A little while back, for our Month of Coverage Club feature, I covered The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout. This fun stealth/adventure hybrid caught my attention, and I ultimately thought it was a neat game worth digging up for both fans and newcomers to the series. Much to my surprise, a second game released shortly after. The Lost Legends of Redwall: Escape the Gloomer is a text adventure spin-off to help make the wait for the next episode a little more bearable.
Escape the Gloomer‘s story runs parallel to that of the book Mossflower, which actually makes it a prequel for those who don’t follow Redwall‘s timeline. You play as Gillig, an otter mostly known for being a bit of a screw-up and having a phobia of snakes. He’s given a chance to redeem himself when he gets an important job from Skipper: sneak into the caves under Kotir Castle and retrieve a scroll that belonged to its former owner. Unfortunately, unbeknown to anyone, a giant rat known as the Gloomer lives in those caves as well. It’s up to Gillig to find the scroll and keep himself from being caught by the Gloomer.
Much like The Scout, you can just tell that Escape the Gloomer comes from people who absolutely love Redwall‘s setting. The setting and tone come across nearly perfectly. Characters feel like they jumped right out of the pages of the book. I quickly came to enjoy Gillig and found him to be an interesting protagonist for the game. Flashback sequences and detailed narrations help fill in the events before Escape the Gloomer, and there’s a good sense of growth for him.
Unlike The Scout, Escape the Gloomer is a text adventure. The text describes actions in great detail, and then you type out how you want Gillig to respond. You can perform simple actions like looking around, inspecting objects, and taking them. Each action gives you more description of your surroundings and opens up new actions you can perform. The game actually discourages you from really simple statements like “open door” or “get object”. Instead, it encourages you to type full actions. I thought this may make things confusing, but I was actually surprised with just how many times the game did exactly what I was hoping.
However, there are times that Escape the Gloomer feels like it’s looking for something a little too specific. In one section, I only discovered that I could advance by throwing a rope at a pole. No matter what I did, the rope didn’t seem to catch. Turns out I have to first specify that I wanted to tie a knot onto the rope. At the very least, if you do the wrong action enough times, the game will have Gillig think up possible solutions to the current situation, helping nudge players along. It’s a smart way to keep people from getting lost and trying every single possibility under the sun.
Occasionally you actually play as the Gloomer itself, rather than Gillig. It’s an interesting change of pace, as the Gloomer has a different set of skills. More important, the Gloomer is blind, meaning players will have to rely on other senses to get around. Things like touch and smell become super important. It means I had to do a bit of interpreting based on what the Gloomer described. It was a cool little break from the normal sections and didn’t outstay its welcome.
Since the focus is on text, and the cast reading it, there absolutely needs to be some good voice actors. Thankfully, the cast of Escape the Gloomer does just fine. The narrator is great in particular, providing a comforting voice that sounds like he’s telling a story to the player. There isn’t much in the way of art, but occasional concept art does at least manage to look appealing. I appreciate the developers having all sorts of options to resize the text. They make sure that it’s never too small for the player to read.
While it’s a totally different kind of game, I appreciate The Lost Legends of Redwall: Escape the Gloomer. It shows that the world of Redwall still manages to work as you extend it in multiple directions. Beyond that, I didn’t think it was possible to make a modern text adventure that’s actually fun and pleasant to play. However, it seems like I was wrong, and this is all the proof I need. Fans of either the books or the genre should find a lot to like here.
TechRaptor covered The Lost Legends of Redwall: Escape the Gloomer on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developers.