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So I Tried… The Artful Escape

So I Tried… The Artful Escape

Each edition of So I Tried… I will try a game that I have never played before. Will I find something new to love? Will I find something new to despise? I'll take a full half hour, no matter how bad it gets or how badly I do, to see if this is the game for me. This time I went with 2021’s psychedelic musical adventure: The Artful Escape.

What I thought it was

From a quick glance at screenshots, I assumed that this was a visual novel style of game with a few musically-themed quick-time events. I’d seen the game on sale before, but as visual novels aren’t usually my thing, I decided to give it a pass. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some long, lore-heavy narratives in my videogames, but I like that to be broken up by some interesting gameplay to keep me engaged.

What it actually is

What the game actually is, is something rather difficult to describe. We’re placed in the role of up-and-coming musician Francis Vendetti, who is struggling to find his own identity as he lives in the shadow of his legendary folk artist uncle. Despite an impending performance at a local sold-out folk festival, Francis is in a bit of a rut. Folk music isn’t his true passion, and his love for sci-fi and slick guitar riffs keep his mind wandering instead of focusing on the upcoming event. This all takes place in a 2.5D world, with Francis running left and right as he navigates his surroundings. It feels kind of like a walking simulator but with much more heart.

It’s a story that will resonate with many of us (so far, at least), being stuck doing something you’re not truly passionate about because that’s what’s expected of you. Francis is an entertaining character, and though much of his dialogue is chosen by the player, every line is performed exceptionally by his voice actor. As a musician myself, I’m already invested in the struggles of this indie artist with idealistic dreams. Oh, and the incredible soundtrack certainly helps!

Will I keep playing

Considering I came across this on a list of games that would be leaving the PlayStation Plus Extra service this month (and decided to jump in blind after a quick scan of the review scores), my admittedly low expectations were well and truly smashed. Whilst the gameplay may be simple, the witty writing, stunning visual and sound designs, and the promise of a potentially extraterrestrial-themed adventure make The Artful Escape one that I will absolutely see through to the end.

In just 30 minutes of playing, I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s to come. I’ve explored the idyllic town of Calypso, chatted with a few townsfolk who see Francis as nothing more than an imitation of his uncle Johnson, and been gifted some space-age threads and a cosmic guitar from a freaky-looking brain in a jar alien. If that last sentence doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what else to say. This feels like the opening of a special journey, and I can’t wait to carry on and see what happens next!

So I Tried
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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