Hell hath no fury like another game over screen.
My frustration will sometimes get the best of me. In those instances, I usually stop what I’m doing, take a break, and come back to it later. Escape From Hell brings about those same feelings of frustration, but I’ve been unable to turn away. It’s a difficult game, but it provides a classic arcade feel that makes every failure and every moment of frustration feel completely satisfying.
Right from the start, Escape From Hell gives a unique appearance that sets the tone for the rest of the game. The game looks like a fusion of Guitar Hero, Minecraft, and just about any game with monsters. When the game begins, monsters start sliding down the five-lane path, and your only goal is to tap the left and right sides of the screen to jump around and avoid being hit. The first stage starts off slow, but before it’s over, the speed is increased and the real challenge begins.
The basic concept is easy to grasp. The game comes right out and tells you to avoid monsters and collect stars, which only exist to increase your score. The idea behind the game is as simple as a classic arcade game, and its difficulty shares that feeling. Just as arcade games were difficult so people would spend money on continues, Escape From Hell is difficult for the sake of being difficult. There are a few factors that ease the difficulty a bit, such as taking three hits before game over, or being able to continue from the last played stage. These features are nice, but they don’t do much to make the game easier.
For those who insist on extra features, Escape From Hell may seem a bit empty. There’s an online high score list, and that’s really it. There’s no achievements, no multiplayer offerings, and nothing special in the options menu. This may make the game feel a tad on the empty side for some players, but the experience doesn’t suffer from the lack of bells and whistles.
In fact, the simplicity also plays a major role in Escape From Hell‘s sound and music. Similar to arcade titles, there’s one musical track playing for the entirety of the game, with sound effects scattered about. The music fits perfectly with the fast-paced feel and the sound effects blend wonderfully with that music. It’s easy to overlook the audio of Escape From Hell, but once you start playing the game with the sound off, it’s apparent that something is missing.
With all the charm and simplicity, Escape From Hell isn’t without a few flaws. The difficulty may be a bit too hard for some players. It never feels unfair, but it can still be frustrating. The controls don’t help in the matter. The controls are sensitive enough where tapping can be done in quick succession, but the lack of slide or tilt controls is a bit disappointing. The most apparent issue is how cluttered the screen can get. When you collect a star, demons pop their heads out the side of screen for a second. When you get hit, other demons appear. I was able to get used to this after a while, but it still causes distraction from time to time, and it’s only amplified at the beginning of a level when about half the screen is blocked by the stage name.
Fortunately, those problems are minor and they don’t take away from one fact: Escape From Hell is a blast to play. It’s not an easy game, and I felt like I spent just as much time looking at a game over screen as I did actually playing the game. Once I managed to reach the end of a stage, all those frustrations were worth it, and a whole new set of frustrations were ready to begin. Escape From Hell refers to itself as “The Adrenaline Horror Game” and while I’m not sure how much horror is present, anyone who wants more adrenaline in their gaming needs to get their hands on this one.