Aesthetic, cartoonish, cascade, cute, Genre, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities, straightforward

Matryoshka

Published by Kotorinosu. I played this on android

The Short: Fantastic game. Do I detect a bit of humor at my expense?

Recommended if you like tranquil blues and Russian nesting dolls

Description: It has been a little while since I actually played this game but I wanted to get this post out of my draft queue so I’m going to do this purely from memory.

This game is medium hard. Kotorinsosu really succeeds at making games with good cascade.  Matryoshaka is no exception. Puzzle areas and tools tend to get re-used which expands the potentials in the game and makes gameplay a more dynamic experience.

Something else I really like about Matryoshka is the vague sense of cheekiness about how all of the different puzzles work together. I credit this as a design success. So much of what’s enjoyable about an escape game is learning the “rules” of the tiny space you’re invading. Really good creators know how to include a certain self-contained attitude or tone within the gamescape such that when you successfully solve something you can also roll your eyes a little, as if a good friend has done something that is just “so them.”

Difficulty Level: Medium
Difficulty Elements: cascade| esoteric puzzle arrays

Aesthetic, cartoonish, cascade, fantasy, Genre, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities, straightforward

Sphinx

Published by Kotorinosu. I played this on android.

The Short: Who doesn’t love a good old puzzle-jaunt through an ancient pyramid? 

Recommended if you like Ancient Egypt, the sound of your own footsteps

Description: Sphinx rocks! Really nice design aesthetic with both visuals and sound. I also really dug the Items design. The aesthetic here reminds me of a lot of flash animation. Well textured and cartoon-y, Sphinx contains hidden chambers, bizarre contraptions and plenty of golden statues to stare at you as you proceed through the game. Items are non-static even in your inventory and you can combine/deconstruct items to create new implements. Item crafting is always a really awesome aspect to an escape game because it expands the potential solutions at your disposal and makes the game more dynamic overall. Sphinx also “opens up” as the game proceeds and I would argue that this game actually increases in difficulty through the levels.

Difficulty Level: Medium
Difficulty Elements: esoteric puzzle arrays | cascade | item construction/deconstruction

 

Aesthetic, cascade, Challenging, Genre, minimalist, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities, straightforward

Escape Game – Cubes

Published by Brazen Cat. I played this on android.

The Short: Fun and hard and rainbows!!

Recommended if you like Rubik’s cubes, spatial reasoning, Bauhaus

Description: This game was hard! I loved it though. Escape Game – Cubes is an anonymous white room with rainbow cubes that create a very abstract and brainy puzzle experience. There’s no sense of story to this game but makes up for it in spades with the super cool design and fantastic puzzle cascade.

One of my favorite things in an escape game is when you unlock a new area of the puzzle and get to explore a new space/puzzle array. Escape Room – Cubes provides a fun little revelation about half-way through and it was a genuine small delight. I wouldn’t recommend this game for a beginner just because the puzzles are quite hard but it’s a fairly straight forward game universe as opposed to something zany-balls like Escape from Escape Room  so if you’re green but feeling plucky, give it a spin.

Difficulty Level: Hard
Difficulty Elements: esoteric puzzle arrays | invisible puzzle arrays | good cascade | some Absurdity

Aesthetic, beautiful, cascade, Challenging, fantastical, fantasy, Genre, many many, realistic, science fiction, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

The Room (Multiple Iterations) ($)

Published by Fireproof Studios. I played on both android and Microsoft Windows.

($) Iterations: One, Two and Three

 

The Short: My fucking favorite.
Recommended if you like pocket watches, Gothic literature, pivoting around a fixed axis
Description:  The Room is challenging, beautiful, memorable, and fun. The interface alone is enough to fangirl over. Really smooth game play, streamlined tutorial process, and an intuitive goal: open the box! I recommend  playing these games in chronological order. Also, strongly recommend playing this with a device that offers touchscreen.
These puzzles are hard! Despite the difficulty, I never felt cheated by this game. Every solution was a eureka! moment and never a let down. The mythology is kind of kooky but the overall vibe created by both the visuals and the music was truly unique if not enchanting. The theme music reminded me of the Harry Potter franchise which I think is pretty cool even though I’m not really into Harry Potter stuff. A little bit creepy, a whole lot of antiques, discover the power of ‘the null’ for yourself.

Difficulty Level: Hard
Difficulty Elements:  lots of cascade| invisible puzzle arrays | esoteric puzzle arrays | some Absurdity

I preferred The Room One and Three over Two but I have been debated on this point by others. More photos of the incredible design below:

Continue reading “The Room (Multiple Iterations) ($)”

Aesthetic, beautiful, cascade, Challenging, fantastical, fantasy, Genre, many many, realistic, science fiction, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

Myst (Multiple Iterations) ($)

Published by Cyan/Broderbund. I played this on Microsoft Windows.

$ Iterations: Myst, Riven, Myst III: Exile, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst V: End of Ages

The Short: Before there was Lost we had Myst. The irony is, the fans of each rarely overlap.

Recommended if you like mysterious islands, time travel, math

Description:
If you’re into escape games, or video games at all, it’s hard to imagine you’ve never heard of Myst. As a result, this review is merely a formality. I’m not here to describe Myst. I’m just here to tell you how I feel about it.

Continue reading “Myst (Multiple Iterations) ($)”

Aesthetic, cartoonish, cascade, cute, funny, Genre, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

Doodle Cat

The Short: Play with a funny cat and craft more and more items for the cat to play with.

Recommended if you like cats, New Yorker cartoons, tamagotchis

Description: 
Doodle Cat is not an escape game. I decided to include it here though because this game made a big impression on me. It’s very clever and the minimalist design is a lot of fun. If you like escape games, you would probably like Doodle Cat as well. It is low key and it has incredible cascade. In fact, the whole game is basically just cascade, cascade, cascade in the form of item crafting. You begin with a few elements and must combine them to create a vast trove of treasures for your cat.

 

Aesthetic, beautiful, cartoonish, cascade, Challenging, fantastical, Genre, gross, horror, science fiction, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities

Forgotten Hill

Published by FM-Studio. I played this on android.

Iterations: Fall, Surgery, Puppeteer

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

Description: 
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!