Escape From Pleasure Planet is a glorious return to the hilarious and obscure adventure games of old, this time with stunning layers of gay culture. As Captain Tycho your mission is to traverse the galaxy in search of handsome-yet-dangerous criminals.
Today’s dangerous mission: to arrest the dastardly criminal Maximillius Brutus. This rainbow warrior is going down or your name isn’t Captain Tycho Minogue.
Tracking Brutus to the famed pleasure planet, Arcadia, it’s up to our fearless Captain to scour this tourist hot-spot and bring the handsome terrorist to justice!
After beaming down to the crash zone of Brutus’ ship with nothing but your trusty Bi-Corder (it’s 33% slimmer than a Tri-Corder) in hand we are brought to the kind of scene that makes adventure gaming eternal; an obstinate space craft leaning precariously off a cliff, a heap of discarded tighty-whities, and some kind of egg.
It’s going to take some lateral thinking, smooth talking and just a little bit of cruelty to interrogate Brutus’ location out of the ship.
Making your way into Arcadia’s primary tourist hotspot, a virtual reality complex where your every dream and fantasy is possible you’ll have to deal with all sorts of characters to get back on Brutus’ trail. You aren’t getting out of here without making that arrest.
Escape From Pleasure Planet is as much a game about choice, consequence and queer culture as it is about adventuring through space. The characters you meet will often be the harmful sort often encountered in the real world, but they may also be wonderful and open. Challenging bigotry as much your mission as making the arrest. Thankfully you’re in the position to make those hateful people pay for their toxicity.
But what would classic adventuring be without failure states? Better consider your moves carefully. Make the wrong choice and you could end up in prison yourself, or worse.
Escape From Pleasure Planet is a fantastic mix of classic adventure gaming style and queer culture. The characters and settings are colourful and funny, the puzzles often amusingly obscure, the art and music perfect for such a weird and wonderful.
Escape From Pleasure Planet by Up Multimedia is available on Steam
Luke Miller from Up Multimedia answered some questions about their wonderful game.
Jamie: Escape From Pleasure Planet is one heck of a deviation from the norm, in a great way. What started your desire to make a queer point-and-click adventure?
Luke: Thanks! I tried to push it to 11 out of 10. I love scifi and I love gay men. Growing up I wish this game had existed so I had to make it so I could play it. I thought it would be fun to mashup gay hedonism and repression with the classic scifi concept of a pleasure planet.
Jamie: Are there any particular elements you really wanted to include in EFPP? Aspects of queer culture or attitudes you wanted to represent?
Luke: I wanted an adventure where the heroics were tied to being gay, so the heroic thing in the game is to help someone come out, to help two gay boys get together, that kind of thing. Instead of just gay visuals I really thought a lot about gay gameplay to give it some depth. I also think the LGBTQIA+ community is going through an amazing period of change this decade and I wanted to capture that lovely interplay between the mainstream and the radical (represented in the game by Tycho and Brutus). There’s tension there but also irresistible attraction.
Jamie: What do you think we need more of in gaming that would help the LGBTQIA+ community?
Luke: We need more games that say gay men are beautiful, that put gay men at the heart of the world building, and that allow anyone of any persuasion to experience it. That means more gay men as protagonists. A lot of games have a player-sexual lead character and optional queer side content but I consider that super bland, a form of ghetto-isation and a new invisibility for LGBTQIA+ folk.
Jamie: What’s next on the drawing board? Another adventure game or do you have a project you’re super excited to work on next?
Luke: Being able to make another game is an immense privilege that I never take for granted. I could start on another Tycho game tomorrow if enough people buy Pleasure Planet. I know exactly the game I would make and it would incorporate all the stuff I’ve learned. I really love the characters. At the moment, with the support of Film Victoria, I’m working on a gay detective game called “The Beat: A Glam Noir Game”. I’m trying to do something completely different with it, kind of guerrilla game-making, all dark and psychosexual and difficult and stripped back. We’ve been scanning real gay locations and using motion capture on real dancers. I’m using a retro programming technique from the 1970s called declarative logic for the killer that means the narrative rebalances around you as you play. It should be out on Steam Early Access in late June in a super rough form.