The Artful Escape (Review)

If I were to describe The Artful Escape by Beethoven & Dinosaur in a few words I think “Guitar Hero: The Adventure Game” might be a good place to start. It takes a story with shades of Douglas Adams, combines it with amazing music and gorgeous visuals and produces something wholly unique that a lot of players will take delight in.

You play as Francis, the nephew of a famous folk musician who is having trouble finding his own place in the world when so many want him to carry on his uncle’s legacy. On the eve of a town concert he gets whisked away o a galactic adventure that helps him forge his own path and the music he truly loves to play. Mechanically the game borrows elements of a number of genres including adventures with its dialog system, platformers to traverse from one area to the other and rythym games for the music segments. None of these are too challenging and seem more like a way to make you feel part of the story. And I’m fine with that!

Visually the game is beautiful with scenes that really evoke sci-fi and fantasy book and album covers. When taking screenshots I tried to avoid giving too much away but could have included a lot more! These all serve as the backdrop for the music which (for me) was the real star of the show and the rest of the game blends into it perfectly. Backgrounds come alive and explode into colour to the sound of your guitar, some of which is player controlled too which made me spend most of the game holding down the X button so I could see every change in the world. I think turning the lights down and cranking the sound system up really is the best way to play it. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was holding a controller and didn’t smoke I might have been standing up waving a cigarette lighter above me… probably a good thing too as I don’t want to burn my house down!

The game should only take a few hours to complete with plenty of generous achievements in there too. It really feels like a game that the developers wanted everyone to be able to play through and enjoy so it’s very forgiving in its mechanics. The limited gameplay may turn off players wanting more but if you’re willing put that aside and take in the audio visual barrage this game throws at you its worth checking out. It will likely help fulfill your own wish of being an intergalactic guitar hero too. 🙂

The Artful Escape is out now for PC and Xbox. Played on an Xbox Series X via Game Pass.

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