Escape from the Starship
Taro Ito-san of GameDesign just released a new game, though it is a bit less accessible than his previous efforts. Escape from the Starship is an escape game that uses sound to convey the relative proximity of monsters that you must avoid.
The starship is composed of a maze of rooms, each of which is composed of homogeneous grey dots. Each dot represents a floor tile on which you may land. The sound you hear, however, ultimately determines whether that tile is safe. As you approach a monster, the consistent "beep—beep—beep" will increase in frequency. Your job is to find safe passage through the spaceship without landing on a tile with a monster. Find batteries to replenish some energy for your beeper, and find a map to help you discern the twisty passages of the starship.
As usual, Ito-san creates an engaging puzzle game from a simple concept, and it's enjoyable to play. Since it requires sound, however, this game is best played by hearing folks only—an accessibility "don't" that may have been averted by including an option to display a similarly pulsing object or symbol synchronized to the sound—and those in an environment where the beeping won't be disturbing to others.
Very nice implementation, but sometimes it seems like the batteries are a little too few and far between.
Very nice, but the beep randomly cuts out sometimes. Sound still works, since my character "argh!"s nicely when I die.
I love this game. Using sound for proximity is a neat idea I haven't seen done before.
Though I agree, I would love tiles to light from green to red based on proximity to danger. And I know it's my own fault but I would love a redo button so that my foolishness doesn't send me to the very beginning again.
Are there known problems that result in being unable to play the game? I can't get past the title screen, which says "Press arrow key."
[Edit: Try clicking on the game play area first. If Flash doesn't have focus, then keyboard events are not captured by the game. -Jay]
I was very unimpressed with the game. A visual icon rather than an audible would have been much preferred, I'm not a fan of a game blaring an alarm in my ear constantly. Beyond that, having to restart from the beginning at every death isn't exactly casual friendly, especially with as big of a random chance of death as in this one. Just seems like it could have been done far better than it was.
"Try clicking on the game play area first."
That was the second thing I tried. I also tried WASD and the numerical keypad; the game is completely unresponsive. Could it be that the version of Flash on the college computer I'm using is outdated? (I can't watch NBC videos either.)
That might be it, Bryce. I can't say for certain, though, because I cannot reproduce what you're experiencing.
I tried playing like 5 times before I realized that there was no way to win without sound. Guess I'll give it a real go after class.
Not impressed. I played this game without reading the description or realizing that the annoying sound had anything to do with the game. I never encountered any monsters and found the escape sphere rather easily.
I also had problems with the sound working fine at first, and then stopping (except for the "argh!" when my guy gets killed). Part of me felt a great deal of relief from the absence of the annoying beeping, but mostly I was annoyed.
Overall, this game kind of sucked, at least for me. The beeping was annoying and the same effect could have been accomplished with visual cues. And as someone else posted above, having to start from the beginning in a game where you can die by chance, it an undesirable feature.
I think it's an interesting concept. Nice style to go with it, too.
It's also actually quite easy once you figure out that:
each room is randomly regenerated each time you enter it. Can't find a path? Return to the previous room and try again - there's a good chance you'll have an easy path this time. It's a bit cheatish, but oh well. :)
Well, apart from the fact that this is NOT an escape game but simply a puzzle game I, too, found it a bit unimpressive.
Also, that you don't know at the start what frquency means immediate danger and which signals only danger approaching doesn't help a lot.
Also, just found out that if I stay immobile for a time the sound stops and it doesn't come back - from then it's total silence.
The beeping stops if the meter in the upper left-hand corner decays all the way. That's what the batteries are for, to keep your alien detector full of juice.
I didn't really like this game either, and gave up on it after dying once. Partly it's what was said above (not a fan of sound to carry this information, and it's too hard to tell which beeps mean "alien in this room" and which mean "if you take another step you will die"). But also, the featureless environment makes it much too easy to get lost. The only cue you have is your footprints (I never found the rumored map) and those don't persist if you leave a room and come back.
It's an interesting feeling, being left without any beeps to tell you how close you are, sort of like being blinded. Wish I didn't have to keep starting over though. Also wish that there were different kinds of monsters to encounter, or more environmental features to make it more interesting... the spiders get old after a while.
I wasn't a big fan of this game. Your battery starts at about 10% or 15% and runs down very quickly, and in six rooms I only came across one battery. I did find the map, but it did very little good--all it does is show you where your room is located in relation to all the other rooms you've been through. Then again, I didn't really continue playing too long after I find the map because my battery had died and the next room had no battery. Without the beeping sound, it's really just a matter of walking blindly through a room and hoping you don't step on(?) a monster, and where's the fun in that?
Come to think of it, even with the beeping, it's not really all that much fun.
This kind of reminds me of a game called Enemy Zero. Both have you in space, with invisible aliens, and all you have to find them is a proximity detector.
Lovely game, but sorry, I can't stand the sound!
Yes I know the incentive to make sound a more integrate part of the game. But this is somehow cheap. Since the beeping could simply be replaced with a graphic meter and have exactly the same game value.... /me also not so impressed of this game.
An interesting new take on Wumpus Hunt! Only with sound not smell
Please give us a non-auditory system...and more batteries, so we're not wandering deaf.
A couple of comments:
1. The sound cuts out when you run out of battery power. It's a feature, not a bug.
2. The beep "code" is not all that hard to comprehend: the beep frequency increases as you get closer to a monster. When it's a trill, you are one step away, and you can logically figure out where the monster is and avoid it. It's an invisible maze game, that's all.
2a. There is always a way to each exit. You can be certain that the spot just before your exit is clear, and that at least one of the spots next to it.
3. The map is useful to ensure that you don't run through the same room more than you need to.
I agree, the noise gets under my skin after a play or two, and there's some frustration in having to restart if you get caught. But it's a well-implemented maze game and good for a quick minor diversion.
seriously, not an escape game.
I'm not a fan of this game either...
there are a lot of people who complain that there aren't enough batteries lying around. I couldn't disagree more. I think there are plenty. Too many, if anything.
Yay i escaped. I like the way the beeping gets faster as your about to get killed it helped me alot!
A hint to get always through this maze. Always turn right if there is an exit to right. If not go straight. If not turn left. If dead end turn around. This will get you sure through the maze!
(Yay! I finally figured out how to sign up for Moveable Type. Duh.)
Anyway, I wonder how many folks who don't like this game are musicians. As one, I found it really cool. (Yes, too bad for the hearing-impaired, but think of all the games that the visually impaired can't play for some perspective.)
If you get into a rhythm and listen, the tones do a great job at describing danger, allowing you to move fast enough so that the battery problem is easier to manage. Once you're good at moving that fast and predicting monster-spots, you don't have to linger long enough to get that metronome-ticking going, which is what I think bothers most people. It's just the tones changing.
Really innovative use of sound.
I gave it up after a few minutes...the beeping was too annoying...
Yes I do agree with the obnoxious noise, but with that instead of a bar to gauge the danger it is much more of a challenge, you have to listen instead of run and stop when it goes red.
All in all I liked it, it was creative. For those better at it maybe there should be levels, you could go forever with enough batteries. The battery did not seem to drain fast, but I did not get it more than barely above half at any point.
Interesting game, but it reminds me of another game reviewed here at JayIsGames. The game is one you have to download (approximately 30 MB), and you listen to "aliens" coming at you through stero speakers. There are no visuals, and you "fire" by using six keyboard buttons. Does anyone know what the game is called?
It reminded me of the movie Alien (1979) a little, what with the white space suits and the facehugger dropping down from the ceiling.