Escape To Plastic Beach (partially found iOS and PC game based on Gorillaz album; 2010)
Escape To Plastic Beach (not to be confused with the Plastic Beach Web Game) was a multi-chapter 2D and 3D action/adventure game based on the virtual band Gorillaz set on the events of the band's third phase and studio album. It was developed by Macclesfield-based creative digital studio Matmi and the now-defunct Zombie Flesh Eaters, Gorillaz' in-house design studio from their first three phases, with the goal to promote Plastic Beach, the band's latest studio album at the time.
This game as a whole consisted of three chapters, each with a unique gameplay style. The first two parts (Chapters 1 & 2) were released simultaneously as free-to-play online games in late February of 2010 on Gorillaz.com for free.
A demo for Chapter 3 was launched on the website in March of 2010; and in that same month, the game was officially launched on the website, and unlike the first two chapters, this game had a cost of $1.49 euros. It included an MP3 of the sixth track and second single from the album, Superfast Jellyfish, featuring De La Soul and Gruff Rhys. Fans could also save their personal high scores in the members area on the Gorillaz website. The iOS version launched in July of the same year at the price $0.99 dollars, only consisting of Chapter 3 and not including the download for the single. The full PC browser game could also be played for free by validating the code from the Access Card that came with copies of the Experience Edition of the album Plastic Beach, which were only valid until March 2012 (as stated in the card itself).
The game consisted of three chapters with different themes each one: the first was racing/persecution-themed, situated on the music video of their song, Stylo. The second was water-themed, probably situated on the music video of their song On Melancholy Hill, and the third was flight-themed, where you control Gorillaz's fictional bassist, Murdoc "Faust" Niccals, as he glides around their then recording studio and headquarters, the Plastic Beach island, to stop the fictional vocalist 2-D from escaping the island.
The game was critically acclaimed by fans of the band and even received a BT Music Digital Award for "Best Artist Promotion", but it was not rated as positively by critics, however, receiving a 4.5 score from IGN.
Press Release Description
"Hey! This is fan-tastic. Some top-notch gonk gaming company have made a Gorillaz game (gorillaz.com) that you can play for free online. It's all based on Plastic Beach, and it features me, 2D and my Cyborg Noodle! What's even better is that if you pay the £1.50 for the last part, you get our new single 'Superfast Jellyfish', and that's got 'Super Furry' Gruff and the De La Soul boys on it! El Camiños, Boogiemen, ghostly pirate ships, underwater chases, mines, fat cops and gun battles all wrapped up in some snazzy new gaming technology and a great new Gorillaz track too... I mean, what more could you want? Come n' play with me and Gorillaz on Plastic Beach and see how far that gets you..." - Murdoc Niccals.
Chapter 3 Web Description
Chapter 3 of our fantastic game "Escape To Plastic Beach" is now available to play on the iPhone, iPad, & iPod Touch and is ready to download from Apple's App Store NOW! Experience Plastic Beach as never before. Guide Murdoc around the Island; dive through thermals, dodge pirate galleons, floating mines and more while trying to stop 2D from escaping. Eight increasingly difficult, addictive levels will leave you screaming for more!
Sadly, due to EMI falling for bankruptcy and, subsequently, the phase ending, in 2014, the web version of the game, along with Chapters 1 & 2 were shut down from the website and, with the band's return in 2016 with their fifth studio album Humanz coming out the following year, the whole site got redesigned and the Plastic Beach essence and minigames were entirely removed, reducing even more the chances for fans to restore the game.
Due to issues with the compatibility on newer iPhone and iPad devices, the iOS version of the game is also currently unplayable on modern devices and not up for download through official means.
Fans have dreamt of playing the game again or for the first time. Over the years, the IPA for the IOS game (consisting of only chapter 3) had been circulating amongst fan communities of the band, but was not made publically available until the 16th of April 2021, when user NagyAttilaORG from the Momentum-Dev forums shared the IPA for the 1.1 version of the game following a request from user Oscar Sorela. In the 24th of November 2023, LMW user Freedom posted an archive of the same IPA to the Internet Archive..
In October 2022, Twitter account Gorillaz Flash Archive came across a broken SFW of chapters 1 and 2 within the Wayback Machine, and while it was not playable past the title screen, many of its assets were successfully extracted and preserved for those wishing to see them.
On July 14th, 2023, Twitter user Piggie responded to a tweet from the official Matmi account asking to bring back the game. Matmi responded by saying they would love to, but that they did not have the rights to do it. Thanks to this, the fans decided to make a movement to help restore the game called #returntoplasticbeach, a hashtag created by Twitter user @obsess_possess_. Thanks to the movement, Matmi released a bunch of screenshots of the game on July 14 and July 19 on their official Twitter account. However, after that day, no new info on the situation was shared.
In November 2023, Reddit user LOQAL was able to download the Unity file for the web demo of Chapter 3 from the Gorillaz.com website through the Wayback Machine, bringing the game closer to being entirely found.
|Chapter 1 (Web Game)
|Some assets are recovered but game is unplayable past the title screen.
|Chapter 2 (Web Game)
|Chapter 3 (Web Demo)
|Chapter 3 (Web Game)
|Shares assets with the iOS version but runs on a different platform; has not yet been recovered.
|Chapter 3 (iOS Game)
- 5/4 (found unfinished Gorillaz music video; 2002)
- Celebrity Harvest (lost production material of unfinished animated Gorillaz film; early 2000s)
- Gorillaz: Escape to Plastic Beach - IGN Review
- Escape To Plastic Beach press release / final details - Gorillaz-Unofficial LiveJournal
- G-Player - Games - Escape to Plastic Beach Chapter 3
- Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach for iPad (HD version)
- Assests from @GorillazFlash on Twitter/X