Though it was likely intended to create a sense of isolation, what Inescapable’s lack of music did to me was give me ample time to think.
Within its audio void, it became easy to see Inescapable’s various parts, how they fit and why they were there. And as I observed and seemed to spend more time analysing than playing, a pattern began to appear, one which seemed to subliminally cry out “there is no point to any of this.”
Inescapable is a game built-in the image of the greats which came before it, most clearly Super Metroid, but it doesn’t know where to go beyond replicating elements that worked in other games. There’s a suffocating sense of routine running through Inescapable, each piece fitting cleanly in its designated space as if that alone gives it a purpose.
Monsters populate every hallway and cavern, upgrades section off parts of levels, and backtracking is used heavily as if to create an illusion of larger scale. But why? Why am I fighting so many of the same creature when shooting is neither fun nor gives any reward? What is the point of an upgrade with such a minimally used application? Why are levels so large if there’s nothing within them?
I don’t want to say that Inescapable was designed to waste your time, but it definitely feels intentionally drawn out for the sake of it. There is never an end goal to anything you’re doing beyond continuing to explore, to collect, to fight off the incessant monsters whose only real crime is forcing you to stop every few steps to take them out. It’s as if the game desperately wants to keep you playing to give it more time to find the reason you’ve been forced to run around so much. It doesn’t find it though, and what’s been put in place is such an earnestly fabricated attempt at relevance that I just wished Inescapable had come out with it at the start and saved us both the needless journey.