Drawn Escape – Draw Your Path, Dodge The Pigs

Drawn Escape is a sidescrolling runner game developed by Mad Hamster Games, which recently released for iOS and Android mobile touchscreen devices. The game features a simple running game with the unique feature of allowing the player to draw paths on the screen that the Hero, or in this case the Thief, can follow to avoid danger and reach the end.

The game follows the story of a Thief that has stolen a gun, capable of creating walkable platforms in midair, from an aggressive and somewhat advanced race of warrior pigs. I say somewhat advanced, because at some points the pigs attack with spears and bow and arrows, while other times they attack with UFOs. That being said, the story exists to provide the goal for the player to follow, which is to reach the end of the level and ‘escape’ the chasing enemies.

The gameplay is very simple to understand, though difficult to master as the levels get more complicated. The Thief simply runs forward no matter what surface he is on. He can easily fall into a pit, run into a pair of jutting spikes, or an angry pig. The player must avoid this by drawing a path for the Thief to run on, while evading any dangers. Only one drawn path stays active at a time, meaning that once the player draws the next path, the other path disappears and anything on it should fall through, including the Thief. There’s also a limit to how long the path can be drawn, which is shown in the upper left corner by the colored meter.

Drawn Escape seems to use a single, lengthy musical track split into a number of different beats, riffs, and melodies. Each section of the track seems to repeat about as many times as it can without grating the nerves, before switching to the next one. All in all, the music is simply a placeholder to push the game forward, and isn’t necessary.

Similarly, the graphical quality of the game is minimal. Each level is built using 2D graphics and simple shapes to portray platforms and hazardous spikes. The pigs themselves all use the same facial avatar, and the entire game moves a bit like a flash game. This does nothing to hinder the quality of gameplay however, since the difficulty is still present and the player draws the path for the Thief instead of controlling him directly.

The entire game is 30 levels long. Each level is split up by two separate checkpoints in the middle. Going through the level without any mistakes generally takes about a minute, maybe less, but this is unlikely without knowing what lies ahead in the level. Players will need to react quickly and carefully in order to draw a path that does not lead to the Thief’s death. As such, the game takes much longer to complete, as each level may take multiple tries after every checkpoint. There are also three coins in every level, placed in hard to reach places that offer some additional challenge.

The game is fun, and the controls are easy to learn and master. The difficulty for the game comes from all of the obstacles and different ways that each level could kill you. In this, Drawn Escape and MadHamsterGames show creativity in level design using simple graphics and images. However, some players may find obstacles and paths that will take several attempts, so patience will be required in order to reach the end of each level.

There are a few bugs and oddities within the game, such as the Thief not needing to actually touch a coin to pick it up; instead, simply being near it is “close enough.” There’s also an issue when a spiked ball (dropped by a pig in a UFO) occasionally lands on the drawn path, before then starting to float back upwards slowly. So far these are the only real issues, and none of them are game-breaking.

The path drawing system implemented into something as familiar as a runner creates a new kind of game that requires players to be persistent and smart. Fast movements are less important than careful ones, and players will need to decide on different risks in order to navigate towards any of the three bonus coins in each level. This is a system that can be refined and reused for future games with a higher level of quality overall.

Drawn Escape is available on Google Play for Android and iTunes for iOS. Gamers can play the first ten levels of the game for free, but will need to purchase the game for $0.99 USD in order to play the full 30 levels. Disregarding the quality of the game’s graphics and overall look, Drawn Escape has an interesting premise and is entertaining. It is at least worth the trial download before considering the purchase price, which is already negligible compared to the amount of gameplay time Drawn Escape can provide.

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IndieGameMag - IGM