Escape from Puppy Death Factory


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Rating: 4.5/5 (97 votes)
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TrickyEscape from Puppy Death FactoryTwenty years after nuclear confrontation wiped out the planet known as Earth, Cosmonaut Laika receives a distress bark from the ruined surface. Armed with your trusty swap-gun, a rainbow shooting device that lets you switch places with pieces of the world around you, you land upon the planet to locate your companions. Every dog has its day, and today is the day you must... Escape from Puppy Death Factory! Brought to you by Arthur Lee and the fine people at Adult Swim. In theaters On your computer screen this summer.

Escape from Puppy Death Factory is a retro puzzle platformer based around exploration and the mechanic of the swapping gun. You move and jump around the landscape with the [arrow] keys, and fire your gun with [Z], [X], or the [spacebar]. Firing the gun shoots a laser which, upon contact with moveable item, switches it with your position when it hits; note emphasis... some puzzles very much rely on shooting then moving to the right place before it hits. Different elements are introduced over time, including reflecting mirrors, platforms that require a battery adjacent to them to function, android cats to avoid, and other pitfalls. There are 35 puppies to collect, and while you can leave the planet at any time... you know you're not going to get the BEST ending if you do that, right?

Analysis: Escape from Puppy Death Factory is a game that got me thinking about the term Metroidvania, and how, for me, it seems to be a designation applied from a certain "feeling" about a game, rather than an indicator of specific qualities. Escape from Puppy Death Factory lacks elements we usually find in such games: it has a fairly linear outline, no areas blocked off, and no power-ups to collect. Most striking is how few enemies there are to encounter and, when you do, how deviously you must use your "switcher" weapon to avoid a confrontation with them. Certainly we've seen quite a few Metroidvania platformers with puzzle elements, but its rare that I would characterize something as a puzzle game with Metroidvania platform elements. Still, with all its dissimilarities, Escape from Puppy Death Factory feels like it should be part of the genre, and I had to think about why that is.

Escape From Puppy Death FactoryI guess it comes down to setting. Escape from Puppy Death Factory is located on a beautifully eerie alien world. I loved charting every nook and cranny while I found each of my puppy companions. Indeed, the collecting seemed almost secondary to moving from screen to screen to gawp at more scenery. Exploration is, of course, standard for Metroidvanias, but it takes something more than that. It's hard to put into words, but perhaps I'm arguing that a Metroidvania is any platform game in which the setting is the most important character. The game could have easily been set up as a series of single-screen puzzle levels. Instead, a gorgeous world has been designed to justify the journey from captive dog to captive dog. I don't mind a little filler, as long as it looks as pretty as it does here.

This is not to suggest Escape from Puppy Death Factory is all surface and no substance. Escape from Puppy Death Factory has the other hallmark of the Metroidvania genre: killer difficulty. This game has devious, even harsh, puzzles that will push your platforming skills to the limit, but they never feel unfair. Just know going in that you'll probably have to send at least a hundred Laikas into the laser grid before you time your jumps exactly right... and have absolute blast doing so.

The main strike against Escape from Puppy Death Factory is conceptual. The game seems confused as to what it wants to be, making for a tone that is indecisive at best. It can't seem to decide whether its an ultra-cute platformer or a parody of ultra-cute platformers. Likewise, there are some elements that clearly reference Metroid and pop culture, but they don't really go anywhere. It's all set-up and no punchline. (The final boss is especially nonsensical in this regard). This confusion extends to the very title of the game; a title which promises a much darker comedy than you actually get. It just feels a little non-organic, as if the developers tried at the last minute to add some edginess to better fit in with its Adult Swim brethren.

Unevenness aside, I definitely recommend Escape from Puppy Death Factory. It's adorable, it's large, it's challenging, and there are robot kitties. What else do you need?

Play Escape from Puppy Death Factory

23 Comments

repairmanman Author Profile Page July 29, 2011 11:54 AM

Aww man, I just submitted this.

I'm stuck as to how to cross those large gaps, any help?

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 29, 2011 3:45 PM

...Wow. I just beat this game 100%, and... I won't spoil the ending, but I'm not sure whether it's a good ending or a bad one.

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Spaceloaf July 29, 2011 4:33 PM

I don't think you're giving the game enough credit on the "Metroidvania" aspect.

The brilliance of the game is that you start off with all the abilities you will ever have, but only by going through the game do you really learn how versatile those powers are.

So the game still ends up having a Metroidvania-style progression. But instead of your character getting stronger, it's your own brain getting smarter.

The last handful of dogs in the upper-left portion of the map has a sign that warns you that you may want to hold off until you have more experience. It's completely possible to get those dogs right from the beginning, but unless you're really perceptive you'd probably have a hell of a time without going through the rest of the game first.

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arcticwolf15 July 29, 2011 6:03 PM

Metroid and puppies? My two favorite things! Playing now!

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Really good game, nice puzzles that got me stumped for a bit, took me approx 2 hours for 100%. Wonder what the bad ending is though!

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This game is not a metroidvania at all. That tag is misleading.

It riffs heavily on the opening of Super Metroid, but there is no increase in the player's level of power (As Spaceloaf pointed out). It's an exploration puzzler, but it does not belong in the Metroidvania genre. Your ability to access new areas is limited only by your ability to solve the puzzles blocking your path in that direction.

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ReverendTed Author Profile Page July 29, 2011 11:22 PM

After beating it 100%, I'm wondering...

...was it possible to jump over #32 without rescuing it?

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@ReverendTed
It is possible, though I've no idea how it will affect the ending (because I ven't tried it yet)

@Soniclover
Ending:

The dogs seemed fine, except having a ship got stolen,

Also K10 seemed to hint a sequal, (something about the cat?)

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I'm very much with Spaceloaf here.

This has the depth and longevity of the the Kitty Wants... series but the lovely discovery is exactly as Spaceloaf says in the versatility of your weapon.

I am looking forward to a serious submersion in this.

One other note is how astounding is this that people like Arthur Lee create such large and enjoyable games for our consumption for free? (Rhetorical. It is very astounding.)

Thank you Arthur and and thank you Adult Swim!

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Anonymous July 30, 2011 4:32 PM

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect of the ending from Sonic's warning, but not that kind of

pun-ishment. Oh the horror.

That aside, it was a very nice and cute game. I ended up doing the hardmode from the beginning, wasn't too bad actually. Lots of the puzzles were challenging, but not impossibly precise jumping ones or hidden passages which was nice. Just had to think a bit. Not in the mood to replay it to see what the other endings though. I'm guessing there's at least 3 endings, one empty, one halfway, and one at 100%. Maybe one for all but last one/boss?

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Has anyone figured out how to get into the room 6 from the right in the top row? I've gotten all the puppies and one cat and beaten the guy, but I can't get up there.

I tried coming from below, but that path is blocked. I tried coming from the left, but I can't jump quite high enough. I tried coming at it from the right, but there's noting there.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 31, 2011 11:43 AM

Bill, you got all the puppies without getting there... maybe you just aren't supposed to get there.

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Bill, it would seem it's just a thoroughfare to the next empty room, no need to go there.

Delightful little game, but I am stuck on room 13-10, (counting left to right, top to bottom). I got in fine, nabbed the dog, went up, got another one and saved. Now I can't for the life of me get back out. Any words of advice?

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I just completed the game for the second time.

With #32,

I got all the puppies, including #32. Earth explodes, and the dogs find a perfect world with trees to be marked, dirt to be dug, and flying, disc-shaped lifeforms that could be fetched.

#32 then steals the spaceship, and K-9 becomes K-10.

Without #32,

the puppies escape the planet, and the kitten watches them go. Very quietly, another distress signal begins to emanate from the planet.

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I want to save the puppies so bad. I will not leave this place until I've done so. Even if it takes me weeks! Does not save to continue, by the way. THAT is what takes so long.........

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Anybody got hints on how to get through the Parking Lot?

As for the first two dogs you see

The scene with the dogs on the conveyor belt you simply need to run through. You got more than enough time to get past the screen before they're smashed. Every time you re-enter the screen, their positions are reset.

And as for the next room

You have to beam through the glass mirror to swap with the laser turret pointed at you, jump up, swap out the bomb a few times to get on the left while it's NOT where it first was, and then go about removing the barrel from the mover's path.

I think I know what to do after that but it seems so incredibly difficult and I always run out of time before I finish it.

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Anonymous August 19, 2011 6:12 AM

@juju its hard to do but you have to go down to the level and then stand on the glass mirror right next to the beam and make sure not to get hit by it and teleport the barrel on the bottom and if it lands in the way of the laser then quickly hop over and youre homefree. it took me a few tries but it can be done if you position your self right

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I'm in room 3-7 and I have no idea how to get out. I got the puppy, but I have no idea how to get to another area. I've tried 4-7 but I don't know how to get out. I didn't come from 2-7. I came from 4-7.

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Very pleasing little platform puzzler. It is somewhere on the border of the Metroidvania genre, because it does have things like nonlinear exploration, backtracking, places that seem too hard that you leave for now and come back to; but it doesn't have any powerups to gather.

I completely agree with spaceloaf when s/he said "So the game still ends up having a Metroidvania-style progression. But instead of your character getting stronger, it's your own brain getting smarter." That was very much my experience. You've just got one power, but it's so versatile and deep that there's a whole game's worth of play in it.

I had to check the walkthrough in precisely one place: the far-left of the Sewers. It looks like it's quite a popular spot for people to get stuck, because two of the first three walkthrough videos have that scene screenshotted!

I enjoyed this a lot. I did very much enjoy the pun at the end :)

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Undeniable August 31, 2011 12:31 PM

I am having trouble with the puppy in map 2-8! I don't understand how to get down there.

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cooldude901 Author Profile Page September 3, 2011 4:16 AM

i cant get puppy number 13#

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Where is the general's chambers? they're impossible to find, I have 31 puppies.

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I was stuck after rescuing puppy no.2 and had to stop playing. Shame cos it looks like a good game but even the extensive walkthru solutions aren't labelled precisely enough to help.

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