When a lively samba kicks off this fiery little gem, you almost forget there’s a raccoon being suspended by rope over a rapidly rising pit of lava. Needless to say, Pocahontas would be mortified. It’s quite evident that developer Can Play has a crazy sense of humour – allegedly one of the perfect ingredients for a successful casual game.
Players are fed the essentials through a quick tutorial, where a cute blue bird explains the basic controls: tap the gears on the left and right hand side of the screen to raise the rope, and in doing so, prevent their furry friend from becoming roasted raccoon. The prime objectives of The Raccoon Escape are to keep the raccoon alive, help it escape its imprisonment, and score as highly as possible. This is no easy feat when meteors of all shapes and sizes are hurtling down the volcano towards you, but is always lots of fun. The thoughtful inclusion of exclamation marks, which warn you which side the meteors will fall from in advance, generally makes for exciting, adrenaline fuelled gameplay. Occasionally the fast-paced nature of the game makes juggling gear tapping and swinging the raccoon out of harm’s way a difficult task, but not to the extent it feels daunting or overly frustrating.
As they ascend, players can collect acorns which function as in-game currency for purchasing things like new hats, shoes, tails, glasses and mustaches to add a touch of style and individuality to their raccoon. Not to say the raccoon isn’t already a unique, funky example of strong character design, but the customization options are great incentives for multiple playthroughs. Acorns can also buy magnets (to attract more acorns), temporary protection, free revives and so on. Should you die in your quest for acorn collection, watching advertisements is a nice way to double earned acorns but is naturally nowhere near as enjoyable as playing the game. After passing a set distance, a new, underwater and very much shark infested level unlocks, keeping the gameplay fresh and players on their toes. Raccoon Escape is a challenging, mildly addictive, and morbidly entertaining endless-climber style game with few flaws – except one.
The raccoon looks happy. Stockholm syndrome, I’m calling it now.