celebrations, Francis is scheduled to carry out a dwell present for the city, inflicting plenty of anxiousness for the younger Vendetti. He meets a woman within the forest the day earlier than the present who helps him query what he’s doing along with his life. She mentions a spot known as Lightman’s that Francis ought to search for.

Later that night time, Francis is woke up by a knock at his door. The knock got here from an intra-dimensional being who offers him an electrical house guitar. As Francis prances round city within the darkness, the notes from the guitar convey town to life and, on the finish of the block, illuminates a beforehand unoccupied warehouse constructing as Lightman’s. Francis then meets Lightman (voiced by Carl Weathers) and is given a fast story about enjoying gigs for intra-dimensional audiences.


Francis follows Lightman into the huge expanse of the Cosmic Extraordinary, the backdrop for almost all of The Clever Escape’s proceedings. Every taking its design cues from the blacklight posters at a Spencer Items shop in 1989, these alien worlds are a feast for the eyes — in case your eyes have a delicate spot for airbrushed t-shirt artwork from a flea market.

Francis should navigate easy platforming sections, Simon-eqsue sample matching for music battles, and a buffet of otherworldly creatures with the intention to discover a approach again to his easy Colorado life. There’s nothing that may’t be dealt with with a couple of guitar licks. Francis additionally begins shaping the narrative for his new backstory by selecting a brand new identify and residential turf.


The visible presentation is clearly the star of The Clever Escape. The artists right here clearly had the permission to run wild and the outcomes on-screen converse for themselves. Whereas the side-scrolling motion appears slightly easy, plenty of the newest graphical results are put to strong use right here, together with depth of discipline and screen-space reflections. Issues pop simply on a 4K HDR show, which is the really useful strategy to take this journey in. I did discover an ever-present stutter that occurred whereas enjoying on my PC that didn’t appear to be affected by graphical settings or decision. It was very annoying, however not sufficient to maintain the sport from being accomplished.

On the audio facet of issues, you’ll discover heaps to love right here should you dwell for the dulcet tones of overdriven guitars drenched in delay. Assume early 80’s Steve Vai or Brian Could for an honest concept of what’s in retailer. From a technical standpoint, I had points getting any audio in any respect from the sport till I realized that it might not output something except my PC sound system was set to 16-bit and 44.1 kHz. I additionally felt like there was a noticeable delay for guitar notice enter. It made issues sound bizarre, however the sport didn’t appear to look after protecting inputs married to the rhythm of the music, so it’s in all probability not an enormous deal.

On the lookout for an encore?


Whereas The Clever Escape does a robust job with its presentation and sense of fashion, it nonetheless suffers the identical drawbacks as most journey video games, significantly with the boring-at-best sport mechanics. The superstar voice solid does properly sufficient, although I solely acknowledged Weathers throughout my time within the sport. The journey right here isn’t lengthy, although it does handle to be memorable due to its relentless need to appear to be a Liz Frank-emblazoned Trapper Keeper. Relying on the medication you retain useful, this may very well be the ticket. 6/10 house slug discos

This review is predicated on the PC Home windows Retailer launch. The sport key was supplied by the writer for review consideration. The Clever Escape will launch on September 9 for Steam, Home windows Retailer, Xbox One, and Xbox Sequence S/X.

Chris Jarrard likes enjoying video games, crankin’ tunes, and on the lookout for fights on obscure on-line message boards. He understands that breakfast meals is the one true meals. Do not @ him. | The Clever Escape review: Tousled in neon blue


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