The Escapists 2 is the latest in a growing line of games making the port to Nintendo’s incredibly popular portable console. But is this sequel worth picking up on the Switch if you already own it elsewhere? The answer to that lies in how much you love the breaking-out-of-prison simulator. It’s definitely a fun game, but it’s also not the kind of experience meant for everyone. There’s nothing quite like The Escapists games, but as a multiplayer experience, it’s often something truly special. This is our Escapists 2 Switch review.
At its core, Escapists 2 is a sandbox game. Its pixel visuals and minimal flash may belie a simple game, but Mouldy Toof and Team 17s sequel is an incredibly open-ended experience. There are 10 different prisons to escape from, and while the layouts of each are the same from game to game, the way in which you escape is as different and varied as you’re willing to make it. You’ll have to contend with guards, visitors, other inmates, and more as you do quests, collect items, and figure out the daily routine that leaves various ways to break out. There is no perfect way to play the Escapists 2, though you’re certain to find some starting guides out there to take care of your first steps.
The Escapists 2 is a hard game, but failure simply means trying again, or reloading a last save point while playing solo. Online co-op and competitive multiplayer is there, but the real joy comes from 2 player split screen co-op. There’s nothing quite like sitting down with your literal PIC (partner in crime) to work your way out of a pixelated prison. It’s a fun game to play alone, but the Escapists 2 shines most as a multiplayer experience. The random stuff that can happen to you, the hijinks of breaking out together… it’s the kind of stuff memories are made of.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though. The Escapists 2 suffers in handheld mode from having too much random speech balloon chatter going off while you’re playing. The UI and speech clutter the screen, which makes things hard to keep track of. It runs beautifully in either docked or handheld though, it’s just the small screen that becomes an issue with a complex UI and cluttered jails. Also, while the game touts a new combat mechanic, it still feels like you’re just mashing buttons and hoping your weapon and stats are better than the other guys. There’s a certain fun to shanking random prisoners and watching the medical staff cart them off though.
There’s a lot of “downtime” where you’re just waiting for things to happen, but that’s prison. You’re learning the routine of the jail, finding openings, and in the meantime, there are plenty of “quests” for other prisoners you can complete to build up your arsenal and keep yourself busy until you find the perfect opening. And as in life, in The Escapists 2 proves that duct tape can fix anything. If you’ve never played the series, or if you love it, it’s certainly worth the $20, especially if you have a friend to play with.