The Escapists Review

This article is an in-depth review of the top-down strategy game The Escapists. The mobile edition is a part of the critically-acclaimed PC version that launched in 2015. This The Escapists review will prove whether the mobile version stands up to the original.

Type of Game Simulation
Developer Mouldy Toof Studios
Platforms iOS and Android
iTunes Download Page
Google Play Download Page
Free No ($3.99)

Your Mission

The Escapists begins as a simulation of life behind bars. Your character is part of the roll call, riff-raff and secret stashes that commonly portray life in the cell. Soon, however, the game’s main objective becomes clear. You must orchestrate a sequence of traps and disruptions that clear the path to a prison break. These sections of our The Escapists review will cover the individual elements that make the game unique.

Design and Graphics

The Escapist’s graphics are where the game gets most of its overall character. The 16-bit art is charming, and the game’s top-down camera provides a calming sense of knowing the obstacles waiting in rooms ahead. The game’s graphics are charming at best, but wonky at worst. Character models are a little too wide and sometimes give the illusion that you’re not playing the game in the correct resolution for your screen. This was a problem in the original and is even more noticeable in the mobile version.

The 16-bit graphics have a disarming quality that contrasts with the game’s immense difficulty. From the standpoint of controls and level design, The Escapists has essentially one difficulty: hard. Each of the game’s nine prisons requires a huge amount of patience. All of your decisions have distinct pros and cons and deeply affect your escape plans. The game is designed in a way that the only road to success requires trial and error. That play style will appeal to some, but understand that The Escapists is a demanding game.

Fortunately, The Escapist’s graphics are easily replicated on mobile. Aside from the greater emphasis on overly-wide characters, there are no graphical differences between the PC and mobile versions of the game.

Main Characters

The Escapists is not a game about character development. Each of the nine different prisons features unique NPCs in the form of prison guards, wardens and fellow inmates, but none of these characters feature a progressive story arch. In fact, not even the character that you control as the player has any sort of development as the game progresses.

Instead, the characters of The Escapists are to be thought of as pieces to the puzzle you’re currently trying to solve. At any point in time, a character may blurt out a piece of information that leads to new experiments in your preparation phase. When it comes time to execute your escape plan, it’s vital to understand where each character on the map is likely to be at that exact point in time.

In this sense, the game’s characters contribute more to its atmosphere than its story — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In games like this, you take on the role of the protagonist. This gives you a legitimate sense of ownership over your accomplishments and failures, and it keeps driving you towards putting the pieces together for escape.


A proper The Escapists review can’t spend too much time focusing on the game’s story. In the same way its characters are set pieces for the game’s larger puzzles, the story is defined by your individual experiences.

On the same note, completing each of the game’s missions feels more like progressing through an arcade game than a modern single-player experience. For some players, this format may not be immersive enough to stay captivated throughout the game’s lengthy main campaign.

Another issue that gets criticized often in other The Escapist reviews is lack of direction. It can take hours to even start making sense of what’s happening in each prison. From start to finish, it takes new players an average of seven hours to complete just the first prison. The game certainly requires patience, but those who persevere are sure to enjoy the thrill of completing some of the harder challenges in mobile gaming right now.

Overall, the story of The Escapists is what you make it. There are so many ways to break out of each prison that the game’s replayability is through the roof for those interested in experimentation. Those looking for a relaxing mobile game to kill some spare time may want to look elsewhere.

Additional Versions

There are no alternative mobile versions of The Escapists. However, the iOS and Android versions vary slightly in terms of user interface options. The Android version has slightly expanded functionality for virtual d-pad control.

On both platforms, however, the mobile version ships with all the current DLC from the PC and console versions of The Escapists.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this The Escapists review has shed some light on whether the game will be a good fit for you. The mobile version of the game provides the same high level of quality that the PC and console versions did before it. At only $3.99, there are many hours worth of content for curious and patient gamers that enjoy a challenge. The game will never hold your hand, but that makes it all the more rewarding in the end.

Thank you for reading our The Escapists review. Do you have any questions about the mobile version of The Escapists? Please let us know in the comments!

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