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Trigger Warning
This game heavily addresses the theme of domestic violence. If you are uncomfortable with such subject matter, please avoid this game.
If anybody finds issue with my portrayal of the themes in this game, I am more than happy to consider incorporating your feedback (although the game is quite old now, so bear with me).

The game
Esc is a puzzle platform game, created for Ludum Dare 29, Beneath the Surface designed with the intention of increasing awareness of domestic violence. You play as a married woman, exploring a cave with her husband, during the "honeymoon" phase of the cycle of abuse.

I interpreted the theme "Beneath the Surface" as being about domestic abuse. The pain of an abusive relationship is highly physical, yet the greatest of pains is the psychological damage inflicted by being repeatedly hurt by the one you love so much, having your self esteem torn down again and again. Abusive relationships can be very difficult to spot for outsiders, seeming normal on the surface, yet beneath is an entire world of horrors, horrors which nobody deserves to have inflicted upon themselves.

Controls are told in-game, but if you want to read it anyway:

  • WASD or arrow keys move
  • Up to jump
  • Down to tell your partner to stay where he is. Stand near him and press Down again to make him resume following you.
  • R restarts the current level
Known issues

  • There are some issues regarding moving the character becoming stuck inside platforms.
  • Rocks sometimes struggle to fall down rock sized holes.
  • There is an exploit which allows you to skip certain levels. You probably won't do it accidentally.

Final words
I would like to give a special word of thanks to those friends of mine who inspired me to make this, and helped educate me on the subject matter.

The following links were recommended to me for further reading. If you feel like you are in an abusive relationship, or know somebody who is, there exist many resources online which you may consult for guidance (disclaimer, this list was curated in 2014, and may be out of date).


Thank you for your time.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars
(1 total ratings)
AuthorHannah Rose
TagsDark, Female Protagonist, flash, Ludum Dare 29, Pixel Art, Puzzle-Platformer
LinksLudum Dare


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Really cool game.
Shows exactly the problem with domestic abuse! :-)