Escape the Red Giant


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Rating: 4.2/5 (159 votes)
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GrimmrookEscape the Red GiantI have always counted myself lucky that I won't be around when the sun dies. Think about that, huh? The sun gets all swollen (like me at a buffet) and red (strangely enough, also like me at a buffet) and starts eating planets (I hate to belabor the me at a buffet point, but this one's obvious). Yes, best not to be around for that, or so I thought until I played ooPixel's (Rapid Wars, Gride) brilliant new action game, Escape the Red Giant. Now I know that all you need to have fun during a solar system destroying apocalypse is a pair of roller skates and an amazing ability to jump. You don't even need a hermetically sealed space suit!

All you need to know about the story is in the title itself. The sun is about to die, and you have to keep yourself alive for as long as possible by jumping from one asteroid to the next. Your only tool to help you, besides an Olympic aptitude for high jumping, are your roller skates. What good will roller skates do you in a death defying race against a dying star? We'll get to that, trust me.

Controls are simple. On the surface of an asteroid, you can skate clockwise or counterclockwise using the [Left] or [Right] arrow keys, and to jump off, press [Up]. Once you are in space, you can forget about steering. You probably shouldn't have forgotten your rocket pack at home. But if you have enough momentum, and you hold the up arrow key mid flight, you can crash through asteroids instead of landing on them.

Those roller skates I mentioned? They come in handy while building momentum, which you will need tons of, because that star behind you is growing really fast, and champion jumper though you may be, your froggy legs alone won't be enough to escape the red giant.

Escape the Red GiantAnalysis: When you first sit down to play ETRG, it may seem like there's not much to it. Hop from rock to rock until the inevitable happens.

But keep playing, and you find that there is definitely some depth involved. There are somewhere around 50 different "tricks" available to you, and a subtle technical skill set is involved, which makes this more than just a bunch of rock hopping. For instance, clipping an asteroid at the correct angle while holding the right directional key will send your little guy whirring around it like a tornado, potentially allowing you to whip through space at near light speed. Alternatively, there are times when it's best to slow down (like when you are heading towards the sun as opposed to away from it).

This is encased in a physics engine that may not be faithfully realistic, but at least has an appreciative eye for detail, such as the way the gravitational pull of different sized asteroids will alter your flight path (how the enormous gravitational pull of the star behind you doesn't override all of this is best ignored).

The result is tight and incredibly addictive gameplay. The more you get a feel for how ETRG works, the more you want to try it again to see how much further you can get. This urge is prodded along by a background convention pulled straight from Dolphin Olympics 2, where you are awarded extra points for reaching certain landmarks, such as Mars (without sneakers) or (poor) Pluto.

Unfortunately, aside from the landmarks, everything else tends to get repetitive. Just changing the colors of the asteroids would have been nice. The music is infectious to a point, but you'll eventually be looking to mute it.

But for the most part Escape the Red Giant is one of those games that you don't think of much the first time you play, or the second time you play, or even the third time you play. It won't be until maybe the forty-second time you play that you stop to realize, "Oh, I'm addicted aren't I?"

Play Escape the Red Giant

45 Comments

Anonymous April 6, 2009 12:12 PM

about the game--it reminds me of nitrome's space hopper

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Its almost impossible for me to be addicted to a game that has no ending. I need goals. I'm not very competitive, so points mean nothing to me :( But I'm sure there are lots of people that enjoy this type of game.

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Jussi (ooPixel) - jimothy makes a good point.

How about adding an "achievements" screen where you include icons for all of the tricks available in the game?

That way, as the player achieves each trick, they receive an 'award' in the form of an icon.

Easy way to hook those unaffected by a reward system based solely on points. ;)

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Speaking as someone who usually ignores achievements, the incentive here for me is simply to get better at the game. When there are several large asteroids clustered together, you can pull off some crazy maneuvers, figure-eighting between them to build up speed.

I don't MIND having achievements. Different motivations for different folks, and all that.

I just think this would be a great game even if there were no backgrounds, and no points. It's fun just moving around.

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... you can pull off tricks?

For me it was mostly avoiding the red giant, seeing the next background thing... and wanting to know just how far I flew. Which, sadly, the ending screen does not tell you.

Funny game, but I'd like a bit more control during the flight. Currently it's a mix between speed, picking a good direction and being lucky with what you'll encounter.

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So far I've seen these awards:

Awards for different speeds (Airplane speed, etc)
Awards for length of jumps (Large Jump)
Awards for landing tangent to the asteroid so you don't lose speed (Nice landing).
Awards for reaching different places.
Asteroid Crush only gets 1 award, but it's multiplied based on the number broken at once.
Sun Dive, for a jump that launches you down instead of up.
Sun Tan, for having the sun on screen and then climbing away so it drops off again.
Kaboom Bar, for hitting a candy bar.
Reaction Landing, for pressing the correct arrow when you land so that you keep your momentum as you ride around the asteroid.

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There's also

Sun Surf, which you get by getting REALLY close to the red sun and then getting away again.

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i escaped April 6, 2009 7:40 PM

Dont spin all the way around the asteroid. When you land on it, hold down the correct arrow key (the one that will give you the best momentum, ie Reaction Landing) then quickly afterwards press the up button. Doing this, you can spring off of asteroid right where you touch them - not always a good idea, but a boon when you are going Light Speed +

2.69 million pernts for me. I pown this game.
rickpage

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and also the always cool sun dive!

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longest jump 17529 units
top speed 96.
I think not bad for a first timer

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shellac Author Profile Page April 6, 2009 8:55 PM

I can't find the key... or the door? Hey, this isn't an escape game!

I couldn't save the little man from a fiery doom, but it was touching to witness his final ride.

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Hi, and thanks for all the comments and ideas about the game so far :) And of course, thanks for the great review too - once again :)

About the achievements, yeah sure, sounds like a good idea, we will definitely consider it for ETRG 2. It's funny, always when we publish a new game I am talking about a sequel but how many sequels we have actually made? None. But sure, if this thing appears to be popular enough, then we will go for it for sure.

Personally I am happy with this game and with Dolphin Olympics without achievements. Getting further and further and trying to beat my own (and others') score is more than enough. We also wanted to have background visuals representing the distance travelled in more important role than in DO2. And there are lots of background stuff :) Just play it to see. Sure, having vertical distance travelled in stats could be a good idea. I might add it.

Anyway, I am soon publishing a Kongregate version of this game and if we are lucky (and this game gets gith enough rating) you will have Kongregate achievements for it :)

Having asteroid colours changing by the distance travelled is something to consider too for ETRG2.

Oh, and you can definitely beat the light speed in this game :)

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Arikiko Author Profile Page April 7, 2009 3:02 AM

My main personal issue with this game is me not being able to know which button to press : when your head dips in the red giant, then you skip up one asteroid but then go the wrong way and die!

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Oh man. This is so addicting. I'm going to have "sun, sun, sun, here it comes" running through my head for weeks. XD Thanks for a brilliant game, ooPixel!

Aegeus:

Asteroid Crush has multiple awards. I think you have to make consecutive asteroid-crushing jumps. If I'm correct, it counts up to twelve jumps (Undectuple Crush). However, I found that repeatedly crushing asteroids tends to have a bad effect on the character's lifespan, so I stopped attempting it and can't exactly remember the details.

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Really good fun! I sometimes like a game that doesn't really seem to have an end or a specific goal other than to last as long as possible.

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So I guess I'm a geek, but it bugs me that when you jump you jump at right angles to your linear momentum, in flagrant defiance of all the laws of physics.

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JNinjaz Author Profile Page April 7, 2009 5:39 PM

I wish the tricks in the game were easier to find. I also think that there should be an option to zoom, because i would rather see a broader spectrum while quickly mapping a path that i can gain alot of easy speed from without having to refrence the mini-map on the side. Personally, I think that it is unnecessary from a game standpoint to zoom in on the character when on an asteroid, but rather a visual element that does add to the experience, but makes the gameplay all the more difficult.

Also, as a side note, when the sun does become a red giant, scientists only esitmate it to expand to a couple thousand miles away from mars's closest point of orbit. Our sun does not have enough mass to expand farther than the asteroid belt before the gasses become too thin to be very significant, and in fact, when it condenses into a white dwarf, most of the outer gasses will cool and disperse.

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More Tricks

Nice Landing
Perfect Landing
Sweet Landing
Reaction Landing
Asteroid Crush
Double Crush
Triple Crush
Quadruple Crush
Galaxy Destroyer
Sextuple Crush
Septuple Crush
Octuple Crush
Large Jump
Giant Jump
Planet Jump
Galaxy Jump
Sun Dive
Sun Tan
Sun Surf
Sunny Beach
Burning Feet
Asleep in the Sun
Pendolino Speed
Aeroplane Speed
Rocket Speed
Blazar Speed
Light Speed
Tachyon Speed
Hyperdrive
Biomastric(sp?) speed
Kaboom Bar

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Waha!

Took a few days. :D

http://images.jayisgames.com/hs_pam_escapetheredgiant_jlrep.jpg

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Schwat:

The highest speed you have is 'Bistromathic' which methinks is a reference to Hitchhikers Guide. Its also the fastest speed I've got to. Heck, it might be the fastest speed there is.

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SnackTastick Author Profile Page April 8, 2009 3:57 PM

I love the music, but I think the insane vibrating of the screen at speed makes it impossible to really get any where beyond a million points with my "integrated" graphics card (ibmT43)I think because of the refresh rate. So either i sux or myboxsuxors... either way I love it, but would love maybe a difficulty setting *ducks purist hardcore flaming bricks* because I want to feel like there is less luck and more skill, and for me now it is all luck and kinda looses it after 5~6 goes.

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Hippasus Author Profile Page April 8, 2009 7:16 PM

I'll admit: I've played this game enough to call it addicting. However, my one problem with it is the title: "Escape the Red Giant." As this is impossible in the game, it seems a cruel suggestion. Perhaps a better title would be "Play Around Asteroids Until You Die."

I wonder if this was designed with an old-fashioned aesthetic, harkening back to the days when games were played with more than one person in the room. "Okay Chris," I can imagine my mom saying, "You've been consumed by a rapidly-expanding dwarf star. Let your sister have a turn."

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I found that past the

Dolphin constellation

There was

something called "Heaven in the heavens" and it looked like a bunch of garbage floating around.

*shrug*

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Anonymous April 9, 2009 8:03 AM

List of checkpoints:

Once in a blue moon
Mars w/o sneakers
Bradbury House
Rings of Saturn
CHNO-...
Poor Pluto
Heaven in Heaven
Big Dolphin
Sheep on Sling
Don't Panic

There might be more, but after Heaven in Heaven if you stop it's pretty hard to get started again.

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Rhys:

Yea, I just realized that earlier when I was able to pause the game and get a look at it. Usually, if I'm going that fast, its after I've screwed up and hurl myself towards the sun and instant death, and then I never got to read what it was. Thanx.

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Anonymous April 9, 2009 4:50 PM

Something weird happens when you reach the big dolphin at a very high speed. I sped up to 7140 units and got 'the dolphin jump'. The sun rapidly expanded and I died immediately.

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I think there is a bug which gives you an incredible speed boost. somehow i reached a speed of 1000 units (bistromatic speed starts at 175 i think) once and got from the moon to the dolphin in a single hell of a jump dashing through all asteroid in the way.
this jump was worth more than 4.5 millions.

i spend all day excessively trying to reach that speed again but i have no idea what it was that made me so fast the other day.

on the other hand i can not possibly imagine how to get a score beyond 6 mio without such a jump. according to the high score table there are people doing this repeatedly. so it must be possible to accelerate like this on purpose.

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No, getting 6M points does not require any magical speed to be achieved. My record is a bit over 4M, Marko did it over 5M with a "normal" gameplay with max speed around 120-140. No special stuff, a bit more luck and skill and 6M is there.

I don't know about the bug, let me know if you find out a way to repeat that speed. Theoretically there is no max. limit for speed but achieving speed of 1000 without a bug sounds pretty... interesting.

Bistromatic speed starts at speed 134.

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T. marie. h. April 17, 2009 2:43 AM

I get addicted to these older games quite easy. My science teacher assigned this for extra credit and I got the highest score so far. Then when I finished, I realized that I had no printer for the proof. :(

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Anonymous April 25, 2009 3:37 PM

Help! I've been playing this game for the past month or more between work hours or more like working in between ETRG hours. If anyone knows how to get to that super jump speed, please do let me know

As for the rest of the achievements, there was one I didn't see anyone having

burn baby burn - which happens when you're in the sun halfway for a long time

Cheers! Please contact me asap!!

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Really fun game, but I'm having trouble getting very far. My max vertical distance is only 151 units

Just past Pluto

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The speed glitch has occurred for me a couple times, although I still have no idea how to reproduce it. Fastest I've ever gone is 58,000 units. At first I thought it was a different glitch because I seemed to be traveling along just fine when the game over screen showed up. Only when I checked my top speed did I realize what had happened.

Currently 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 17th, and 23rd on the all time score board :P

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Got the speed bug now too. 14040 in speed. Check out the screenshot =)

http://midron.tk/kreca/escape.png

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Got the speed bug now too, check the picture below. 14040 in speed =)
http://midron.tk/kreca/escape.png

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Brilliant game! Absolutely addictive!
Achievements are not really needed in the game. The next background screen to see is motivation enough. Have been till Sheep in Sling now.

Can't seem to control the little dude beyond Tachyon speed though, although it is a hell of a lot of fun to see him zooming thru the rocks. Having different colours of them as more vertical units are passed is a very good idea.

Also, the zoom idea is very good. It becomes very difficult for gameplay to have the view-angle zoomed in on little dude.

Thanks for the game! Been addicted after quite sometime now!

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What a heck of a game I had! I love Escape The Red Giant and have been addicted to it for quite some time on Mindjolt, via Facebook.

Just now, I had the most incredible jump that gave me acheivements that people here haven't posted!

Here they are

There are asteroid crushes beyond twelve. It's called Zen Crusher.
Also, I didn't see anybody mentioning Blazar Speeed, which is between Light Speed and Rocket Speed.

Though, would let you guys know. But am still not sure how these crazy jumps occcur. I have a theory though - when we reach a particular background, if we gather speed right when we reach the background an the name of it appears as an achievement, there is a spark shower from our skates. Is it related to timing our jump or getting a kaboom bar at that exact moment?

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503886=longest jump
2821=fastest speed

did with the glitch I guess. . .I got it from holding down the left arrow key and hitting three or four consecutive asteroids...i guess

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Aww man, I suck...I couldn't get past MARS.

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There is Tachyon Speed, but i don't know where it starts.

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Got "A sleep of Sun" or something like this - i have Sun close to me something long, then got away from it.

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This is a near complete list of all tricks available in the game (41 so far):


for Speed:
Asteroid Crush
Double Crush
Triple Crush
Quadruple Crush
Galaxy Destroyer
Sextuple Crush
Septuple Crush
Octuple Crush
Nonuple Crush

Sun related
Sun Dive
Sun Surf
Sun Tan
Sunny Beach
Burning Feet
Asleep in the Sun
Burn Baby Burn

Asteroid Crushs
Asteroid Crush
Double Crush
Triple Crush
Quadruple Crush
Galaxy Destroyer
Sextuple Crush
Septuple Crush
Octuple Crush
Nonuple Crush

Landing
Reaction Landing
Nice Landing
Sweet Landing
Perfect Landing

Jumps
Large Jump
Giant Jump
Planet Jump
Galaxy Jump

Distance Traveled
Once in a Blue Moon
Mars w/o Sneakers
The Bradbury House
Rings of Saturn
CHNO-81042
Poor Pluto
Heaven in Heaven
Big Dolphin
Sheep on Sling

other
Kaboom Bar

There might be some more, which I have not performed yet.

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It's the mezmerizing music that does it for me. And of course, the gameplay is just good enough to keep me listening to it. I'll keep coming back to this one. I have the same experience with Bejeweled 2.

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Sun, sun, sun...here we come, come, come!

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