As much as I love games that feature deeply complex stories, there’s always a special place in my heart for more simple experiences. Sometimes, I just want a game that tosses out thought-provoking introductory sequences and jumps straight into quick, easily-understood action. Mechanic Escape definitely falls into the latter category. An easily grasped 2D platfomer/runner, Mechanic Escape is a fast-paced, somewhat frantic sprint through brightly animated levels filled with a multitude of hazards and interesting environmental quirks. A combination of reflexes, on-the-fly thinking, and cautious control are necessary to get through the myriad challenges that riddle your path to freedom.
There’s some manner of story here, but it’s bare-bones; you’re cast in the role of a heroic television charging across a brutally dangerous landscape, rescuing other televisions along the way while avoiding villainous enemies, lethal traps, and more. The object of each level is to collect or save as many of your cathode-ray comrades as you can – each level hides fifty small, fairy-like friends and five medium-sized compatriots that follow you along on-screen as you progress after rescuing them. The graphics are sharp and vivid, and the level design offers a pretty good variety of dastardly death-traps and useful tools to help your mad dash across the land.
For the most part, the path you’re taking is always pretty clear. Sometimes, alternate routes may lead to a faster way through, or to more of your friends in need of assistance. Reacting quickly to ever-changing environments is a must if you’re going to save everyone, but a number of quirky methods are there to push you along; from wires guiding you through portions of wall to cannons firing you haphazardly across open expanses, you’ll need to be ready for anything. This is especially true when one of the boss warnings begins to flash, signalling a chase segment where the slightest hesitation or misstep will mean failure.
One aspect of Mechanic Escape that I think missed the mark some is the looseness of the controls. When jumping or falling especially, there’s quite a bit of ‘drift’ to any movement; while I understand that this is an intentional design to increase the difficulty — Slak Games advertises the title as a ‘die and retry’ hardcore platformer – it felt a little bit too off-balance and gimmicky. The lack of any in-level checkpoint could also be frustrating, but is again, built to increase the challenge and push the player to double down on their determination and keep hammering away. With a bit of luck and enough times through any given stage, it’s not too difficult to keep progressing, and the game offers up 80 levels that increase sharply in difficulty after the first 20-level area.
For fans of oldschool platfoming who reminisce of the days when games would test your patience as much as your skill, the beautifully designed Mechanic Escape with its variety of elements and surprises certainly delivers a worthwhile experience, but for those who prefer something a bit more casual, I’d say it’s one to pass on.
[+Great, crisp graphics] [+Wide array of traps and environmental tools] [+Challenging, fast-paced gameplay] [-Weak, loose controls]