The Artful Escape is an interesting game that eases you in gently before turning the knob all the way up to eleven with its trippy visuals and wild characters.
The visuals aren’t there solely to attract your attention and wow you, they’re also beautiful and creative pieces of art that are, to me, like kaleidoscope reflections of the creative mind.
The Artful Escape Review | Psychedelic Rock Opera
The Artful Escape comes across as a narrative about finding and establishing your own unique creative identity.
For the main character, Francis Vendetti, it’s about getting out from under the shadow of a more famous relative – deceased uncle and folk legend Johnson Vendetti – and finding confidence in performing the way Francis enjoys performing.
The subject matter will undoubtedly appeal and resonate with creative individuals, not just musicians but artists all across the spectrum from painters to actors to writers and beyond.
One of the things that immediately pulls you into the game is how it changes from Francis calmly walking through a small town that was once home to a famous folk singer (his uncle) to a psychedelic space adventure.
The transition between the calm and the extraordinary is done… well, extraordinarily well in The Artful Escape.
The game also gives players agency to make certain decisions from different response options, to the ability to customize things like what Francis wears.
The result is that, even though this is a story about Francis Vendetti, the journey is one that players take as well. The only flat point in The Artful Escape is its simple gameplay, though this can be subjective.
You can go along with the simple approach to platforming sections and sort of breeze your way through, but the game seems to reward you more for being a bit more daring. At least, that’s how it felt to me.
The music and sound design in the game are stellar, with the guitar licks really coming across as polished and empowering.
It’s interesting as well, the comparison between calm genres like folk music that don’t really embody the main character at all, and the more grandiose guitar performances that you get later on.
Nothing wrong with folk music, but if it’s not something you already jazz with, you aren’t going to get much excitement out of playing it. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to music, and Francis Vendetti is no exception.
It’s nice to see Francis grow over the course of the game, and allow himself to explore music from other angles. It teaches players a great lesson, and is something I’d recommend myself if I were still giving out guitar lessons.
While the fundamentals are key, and learning songs of all genres is a great way to master the instrument, you want it to be fun as well. You don’t want playing the guitar to feel like a chore, but rather a tool for your own self-expression.
The voice acting in the game is fan-effing-tastic, though this is to be expected given the big names attached to this game like Michael Johnston, Lena Headey, Carl Weathers, and more.
The voice acting really helps the player to connect with each character’s personality, and I found myself unintentionally smiling over funny, almost campy sections and bits of dialogue.
The Artful Escape is artfully charming, that’s for sure. It’s hard to really go into more depth and detail as I don’t want to spoil key points in the game’s story.
Obviously we know the core premise that Francis Vendetti had a famous folk musician for an uncle and lives in a town that won’t let him forget it. Francis needs to explore and establish his creative voice, and he does so in the most epic way possible… a cosmic journey.
I will say The Artful Escape wasn't as knee-slappingly funny to me as other guitar-related romps out there. However, it does have some real comical moments.
It's also not solely written as a comedy in and of itself, it's more of an out of this world sci-fi with charming characters capable of popping off with some witty (and funny) comments and observations. It’s enough to leave you feeling more than satisfied once you reach the end.
Overall, The Artful Escape isn't a long journey, nor is it a short one. It’s the “just right” sort of journey that you really want to see with a game like this, and I very much enjoyed my time with it.
- Out of this world visuals that’ll keep your eyes glued to the screen.
- Phenomenal sound design and backing soundtrack.
- Relatable protagonist and story that feels easy to connect with.
- Superb voice acting, character dialogue, and writing.
- The game’s simplicity can at times remove a little too much tension from the game which can dampen moments that would otherwise be intense and exciting.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.