Aesthetic, Bad, Challenging, Genre, paranoid, realistic, Special Qualities, straightforward


Published by hozdesign. I played this on android.

The Short: More RED flags, courtesy of hozdesign

Recommended if you like dark alleyways, tomatoes

Description: Let’s begin with what is good about this game. Aesthetically, RED is cool. A nighttime puzzle complete with eerie lighting and harmonious cricket noises. RED follows a typical escape game trope of presenting a weird and spooky vibe while never actually delivering any horror elements. It’s like a zen garden of creepy, after-dark hangouts. I like it.

What I didn’t like about RED is the extreme difficulty.  I was very suspicious of this game because I had a really terrible experience playing ESC which is another game by hozdesign. RED turned out to be eminently more solvable but still, the finale puzzle of this game was beyond hard. It was actually just straight up sadistic. Even after a concerted effort to solve it (and I really thought I was on the right track), I finally succumbed to watching a walk through. I had to read and re-read this solution three times to make sure I grasped what it was telling me. Hozdesign really fails at creating puzzles that have one, understandable solution that truly contains a “eureka” moment regardless if you solve it or have it shown to you. Instead, they tend to offer up puzzles so complex and multi-faceted that it’s fairly impossible to know you’re on the right track even when you’re halfway through.

Games are no fun when the creators don’t play fair. Sorry, RED but I’m just not a fan.

Difficulty Level: Beyond Hard
Difficulty Elements: esoteric puzzle arrays | cascade

Aesthetic, Challenging, funny, Genre, paranoid, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

Escape from Escape Room

Published by noprops. I played this on android.

The Short: Absolutely bonkers.

Recommended if you like mental gymnastics, Don Hertzfeldt, niche humor about escape games

Description: This is a great game if you are really into escape games. It’s almost like The Stanley Parable’s genius kid sister. Very challenging and the puzzle solutions are definitely high on the “absurdist” spectrum. I could not have solved this without hints and a walk through but I definitely enjoyed myself. You begin in what appears to be a normal room. And then, everything changes. Technically, I must situate this game into Design Netherworld but Escape from Escape Room is such a parody of the genre that the generic aesthetic is almost certainly on purpose.

Worth mentioning: Escape from Escape Room is a short form game. It won’t go on forever.

Difficulty: Hard
Difficulty Elements: high Absurdity | invisible puzzle arrays | esoteric puzzle arrays | cascade

Aesthetic, beautiful, Challenging, Genre, horror, paranoid, realistic, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

Dead Secret ($)

Published by Robot Invader. I played this on Microsoft Windows. (Available on Steam)

The Short: Absolutely terrifying. $15

Recommended if you like Japanese-horror levels of fear, jump scares, crying yourself to sleep

This game is really great. The mythology is what brings it to life. The case you’re investigating is interesting enough and the puzzles really fit the tone of the story. Also, the game is set in the 1960s which gives it a little extra pizzazz. But what’s really cool about this game is the underlying supernatural powers at play. After you get acquainted with the world you are quickly introduced to a really fantastic and fresh story that involves an alternate dimension and at least one bloodthirsty spirit creature.

My boyfriend insisted we play this game at night in the dark which was a shitty idea because as soon as we encountered the first big game play hurdle (which coincides, of course, with the biggest scare of the first 30 minutes) I was too freaked out to continue playing. Please Note: I’m not talking about the mirror thing. I’m not a wuss.

DISCLAIMERS: Dead Secret isn’t really an escape game though it has many things in common with one. Also In researching for this post, I was confused that this game costs $15 since I normally spend zero dollars on games. That said, this game is 100% worth $15. Maybe I will try to play it again since I already spent the cash. This time though, in the bright light of day.

More images below:

Continue reading “Dead Secret ($)”

Aesthetic, Genre, paranoid, realistic, straightforward, vacation

Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story

Published by Glitch Games. I played this on an iPad.

The Short: This game was good but felt like Part I of a bigger game.

Recommended if you like fireplaces, refurbished cabins, diagnosing other people’s problems.

Description: Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story is highly narrative with decent puzzles. The atmospheric design is very creepy though I expected a jump scare or some kind of revelatory development the entire time. None materialized. The space you explore is very cool, more fully realized than most room escapes. As a result, I felt disappointed when I won this game. I wanted to stick around longer and discover more about Alice. I would play another game by this company but I wouldn’t recommend this one. It was like a trailer somehow.

Aesthetic, beautiful, funny, Genre, paranoid, realistic, science fiction, Seal of Goodness, straightforward

The Stanley Parable ($)

Published by Galactic Cafe. I played this on Microsoft Windows.

The Short: Probably the most sophisticated and intellectual escape game ever created. Do not play to win. Do watch the hilarious trailer. Costs 15.00 USD.

Recommended if you like fatalism, Ingmar Bergman, bucking authority

The Stanley Parable is a meta-game creation that deconstructs the very notion of an escape game. Actually, I think the creator’s intention was to deconstruct the very notion of all games, escape themed or otherwise. Arguably, The Stanley Parable calls into question the notion of choice itself in every context, especially as it relates to your flesh and blood life. Rife with British snark and mind bending consequences to your avatar’s actions, The Stanley Parable will either make you laugh out loud or scar you for life. It just depends on your personality.

There are no puzzles but there is an escape. Enjoy.

Contributing writer and co-player of this game: Chris S.