'The Artful Escape Of Francis Vendetti' Indie Preview: This Glamorous 2D Platformer Sparkles With Possibility

The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti.
The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti. (c) Giant Sparrow, Annapurna Interactive

The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti may well be one of the best things I saw at PAX East 2017.

The Artful Escape is ostensibly a 2D platformer. I admit to being a little bit jaded about indie 2D platformers at this point, but The Artful Escape almost surgically took the jaded part of my brain out of my skull and set it on fire to the most rocking galactic tune imaginable.

Playing through The Artful Escape is incredible and inspiring. As Francis, you run through worlds of glittering, glistening beauty with only your space suit and your guitar. Beautiful eerie creatures light up as you run by them. It’s like they were planted on a world to wait just for you, to blossom at the precise moment that Francis Vendetti runs past. It makes you feel like the most important person in the world.

The Artful Escape puts you at the center of the action in the strongest and most emphatic way possible. It feels like it starts from a premise of “Nothing is impossible; everything is awesome,” and you don’t do anything that isn’t both epic and super fun. The insightful creatures you run into are massive; it’s like they’ve known you forever once you speak to them, even if it’s only for a few moments.

In the demo, I skated down snowy white and purple hills on a glistening skateboard, holographic street lamps lighting my way; I jammed with a giant fluffy beast who emitted music notes from its five-colored eyes; I floated through beams of light; I triple-jumped, making my guitar squeal with triumph every time. While the game is a 2D platformer, the worlds feel super 3D and very alive, and your 2D player character stands out like the superstar he is.

There is a story in The Artful Escape: you are Francis Vendetti, a young artist trying to differentiate himself from a famous family member. Though The Artful Escape strictly avoids rhythm game mechanics, music is critical: Francis’ guitar is his major means of interacting with the world. The demo I played only had one world, but there will be other worlds, and each world will have different sounds. The sound of the world I played was a rockin’ ‘80s synth in which my electric guitar fit perfectly. It reminded me of the movie Labyrinth starring some sproglet of Jareth’s launching off into outer space to find his own identity, complete with a soundtrack by ‘80s David Bowie.

The Artful Escape starts from 9000 and takes off from there much like a rocket ship taking off to Mars. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility for The Artful Escape and the demo made my breath catch with wonder. I have never felt more riveted by a title’s enchanting possibilities. The Artful Escape has a joyous, buoyant confidence about it, and I can’t wait to see more of this stylish, thrilling title as its development continues.

Are you interested in The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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