Microsoft recently rolled out the red carpet for Beethoven & Dinosaur and their psychedelic musical marvel The Artful Escape, and let me tell you — it has us completely hooked by the heartstrings. Although coursing under the radar for only ten days, players that have been able to find the time to soak up the fluorescent world have only emerged to shower praise like bullets over their time with Francis Vendetti and his whimsical journey through the ages of rock and righteousness.
Whether you're on the hunt for the next big indie game or just flicking through with a few hours to spare, The Artful Escape is a game that definitely shouldn't fly under your radar any time soon. Just take these five reasons as a way to sway you towards the checkouts. Or, if you're a Game Pass subscriber — then towards the catalogue where it currently idles without a price tag. If that's the case, then what have you got to lose? Either way, here are five reasons why you should play The Artful Escape this year.
5. A psychedelic dream worth sleeping in for
First and foremost, The Artful Escape is perhaps one of the trippiest video games you'll ever play. Even with the likes of Psychonauts 2 and I Am Fish currently sweeping the market and garnering quite the reputation for wackiness alone — Beethoven & Dinosaur still stack incredibly high with their port key to some of the most wondrous environments ever drawn up for consumer's eyes.
From the moment you step foot into the Cosmic Extraordinary as the conflicted musician Francis Vendetti, you're immediately launched into a vibrant world where inanimate objects come to life through the power of a well-placed strike of a power chord on your guitar. Think Robot Unicorn Attack — but more 80s power metal than 90s dance anthems, and a teenage boy…instead of a rebellious unicorn. That's 50% of The Artful Escape.
4. Bill & Ted's excellent…video game
If you binged Bill & Ted's two most excellent (and bogus) journeys back in the late eighties, then you'll already feel at home with the power ballads that forge the majority of The Artful Escape. That's because over the three to four hours of your tour through the Cosmic Extraordinary, you'll basically be shredding on your axe, breathing life into the world around you as you unmask your true potential.
Minus the few recurring folk tracks that dot around the outside world, The Artful Escape practically relies on lengthy guitar solos and classic rock roots to power the voyage. So, if hammering on a guitar and pulling off a thread of spine-tingling solos for four hours sounds like a good time in your books — then this one is an absolute must.
3. If you enjoyed Oxenfree and Afterparty…
If you enjoyed the likes of Oxenfree and Afterparty, as well as Night School Studios' other narrative-driven works, then The Artful Escape will definitely ring quite a few bells for you. Not only for the art style and antsy teenage character traits, but for the fact that it uses choices as a way to tailor your story.
Along your acid-fuelled trip through the Extraordinary, you'll encounter all layers of weird and wonderful beings and their otherworldly settlements. And that's just the tip of the iceberg to an extremely colourful serving, amazingly enough. But that's something you'll have to uncover for yourself. The bottom line is: if you enjoyed Afterparty — then you'll love The Artful Escape.
2. It's an experience you honestly won't forget
If you're looking for a game that lingers on the brain weeks after watching the credits roll, then this is your next port of call. Although in no way shape or form challenging, it is an experience that contains all the necessary ingredients to concoct a flick that plays out like a 1960s lucid dream.
If Pink Floyd and other prog rock icons from the seventies was to ever develop a video game — then this is basically what the inside of their collective brains would look like. Just pure experimental rock anthems and art styles, oceans of smoke and lasers, and a heart brimming with passion for the arts. So, quite a lot to soak up for a game that's only four hours long. And yet, worth every moment poured into it.
1. It's free!
Heads up, Game Pass subscribers! The Artful Escape is in fact completely free on the platform. So, if you're already signed up for the subscription service, then you can get your paws on the laser-fuelled expedition today. Outside of Game Pass, you can pick up the game for $19.99 on Steam.
The Artful Escape launched on September 9 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.