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Don’t Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review

Upon waking up from a strange dream, you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment; a world falling apart before your very eyes. You're not sure about what exactly is going on – but you do know you need to survive.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review

INTRODUCTION

Don’t Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland, is a post-apocalyptic point and click adventure from developer Scriptwelder and publisher Armor Games. The game uses a combination of traditional point and click tropes and classic survival elements, the finished product is a game that is intriguing, fun to play and very well put together.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Launch Trailer


Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is avaliable for purchase on Steam.

Story

In Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland players journey alongside David, a lone survivor after the end of the world. Upon starting your point and click adventure, you may be aware of the game's central focus, surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. However, Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland breathes new life into a clichéd story trope and conveys information regarding the post-apocalyptic world through various vehicles, for example, having the moon's destruction as the catalyst for the apocalypse and encouraging exploration to provide players with information concerning the world which they inhabit. Furthermore, each Day offers variations in the game's narrative progression, meaning Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland offers multiple playthroughs for the player.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review. Anyone want burgers?

Gameplay

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is a classic point and click game, with survival mechanics implemented at its core. This makes the game quite engaging, and the puzzle solving keeps it interesting as well. In addition, the game's genre categorization explains part of its gameplay, it fails to encompass the survival mechanics which builds upon it. Thus, the game has a  more cautious and thought out point and click system, which is emphasized through the left click and right click allowing you to interact and examine the environment, respectively.

Controls

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is a point and click game, so one would expect it to solely focus on the said mechanic. The game does indeed prioritize this mechanic through the left click (interact or walk), double left click (run), and right click (examine). Though there are other control mechanics, such as I and J, which open the player's inventory and journal.

Tutorial

Don’t Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland, for the most part, leaves the player to their own devices. Subtletly encouraging the player to rely on their wits to work out what to do next. This may have been quite annoying, but the simple gameplay makes the matter of surviving the wasteland an intimidating yet achievable and fulfilling experience. The amazingly simple tutorial emphasizes this by drawing the player into the game while teaching its mechanics without them realising.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review.  Where is the rest of it?
In the game’s opening moments, the player is required to knock a hole in the wall with a sledgehammer. The tutorial gives them all the tools necessary to complete the task and allows them to get along with doing it by themselves. Find the hammer, pick it up, equip it and smash through the wall. Thereafter, the player is then faced with quicksand that requires them to lose the excess weight of the sledgehammer. This introduces the inventory weight mechanic. Thus, they need to leave the hammer behind and use the drop mechanic to do so, then the player is told that they can pick up the sledgehammer again. Although the mechanic appears minor most point and click games do not have a drop item mechanic, and if it does the item is lost for good.

Inventory, journal, navigation and time system

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland implements heavy survival mechanics. The mechanics are seen through the game's inventory, journal, navigation and time system.

The inventory system is one of the game's more heavy survival mechanics. This system is a limited inventory, where the player is only allowed to carry a set number of items, meaning that the player must prioritize certain items over others in order to manage the amount of space available. Essentially, it prevents the player often from being a "jack of all trades" forcing them to prioritize one style of play. In Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland its inventory is based on the weight of the items, and the player cannot exceed 30 kilograms, which can be vexing at times.

The game includes a journal system. The system tracks important information and it notifies the player through a red exclamation mark atop the journal. This ensures the player does not lose the plot of what should be their priorities.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review. Giant spider.
Another notable aspect of Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is the navigation system. The game employs the use of a map, which gives an overview of the area and the locations made available to the player, as they progress from Day 1 to Day 4. In addition, the player upon visiting an unexplored location can travel from there to their home base and vice versa, but at a cost.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland heavily incorporates a time system into its gameplay. The system is simplistic, functioning on the concepts of day and night, though the former is more preparation for the latter's activities once you begin your journey. Basically, the player explores the area during the day gathering supplies to survive one of the Days' climatic events, however, particular actions; such as traveling, gathering nails, examining a car and so on advance the time. Meaning if you use your time unwisely you will face these events underprepared and be overwhelmed, though if you use it wisely then you will be able to advance the time by clicking on the clock icon.

Graphics and audio

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is a classic point and click game, meaning graphically and audially not much should be expected. Although this is not the case with the game.

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland Review. Home sweet home.
Graphically, the game uses a wonderfully simple pixel art style with an eerie atmosphere from veteran horrors and thrillers and has well-done animations. This is evident from moments in the game when you see giant spiders feasting on their human prey.
Audially, the effects are minimalistic and unintrusive. The music manages to be fantastically barren, but eases into the background of scenes and does not ever impose itself onto the game. Thus, the soundtrack manages to make the world feel vast, imposing and devoid of life.

CONCLUSION

Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is a solid standout in the point and click game-category. It is a game working as a post-apocalyptic thriller, with an engaging storyline. This is built upon more by its classic pixel aesthetic, eerie atmosphere, moody and engrossing original music. Other noteworthy aspects of Don't Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland is its implementation of survival mechanics. The mechanics emphasize the setting and the player's main goal. These mechanics, such as the time mechanic, stresses the importance of those two particulars. Furthermore, the game manages to balance logical puzzles and exploration to challenge players without frustrating them. In addition, each Day has multiple variations, which means multiple playthroughs with new content. However, like all games it falls short in certain aspects though these are not major.

PROSCONS
 + Classic pixel aesthetic – Limited inventory felt unnecessary
 + Moody and engrossing original music 
 + Engaging storyline 
 +  Satisfying logical puzzels and exploration
 + Impressive implementation of survival mechanics
+ Multiple playthroughs

8.7
Great

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