Volcano Escape Review
- Detailed 3D visuals; varied environments and enemies.
- Multiple unlockable characters each with their own catchphrases.
- Unique combination of platforming and twin-stick shooting; requires some time to master.
- Floating jumping takes time to get used to; also makes it hard to wall-slide/jump.
- Enemy corpses unintentionally more hazardous than when they're alive.
- Seemingly pointless addition of a 'power-down'; difficulty already high enough without it.
Decent graphics and a fun, unique idea aren't enough to keep Volcano Escape above the rising flow of lava and you're likely to be burned by this challenging endless vertical platformer.
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I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when Volcano Escape was first discussed as the combination of traditional platforming with twin-stick controls is extremely unique and potentially difficult to pull off. However, true to the literal translation of their company name, Bravo Game Studios has taken up the challenge and now you have the chance to control one of six different characters as they try to escape their fate as a char-grilled sacrifice.
Moving around the screen is certainly simple enough thanks to the responsive analogue stick setup that also provides the ability to shoot in 360 degrees around your character. However, for a game designed around your ability to survive via jumping, the positioning of the jump button above the shooting stick can be disastrous to your progression. This is further exacerbated the floating jump style that takes a while to get used to as you try to judge just how long you'll be in the air versus whether or not you'll be able to take out the enemies in your way.
In what feels like a rolling snowball of frustrating issues, killing enemies provides a convenient way to temporarily escape death by acting as a stepping stone on the rising lava, however more often than not these corpses end up as blockades that prevent you from being able to jump up or run through available passages. Power-ups including various weapons and jet-packs provide alternative methods for staying alive for longer, but they can just as easily go to waste if you haven't practiced your platforming skills.
Volcano Escape's unique concept and beautiful visuals provide a brief glimmer of what could be an exciting casual title, but with so much time and effort being required to render the game playable this glimmer quickly fades away. Only worth grabbing if you don't mind subjecting yourself to a challenging learning curve.