The Short: Gomez, last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again! – Morticia Addams
Recommended if you like guillotines, insane children, the squelch of bodily tissues
Description: Bravo! What an awesome game. Forgotten Hill has conjured a freakish and exhilarating puzzle experience in Memento. This game is packed to the gills with jump scares, horrifying imagery, and laugh-out-loud gruesome jokes. Memento features not one, not two, but five haunted houses for you to prowl through from top to bottom in order to discover the violent pasts of four families beset by tragedy.
The puzzling in Memento is top shelf. It is intricate with each house containing discrete, localized puzzles but also sharing tools and puzzle arrays with the other four houses. There’s a lot of ground to cover but the creators have taken pains to ensure you remain on track, even if you feel quite lost. This game engenders so much trust by being consistent with tools, consistent with messaging and utterly free of buggy weirdness or ill fitting clues.
Aesthetically, Memento sings albeit a song that is rather weird and disturbing. The contraptions are unique and unsettling: marionettes, scales that measure with human hands, and a litany of odd creatures. If you like the sound of this game, I also recommend Cube Escape. Here are some images from Memento for you to admire:
Difficulty: the high end of Medium
Difficulty Elements: fantastic cascade | both readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays |both straightforward & esoteric interfaces | plenty of Absurdity | both typical & unique solves
The Short: Rejoice!Another surreal piece of storytelling is coming your way, courtesy of a very bizarre Dutch studio.
Description: Few can resist the hypnotic pull of Cube Escape, the celebrated art horror series created by publisher Rusty Lake. Both frightening and comical, beautiful and strange, Rusty Lake never shies away from making memorable experiences. Their newest game, Paradise promises to be a superb addition to this awesome collection of escape games. The premise, as quoted from their launch announcement page:
“Rusty Lake Paradise is set on a small remote island in the 18th Century. After your mother passed away the island seems to be cursed with the 10 plagues. It’s your job to go around the island, interact with your family and help them vanquish the plague. The game offers ominous situations and bizarre rituals. Paradise builds upon the distinctive atmosphere and excitement from the Rusty Lake series. For the background graphics we collaborated with a well-known Dutch artist, Johan Scherft.”
The game is expected to be released in Q4 of 2017. So, any day now!
The Short: Need a good skin crawl? Forgotten Hill can help you out. Outstanding series, especially considering that it’s free.
Recommended if you like bugs, circus freaks, noise bands
Creeps galore and fantastic, unique artwork. The soundscape is messed up and haunting as well. Fall lagged a bit behind the other two aesthetically but I think it was the first. Overall this entire series has great puzzles and tons of cascade. Be prepared for jump scares and disgusting imagery. I was genuinely freaked in certain parts. My favorite iteration is probably Surgery. Mostly because I am really into body parts suspended in fluid.
Forgotten Hill also has an interesting mythology that is present throughout all the games but never intrudes on game play. Two monstrous brothers(?) and their weird extended family who seem to be over 100 years old. Fabs. I’m so into it. The best part is it’s all kept wonderfully vague so it’s easy to see the connective tissue but you don’t have to figure anything out to solve the puzzles. My one complaint about Forgotten Hill is that each game begins with a stupid amount of exposition, telling you how you came across these strange institutions in the first place. I just tapped past it all. I don’t need to know why I’m in a dripping insane asylum. I’m just excited to be here!
Difficulty: Medium Difficulty Elements: great cascade | readily apparent puzzles | invisible puzzles | straightforward & esoteric puzzles | unique & typical solves | good Absurdity
Description: Awesome graphics! The first puzzle I had to solve to get inside the haunted house was a good puzzle. However, I decided to stop playing when my dead grandmother(?) called me on my “phone” to tell me that I was going to die.
Difficulty: Didn’t play enough to say Difficulty Elements: Didn’t play enough to say
Published by Rusty Lake. I played this on Android.
Free Iterations: The Mill, Harvey’s Box, Seasons, Arles, Case 23, Theater, Birthday, The Lake, Roots, The Cave $ Iteration:Hotel
The Short: A favorite of mine. Twisted humor, beautiful and unique artwork, worthy mythology. One of the greatest? Or the greatest? I’ll leave that to you.
Recommended if you like Twin Peaks, old postcards, black forest cake
Description: Horror elements and comedic gore. The mythology is interesting and spans all the iterations without being intrusive. Great puzzles with exquisite cascade. The puzzles tend to be quite difficult and also a bit on the absurdist side so I highly recommend starting with some easier escape games before diving into this series. Cube Escape assumes you already have some familiarity with the format of an escape game. As a result, some of these iterations get incredibly sophisticated. In Birthday, for instance, you actually time travel. It’s a brilliant addition onto the regular escape game format.
Extras: The picture below demonstrates the interlocking aspects of the Cube Escape mythology across the different iterations. If you have never played, skip this. It will not help you during a game. It’s just nerd fun. The other pictures are screenshots to show off the artwork.