Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.

The subject of this installment: Escape From Life, Inc. available on PC, developed and published by Power Burger.

When I was a young teenager I had plenty of things on my mind, but I can’t recall any that were especially creative or productive. The same can’t be said for the developer of a new puzzle-platformer available on PC, Escape From Life, Inc. Work on this title began nearly two years ago when the developer was only 14 years old! Publishing a videogame at such a young age is quite an accomplishment and what I played had promise, but sadly, I was unable to finish.

Escape From Life, Inc. begins with animals being captured and placed in a mysterious biodome. There’s Ern the eagle, Rick the reindeer, and Bob the fish (who wakes up with synthetic legs!) When they meet each other, the three form a pact to escape the secretive lab filled with anthropomorphic animals, robot guards, and even a sentient, extremely large onion! The plot is quirky, with plenty of NPCs to interact with.

Players can expect a lot of puzzle-solving with Escape From Life, Inc. In addition to basic actions like jumping and pressing switches, each animal has a unique ability. Bob is the only one able to enter water, Ern can fly, and Rick can use his antlers to smash obstacles. Players must alternate between the three in order to press buttons, break boxes, traverse spike-filled pits, and overcome a host of obstacles to open up new areas. While not overly complex, each of the puzzles were well made.

While puzzle solving is the main focus, there are also platforming elements and boss battles. I found myself wall jumping, running from a crushing wall, and battling a frog with a propeller tongue. These other elements were never frustrating, and the controls are precise and accurate even when the pace is more frantic than the otherwise laid-back action.

There’s plenty to like about Escape From Life, Inc. but unfortunately my time with it was cut short due to a game-ending glitch. I came to a room during the third chapter and was unable to jump, and thus unable fly. There was a floor of spikes blocking my way, but without the ability to fly, I was stuck. I restarted and when I had the exact same thing happen in the same place on my second playthrough, I gave up.

It’s too bad, as I was enjoying my time with Escape From Life, Inc. It’s a quirky game with great character design and simple, yet engaging, puzzles to solve – this is very promising work from a self-published teenage game designer. Hopefully, the glitch will be fixed with an update, as I wouldn’t mind seeing how the three characters end up escaping!

Brian Theisen

Brian Theisen

For his tenth birthday, Brian was given the option of receiving a GameBoy or a Game Gear. He chose the GameBoy. No longer were videogames confined to the home PC, he could now squeeze in a quick game on the trip to the store or right before bed. Over twenty-five years later and with two young kids, Brian still needs to squeeze in time for videogames, but now gets to do so on slightly better hardware.

When he does find time to play, Brian’s preferred games of choice are platformers, beat-‘em-ups, or a good adventure game.He still enjoys the retro gaming scene, could talk about the Nintendo 64 more than he might like to admit, and misses playing in actual arcades. Brian also gets to pass on his love of gaming, as his oldest son is just now starting to join the fun.

As for that GameBoy - it’s sitting in Brian’s nightstand, waiting patiently for four AA batteries.
Brian Theisen

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