This is Beethoven & Dinosaur’s first game, and it does a commendable job of living up to the high standards set by Annapurna. In The Artful Escape, players assume the role of Francis Vendetti, a teenage guitarist. Francis Vendetti is doomed to follow in his famous uncle Johnson Vendetti, a folk music pioneer.
As the tale begins, Francis tries to pluck a few folk music bars and cannot seem to get rid of a nagging sensation. While resting after being knocked down and disheartened by the rest of the town, Francis hears something strange outside and immediately jumps out of bed to investigate. It’s important to remember that The Artful Escape is mainly a story-driven game.
It’s evident from away that the creators have many different ideas they want to explore, but there’s just one central point they want to make. The Artful Escape’s emphasis is on freedom of expression, as shown by the player feeling inadequate compared to his uncle and then finding the confidence to play for the whole galaxy.
Multiple people ask Francis, “Where are you going?” repeatedly throughout the novel, and Francis responds with a specific response even when the inquiry is more philosophical in nature. I liked the stage persona because it makes it seem like the game is attempting to encourage players of The Artful Escape to lie so they may be punished. It’s a great message, and the game executes it well. Despite the story’s strength and the presence of a few tearjerking moments, the overall quality of the voice acting serves to enhance the experience even further.
The Artful Escape appears to aspire to the spirit of films like The Last Starfighter from the 1980s in style. Even the voice actors are well-known, with Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey and The Mandalorian’s Carl Weathers taking on critical parts. Holding down the strum button as Francis jams on an enormous guitar riff and the scenery around him comes to life is possible at certain levels.
An early example is at Francis’ hometown of Calypso, shortly after the meeting with Zomm, when strumming transforms the town into a Christmas wonderland, complete with twinkling lights and exploding fireworks. The level may still be completed, although the accompanying music is very mediocre, consisting of a basic percussion rhythm.
As a result, The Artful Escape encourages players to keep holding the button down for thirty seconds to a minute while nothing happens in the hopes of getting the most out of the experience. While interesting, this seems to be more of a time-filler than anything that adds real value for the gamer. Necessary to know: Later chapters fix the problem, although some players may become bored with the tedium in the beginning. Except for the tedious strumming, the guitar has many more practical uses that have not been used to the fullest extent.
The controller’s face and shoulder buttons correspond to a set of five locations on each obstacle. The controller buttons would be aligned with the bear’s mouth and ears so that when it “roars,” gamers would press the button that corresponded to it. This was a tonne of fun at first, but as time went on, it became more difficult due to the need to hold several buttons simultaneously and the rising pace of the movements. In addition to making the game more enjoyable, this may lead to some fascinating back-and-forth.
Since the narrative is the primary attraction, this choice does not seem to detract from the experience. The Artful Escape is home to a bewildering assortment of oddities, such as beings that converse in smooth jazz, enormous space butterflies who are COMMITTED to keeping you amused, and creatures who sway their hips to a rhythm only they can hear.
Aside from the distinctive character designs, the presentation has been polished to a high sheen that looks great and functions well. When it comes to the music, there are a few standout licks. Music is not available for purchase, but the samples provided were enough to get the blood flowing and the shoulders nodding.
Musicians, artists, and just about anybody else will be able to connect to The Artful Escape’s powerful narrative adventure centered on self-discovery, identity, and expression. While some of the platforming sections drag the experience down, the game’s unique world is well worth the time it takes to explore.