Review – Escape Tales: Low Memory
|Designer||Jakub Caban, Bartosz Idzikowski|
|Artist||Jakub Fajtanowski, Magdalena Klepacz|
|Length||3 hours per scenario|
Escape Tales: Low Memory is a follow-up to 2018’s Escape Tales: The Awakening. Though completely unrelated in narrative, this “sequel” game uses a similar system that is once again heavy on theme and atmosphere.
Like its predecessor The Awakening, Escape Tales: Low Memory is a very dark game, absolutely not for children. It deals with intense themes like suicide, so it is very important that all players be aware of its potentially sensitive/triggering content.
Earlier this year, I reviewed Escape Tales: The Awakening, a game that, though very macabre in theme and storyline, was quite engaging to play. Escape Tales: Low Memory is the next entry in the series, and it takes place in a sci-fi-esque future setting.
Now, as always when reviewing games with strong narrative arcs and puzzles, I want to do my best to avoid spoilers. For all intents and purposes, this game is mechanically very similar to The Awakening, and since I have already discussed that game’s system previously, there is no sense reinventing the wheel. However, since Low Memory includes a tutorial – something not found in the first game – I will give a brief example of actual gameplay using tidbits of it. (I suppose, then, that the following will contain very minor spoilers, but only of the tutorial/prologue.)
The tutorial mission is basically just an “escape the room” puzzle, but it cleverly introduces players to the main character (well, the first main character), and to the game system as a whole.
Like The Awakening, locations are made up of two cards laid over a grid, as shown below:
Each room has a corresponding map card, which shows the story entries players read in each area.
Note that in the tutorial, players are only given 6 action tokens, so there is no way they will be able to visit all 12 spaces! This is almost always the case in the main game, as well. Players can’t explore every space in a location, so they have to pick and choose the ones they think will be the best. Action tokens quickly become a precious commodity, so players need to study the room cards carefully, observing the details in each space.
When I played through the tutorial, the first place I looked was the trophy cup, which was entry P002.
The card I received was a USB flash drive. Naturally, I then visited the space with the computer and was met with a puzzle card. I found the puzzle quite amusing, but I’ll let you discover why for yourself.
I should note here that the game is app integrated. Often, puzzle cards will require players to enter codes into the app, which will tell them whether they are right or wrong. The app also provides hints when requested. All told, it works similarly to the Unlock! app; it doesn’t drive the game, it just supports it.
Throughout the scenario, players continue visiting locations, exploring areas, and reading story entries until the game ends. Like The Awakening, Low Memory has multiple endings, depending upon how well players did.
The Escape Tales games are not complex in terms of mechanisms, which I really appreciate. Thanks to its streamlined game system, the focus is entirely on the story itself; players will rarely need to look up rules or do things that otherwise break the immersion.
Low Memory took me much longer to complete than The Awakening (which itself took me several hours!). One thing I really like about this new game, though, is that it has 3 different scenarios, so it is easier to play over multiple evenings. The game still has a save feature, so players can stop at anytime, but by having multiple storylines that each take a few hours, there is a more natural stopping point for each session. (In The Awakening, players could stop at any time, but doing so meant wrapping up mid-game and resuming the same scenario later.)
The storyline in Low Memory is strong, just as it is in The Awakening. As far as which one is better, I think it all depends upon players’ tastes. Both stories are heavy and deal with difficult themes; The Awakening is a dark, tragic tale of a father’s love, while Low Memory is more of a techno-futuristic/cyberpunk story. Personally, I enjoyed both of them, but I thought it was particularly cool how Low Memory tied together multiple storylines into one dynamic narrative. Either way, though, players are in for a memorable adventure.
If you like escape room games and appreciate games that aren’t afraid to tackle tough subject matter, the Escape Tales series is definitely worth checking out.
A review copy was provided by Board&Dice.
The Bottom Line
Low Memory is another strong entry in the Escape Tales series. Once again, it provides a heavy narrative experience wrapped in a cool theme.