I Can't Escape: Darkness Review – Heart of Darkness

Published: September 5, 2015 10:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

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The easiest way to describe I Can't Escape: Darkness is a horror themed version of The Legend of Grimrock. You play as an archaeologist who falls into the bowels of a temple and must search for a way to escape with the help of a disembodied, mysterious voice warning you about "the darkness" and your trusty flashlight. And with the exit gate locked, the only way to go is down into the inky darkness, where all sorts of evils await.

The first thing you'll notice in the game is the low-poly graphics, which look quite nice. Holes in walls really stand out, as do protruding torches and indented switches. Enemies are sprites, and it really gives the game a PS1 feel to it. The sound design is even better, consisting of uncomfotrable silence broken up by footsteps and slithers. The sound is probably the scariest part of the game, because it certainly isn't the visuals.

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The game is chalk-full of secrets, which are hard to find unless you've eaten a strange mushroom or been poisoned by a bundle of sentient vines. However, secrets can really help, ranging from keys to new weapons that can turn the tide of the combat easily.

Speaking of combat, it's terrible. It comes down to either mashing F or Space, depending on what hotkey you've assigned your weapon, and hope that you can kill your foe before it kills you. There's no depth or strategy—it's seriously just button mashing until you can hopefully escape.

Now that's the tricky part. This is one of the only TechRaptor reviews where the reviewer hasn't beaten the game. Why's that? Well, according to the developers, the way to escape is actually randomized each time you play. And the way the game suggests you beat it, by diving to the depths of the dungeon and slaying its beating heart? Won't help you in the slightest. No, it can be as simple as solving a basic puzzle to being as insane as lighting a special unmarked torch on the wall. And with the win state being random, I simply couldn't play it enough. There's not enough life in your flashlight's battery. There's not enough luck on your side to get you access to the right halls all the time. So while I always beat a game before reviewing it, I simply cannot escape I Can't Escape: Darkness' temple.

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However, I am positive that I have played enough of it to write a review. I've seen the same puzzles and traps so many times it isn't funny. I've seen the glowing green eyes of the darkness more than I ever wanted to. And like any horror game, once you play it enough, it's just not scary anymore. I Can't Escape: Darkness may succeed as an exploration game, but it falls flat on being even mildly scary after the second or third run through. No amount of creepy whispering or spooky ghost person wandering the halls can phase me anymore. The game was just a chore.

So to review, I Can't Escape: Darkness is vague, contains random and frustrating win states, not scary, and the best part is the secrets and sound design. I really wanted to like I Can't Escape: Darkness, but I can't recommend it to anyone but the most sadomasochistic of gamers. If you're looking for scares, this one just isn't for you.

I Can't Escape: Darkness was reviewed with a code provided by the developers

I Can't Escape Darkness

Review Summary


I Can't Escape: Darkness is vague, contains random and frustrating win states, not scary, and the best part is the secrets and sound design.

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Filmmaker. Entertainment critic. Genre film aficionado. Has bad taste and hot takes.