Recently I was given the chance to check out AR-K: The Great Escape. This game is the third episode in a series of games by Gato Salaje S.L, and has Alicia returning as the main character. Since this is the third in the series, we will, unfortunately be making a bit of a spoiler of the storyline of episode 2, since there’s not really any way to avoid doing so.
Following AR-K: The Girl who Wasn’t There, The Great Escape begins with Alicia Van Volish having tumbled down into a trash compactor deep within the bowels of the AR-K. The AR-K, for those who haven’t played any of the games yet, is a futuristic space station comprised of seven districts and seems to house the entire human race, as well as several different alien species.
Alicia awakens with a broken leg and in almost complete darkness; The only source of light is the sphere that she’s been strangely obsessed with and has been pursuing for the past two episodes. She has to quickly find a way to brace her leg enough to move and explore her dark surroundings.
Thanks to her old pal, Franky, she’s able to fix up her leg well enough to move and manages to turn on the lights. She passes out shortly after, however, and awakens in an infirmary.
The doctor quickly fills her in on where she is and what she’s going to have to do. Alicia has managed to stumble into the heavily polluted, industrialized District 8, where the people are forced to work under slave-like conditions in order to keep the other seven districts going.
Now Alicia will have to figure out a way to track down the now missing golden sphere (yet again), uncover the mysteries behind it, and try to find a way back to the AR-K’s upper levels.
AR-K: The Great Escape is a fairly standard point-and-click adventure in terms of gameplay, and several of the fully voice-acted game’s elements are reminiscent of classic Lucasfilm games. When you want to check something out, you simply click on it and, if it’s an object Alicia can interact with (or is curious about), she’ll say something. You can tell what objects can be messed with or inquired about because a name will pop up when you hover your cursor over it.
You’ll access your inventory at the same click of a mouse, and will encounter several puzzles throughout the game that will require you to use the inventory wisely in order to solve them. Some of the puzzles can be tricky, which only served to heighten my enjoyment of the game.
AR-K: The Great Escape features solid production, particularly on the cut-scenes. Though it admittedly isn’t on par with huge-budget AAA games (not surprising considering the humble Kickstarter-funded roots), AR-K as a series has continued to evolve and get better with each installment. Thanks to the solid animation, within and outside the aforementioned cut-scenes, as well as a solid story by award-winning novelist and comic book author Greg Rucka, the third episode provides quite a bit of entertainment.
Those who missed out on the first two games should probably play them first, however the third episode does offer up a recap on what you may have missed in these titles. Having played all three now, I must say that The Great Escape is definitely the best in the series so far, though with each episode getting better, I can’t wait to see what the fourth will be like.
Final Score: 4/5