Prince of Persia is a franchise that needs no special introduction. Thanks to legendary 1989 original, a seminal masterpiece of the platformer genre, as well as a bunch of sequels and reboots it spawned over the years, Prince of Persia belongs to that elite group of games popular with the players of virtually all generations. Precisely for that reason, developers who attempt to add another game to the franchise, have a tremendous responsibility to do justice (or, at the very least, try) to one of the most iconic games in the history of the gaming medium. Unfortunately, for a title that’s pretentiously advertised as a game that will help you “relive the legendary classic on mobile”, Prince of Persia: Escape by mobile developer Ketchapp fails miserably at that self-appointed task. In fact, Prince of Persia: Escape reminds the most on best friend who just returned from beyond the grave – he looks pretty much the same, but you feel that something’s off, realizing in just a few moments spent in his dull company that he’s just a lifeless shell of his former self, lacking the irresistible persona, soul and everything else you loved about him.
If you remember, the original game had a well-elaborated story concerning a Grand Vizier Jaffar who just staged a coup, a kidnapped Sultan’s daughter and a nameless Prince who has only an hour to brave a deathtrap palace dungeon and rescue the princess before she perishes from Jaffar’s hand. In any case, we at least knew why prince risked his precious neck and that, if he just managed to avoid being impaled on some rusty pike, he’ll be awarded a half of kingdom and an obligatory princess’s hand in marriage. Well, kiss that fine hopes and aspirations goodbye. Prince of Persia: Escape will just throw you in the midst of some tedious dungeon and tell you to run – which is exactly what you’ll do until you’ll wear out your feet. Unfortunately, the game fails to deliver even this. The game mechanics reminds of some endless runner game, except that this one is far from endless, with very finite and short levels that seem to end just as the Prince really starts to warm up for his run.
At least the controls are simple and their response is satisfactory. The prince will run automatically, and you’ll perform his jumps by tapping – short tap for regular jump and extended tap for long jumps. Besides jumping over fatal chasms, Prince is skilled in parkour, so he’ll easily scale even the steepest wall. Unfortunately, that will be about it as far as action is concerned. The armed palace guards who were sent to stop your progress in the first Prince of Persia are completely omitted from this version of the game – a damn shame because duels with them were some of the high points of the original.
Graphics and design are also pretty uninspiring. It can’t’ be said that visuals are bad, but they are perhaps too simple and without details needed to help it to stand out, while the animation of the protagonist is somewhat crude, lacking lifelike finesse and sophistication that made the 1989 version so famous. The level design itself is exceedingly monotonous. It seems that every level takes place in the same dreary dungeon with floating platforms and haphazardly spread booby-traps in form of protruding spikes and loose tiles aimed to send you to your death. The one final objection can be directed to a nasty habit that Prince of Persia: Escape uses every opportunity to choke you with a bunch of annoying ads and pop-ups.
Unfortunately, Prince of Persia: Escape is not a game that managed to meet the expectations of Prince of Persia fans. Although the game can be mildly entertaining in some rudimentary, mind-numbing way, annoying adds, dull gameplay, monotonous design and general lack of content make Prince of Persia: Escape just another failed attempt to rekindle the flame of this famous Arabian Nights-inspired franchise.