Survive the Game and Win the Prize
I was introduced to Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue during Anime Expo 2022, where I had the chance to try out a limited demo. Even though the demo provided a sample of what the full experience would be like, it managed to pique my interest. After some time and another playable demo, I can confidently say that the game lives up to my expectations.
Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue is a thriller that follows in the footsteps of the Danganronpa series. Players will have to navigate the social structure and work to survive the island. The choices and actions will have consequences while you don’t know who can be trusted.
Welcome to the Jungle
Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue is a thriller that revolves around the abduction of 11 individuals from around Europe, who are coerced into participating in a high-stakes competition. There are no rules, anything goes and the last people standing will receive a cash prize. Overseeing everything are Naomi and Naima DeWinter, the mastermind behind the competition while also being the only contact with the outside world.
Players will take on the role of Harrison Finn Tailor, one of the unfortunate contestants. Their journey will involve navigating the intricate social dynamics within the group, while also contending with the ambitions and egos of their fellow captives. All in the pursuit of survival. Simultaneously, they’ll need to discern who can be relied upon and who is ready to breach ethical boundaries in the relentless pursuit of victory. This won’t be easy as the rules are non-existent and anything is fair game.
A compelling visual novel hinges on a captivating narrative and a roster of intriguing characters. Inescapable boasts both these elements. While the initial plot direction may appear predictable, it consistently subverts expectations, keeping players on the right amount of edge. The characters themselves are a diverse bunch, each possessing their own distinct and often quirky personalities, stemming from various walks of life. Some readily open up, while others require more time to truly appreciate their company.
Welcome to the Abduction Hotel
From the very beginning, one has to appreciate the anime inspired design used to bring the story to life. Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue makes no attempt to conceal its anime influences, and this artistic choice is entirely fitting. Nevertheless, it draws more inspiration from anime instead of being an anime. This is evident in certain design choices and the absence of manga elements. Surprisingly, this distinction allows the game to carve out its own distinctive style, rather than aspiring to mimic the style of others.
Its core gameplay is the standard setup of a visual novel that requires you to read / listen to the dialogue. But don’t think you can finish the game by skipping everything. You will need to interact with everyone and make choices, all of which can affect the outcome of your playthrough. This also includes what you do and who you work with. It also doesn’t help you when time is of the essence in regard to some tasks or objectives.
The gameplay extends beyond the realm of solving mysteries and delving into visual novel elements. It offers a diverse array of mini-games that players can immerse themselves in during their playthrough. This assortment includes an in-game rendition of Wordle, fishing, and an assortment of arcade games inspired by timeless classics. Players will aim to achieve the highest scores or use these moments as a respite from the web of mistrust.
Secrets and Gossips
An annoying issue I faced with the game was the extended waiting period before it granted the player agency. By this I mean it was a long wait until you could interact with other characters, partake in the mini-games, or for the suspense to truly begin. Even though it’s a visual novel, a more organized and prompt initiation of gameplay is preferable. Prolonged waiting doesn’t heighten suspense; instead, it tends to frustrate the player. Fortunately, this issue isn’t the most severe, but it was distinctly noticeable.
Another issue I had was with Harrison as an overall character. He is not that interesting and can be boring at times. Every other character has lived an exciting life or interesting background while having some kind of aspiration. Then there is Harrison, who is going through life doing the bare minimum. I don’t expect every character to be unique but should the main character really be someone who is incredibly uninteresting.
No Rules, No Rescue
Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue is an engaging thriller that is always keeping the player on edge. It’s a captivating visual novel that immediately grabs your attention with its engaging storyline and diverse cast of characters. The heart of the enjoyment lies within its core gameplay, and the inclusion of mini-games expands the player’s experience. While it’s not without a few minor flaws, these can be easily overlooked and forgiven.
Disclaimer: Dreamloop Games provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Review | Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue (PC)
- A compelling visual novel with a captivating narrative and a roster of intriguing characters.
- The games anime inspired visual design and artistic choices.
- Core gameplay requires players to follow what is going on.
- Plenty of mini-games that add to the overall experience.
- It takes a long time for everything to open up and the fun to begin.
- Harrison is not that interesting of a character and can be boring at times.