Concrete Room II

Published by ManiManiWorks.  I played this on android.

The Short: A lesser game.

Recommended if you like large geometric objects, graininess

Description: Theoretically, this game could rise to the occasion of being described as “fine” or “okay.” And yet, it does not deliver. The room itself is meant to be some kind of art exhibit with large geometric objects, curious installation pieces, and a few paintings. The puzzle arrays are embedded within the art and cross-communicate among themselves.

This game had a few tricky clues but overall the graphics were quite bad. At some point a clue was not translated into English, rendering the rest of the game impossible without a walkthrough. I found neither the energy nor the desire to bother with a walkthrough. I have played many dull, bad escape games but usually those are rendered with a little more artistic care.

Difficulty: Medium 
Difficulty Elements:
ok cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | both straightforward and esoteric interfaces | no Absurdity | both typical and unique solves

Igloo Escape

Published by Ablues.  I played this on android.

The Short: A dinky game with a strong concept.

Recommended if you like igloos, penguins, polar bears

Description: Welp. This was better than Escape from the ballet classrooms. Still, Ablues is not shaping up to be my favorite publisher. This game is a bit rickety in its logic. I tend to discredit games when the puzzling is more focused on finding objects which are lost in a heap of other objects. A better quality game will efficiently present you with several key instruments and let you work out what the puzzle calls for. Igloo spoon feeds the player with lots of hints and glaringly obvious puzzle arrays.

Igloo Escape is an easy game so at least you won’t be stuck inside of its mixed-up aesthetic for long. Plushie animals, a sled, and a pile of grocery store items will keep you company as you scoot around in the snow. I won’t go so far as to call this game bad but I don’t recommend it either.

Difficulty: Easy
Difficulty Elements: 
little cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | both unique & typical solves

My Favorite Getaway

Published by STUDIO WAKABA. I played this on android.

The Short: Short, worthwhile game set in a loft apartment. My only question is who has a bulletin board that big just to pin up photographs of birds?

Recommended if you like bulletin boards, robot miniatures, the view from 40 stories

Description: Tidy apartment? Check. Flat screen TV? Check. How about a screened off kitchen area? Check. Well then, it’s official. This is an escape game.

It’s funny to me how standardized home decor can be in the world of escape games.  In my real life, I have lived in several apartments and I can say first hand that floor plans in the real world can actually be quite varied. Not so, apparently, in the mid-ranged plains of Design Netherworld. An apartment isn’t an apartment unless it is a loft with wood paneling, low IKEA couches, a flat screen TV, and white plaster walls. It’s not unpleasant or anything but it starts to feel like I just keep escaping from unit to unit all in the same apartment complex. Could this be an unforeseen spiritual byproduct of the exploding gap between the wealthy and the service class? Cheap building methods and the dearth of humanitarian architecture spilling over into the head spaces of game designing professionals who no doubt live the reality of trying to signal wealth without actually having any?

Anyway, My Favorite Getaway is a pretty good game. I had fun solving these puzzles and I think you will too.

Difficulty: Easy 
Difficulty Elements:
ok cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves

Monster LaboEscape

Published by mipp.  I played this on android.

The Short: A little rough around the edges but charming overall.

Recommended if you like sterile work environments, Monsters Inc.

Description: Mipp seems to be a good company. I really enjoy most of their game offerings even though LaboEscape is a little on the dopey side. Fade in on a sterile laboratory where you, presumably, have just come out of stasis. Scare up some standard tools like screw drivers, jump drives and employee directories to facilitate your escape from your unseen captors. The high note of this game is the adorable “scare” about half way through. Monsters get loose in the lab. They’re hella cute.

Puzzling quality is pretty average or maybe even slightly below average in this game. There’s very little cascade and most of the objects you retrieve will strongly indicate what you need to do to solve puzzles. There’s very little left to mystery in this jumpy, boxy game and, in terms of aesthetics, Design Netherworld just about covers it. You could definitely do worse than Monster LaboEscape but, for your sake, I hope you want to do better.

Difficulty: Easy
Difficulty Elements
low cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves

Can you Escape the 100 room I

Published by FunnyTimeDay. I played this on android.

The Short: Quite awful.

Recommended if you like blue haired maidens, shadowy cellars, air vents

Description: I don’t even want to review this game. It’s essentially a Doors Galore but with a few extra steps. Bad, undifferentiated graphics with low cascade puzzles make Can you Escape the 100 room a chore to complete. Belched straight out of Design Netherworld, this game seeks to combine some kind of medieval aesthetic with a  regular old Ohio basement. Tragic.

As long as we’re on the subject though, let me tell you about a certain bee in my bonnet. I have become quite hardened to the entire aesthetic world of medieval-esque creations. Just the sight of jerkins, wizards, or gilded chests tends to put me in a bad mood. Are there no other periods of human history worthy of recreating? Do people understand the nuanced differences between the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, High Middle Ages and Renaissance? They’re all completely distinct and, what’s more, wholly different depending on what country you’re in. I mean for god’s sake, read a book! Jesus.

Difficulty: Easy 
Difficulty Elements
low cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves