I was walking around the Rezzed section at EGX today, checking out all of the latest hip, cool and new indie games, when amongst the hordes of humanity, one little game stood out. Loud and proud, it proclaimed itself to be The Escapists: The Walking Dead. What was this I wondered? Could it possibly be some tie-in between The Escapists, a 8-bit pixel-art game about escaping from prisons (that I have woefully failed to write about) and The Walking Dead graphic novel which also features a prison along the way (as well as zombies of course)?
I thudded myself down onto the plastic stool, picked up the Xbox One controller and set about checking it out.
My first thought was…how didn’t I know about this already? I don’t know whether it has been pushed that heavily, as I certainly haven’t seen floods of press coverage about it, but hopefully that is changing as the game is coming out next freaking week on PC and Xbox One.
I started a new game, and found myself in the boots of Rick Grimes, in the hospital where he starts his zombie killing journey. The game takes you through the basics – pick up this and that, combine them to form bolt-cutters. Move this table to a position by this vent, climb up and cut your way through the vent cover. Walk towards a closed door and find yourself faced with an 8-bit pixelised comic strip of Rick opening said door and coming face to face with a swarm of walkers.
Run away as fast as you can and dive into a room where you can close the door behind you. Find some more tools to craft together along with a pistol and head out into the hospital grounds. Blast a walker BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! and jump into a tunnel by the hospital perimeter fence. Use your tools to dig a route underground then emerge on the other side of the fence. BLAM! past a few more walkers, and you have escaped the hospital with Rick.
It is a great introduction to the demo, the only trouble was that you are then sped through to Hershell’s farm. The farm is one of a number of locations that you will explore in the game across five chapters, you will also explore the prison, Woodbury and even Alexandria. Whether there is anything between leaving the hospital and ending up at the farm, I don’t know, but it was a jarring change of location for the demo. One that I will be honest, entirely threw me.
Rather than doing the sensible thing and checking my journal to see what tasks I had been assigned, I blindly wandered around the farm, with only a garden rake as a weapon, and soon enough stumbled into some walkers. While I managed to outrun them, I soon came across a walker all by himself. I chose to take him on with my rake, which wasn’t the best of ideas as he quickly killed my lil Rick.
As you can tell, I’ve only had a quick blast of the demo that is playable here at EGX, but it is quite exciting. The game releases on the 30th September, and I am looking forward to the chance of exploring the world of The Walking Dead in the 8-bit pixel style of The Escapists. Just don’t expect me to lead all your comic book favourites to safety…