SOHO

Published by ArtDigic.  I played this on android.Seal of Goodness

The Short: Another day, another factory standard studio apartment to escape from.

Recommended if you like low lighting, spotless surfaces, Beethoven

Description: I feel like I have already escaped from this room many, many, times. A couch, a desk, hardwood flooring, and unadorned drywall. It’s not fair to criticize SOHO in particular because I play these games in a somewhat random order. Who’s to say that SOHO wasn’t the first game to devise this ordinary style of adventure? And yet, I’m pretty sure they weren’t.

This game is perfectly fine. The graphics are better than average. The puzzling quality is good. Aside from the fact my deja vu has deja vu, I can’t say this game is bad.

Difficulty: Medium 
Difficulty Elements:  
good cascade |readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves

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Cats in Italy

Published by Garusoft Development.  I played this on android.

Iterations: Cats in Italy, Sweetshop, Hotel the Cat 

The Short: Come si dici “hot mess?”

Recommended if you like nasal saxophones, short animations of cats

Description: I was really looking forward to this game series because I am a cat person and the idea of escaping rooms in a posh Italian setting really suited me. Alas, this game is quite excruciating. Terrible, awkward graphics paired with music from the depths of midi file hell conspire to invoke a bizarro and clownish “Italian” atmosphere.

I only solved a few puzzle arrays before quitting this game so my understanding of the difficulty and style might be lacking. Still, this seemed like a pretty straightforward puzzle series. Decode clocks, re-arrange colored objects, discover keys, and feed the hungry cat at the window sill. If you can stand it all and beat this game then congrats to you and veni vidi vici.

Difficulty: Unknown 
Difficulty Elements:
 cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | — Absurdity | typical solves

Cake Cafe

Published by FUNKYLAND. I played this on android.

The Short: Like no other cafe or bakery I have ever seen. A simple set of puzzles to solve.

Recommended if you like pink, PINK or PINK

Description: Cutesy and simplistic, Cake Cafe is not FUNKYLAND’s best work. (Their best work –in my opinion– can be found here) Still it’s a pretty solid puzzle environment chock full of keys, teacups, and plush wingback chairs. Will you be able to open this cherubic riot in time for the customers?

 

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

Nordic Cottage

Published by FUNKYLAND. I played this on android. Seal of Goodness

The Short: Turns out escape games and hygge are a couple of cozy housemates.

Recommended if you like Danish culture, clashing pattern prints, moose

Description: I was surprised how much I liked this game. At first, I thought it was an overly elaborated game space with too many weird nooks and crannies but the game really justified itself. First off, Nordic Cottage was harder than I expected. Not that this was a particularly challenging game but it had a lot of cascade and I felt I got a solid puzzling experience out of it. FUNKYLAND usually creates more simplistic, awkward-looking games so Nordic Cottage is really a step up for them. RAD, DUDES!

Drown yourself in the Danish decor as you poke around this bombastic cottage full of mismatched rugs, wallpapering, and ceramics. The whole thing feels very homespun, as if Aunt Inga herself knitted the entire interior of the place. And because it’s possible you will never play this game, I felt obligated to share this image of the Finale Key because when it comes to Finale Keys in general it does not get better than this!

nordic finale key

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

Can You Escape?

Published by MobiGrow. I played this on android.

In Short: Gold standard escape game.

Recommended if you like tranquil living rooms, low key music, and being safe in the knowledge that winning is its own reward.

Description: Can You Escape? has the most basic format I know of for escape games: There are multiple rooms to escape from. Each room is different and unrelated from the others. There is no over-arching story but there are plenty of keys, matches, and codes to look for and some relaxing lounge music for your listening pleasure which gives it that vacation vibe. Can You Escape? is a totally decent game.  I like the room designs. They’re all a bit different and there’s definitely some tongue-and-cheek decorating choices. So the question is, can you escape Can You Escape? ? There’s only one way to find out.

Difficulty Level: Easy
Difficulty Elementslow cascade | readily-apparent puzzle arrays | no Absurdity | typical solves

Escape a Parisian Hotel

Published by FUNKYLAND. I played this on android.

The Short: Fun. Cute. Relaxing.

Recommended if you like frilly bedspreads, tremendous armoires, imaginary room service

Description: Escape a Parisian Hotel is a quintessential vacation escape game. You’re in fancy hotel room space and you must escape in order to get to your fancy dinner reservation. I liked this game even though it’s really nothing special. Also, I kinda liked the music.

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

EXITs

Published by EXITs. I played this on android. 

Versions: EXITs 1 and 2

The Short: Classic escape game with an upscale twist.

Recommended if you like Urban Outfitters housewares section, single origin coffee, the word “nifty”

Description: This game is basically perfect. Very challenging puzzles in trendy, minimalist rooms. Acceptable interface. With some levels, I actually really dug the music. On other levels I couldn’t believe they had chosen such obviously terrible music. So I guess, [[shruggie emoji]].

More images from EXITs:

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Difficulty:  Medium
Difficulty Elementsgood cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves