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

RED

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, Genre, many many, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities, straightforward, vacation

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. 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 Elements: low cascade | readily-apparent puzzle arrays

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, Genre, realistic, straightforward

One Room Escape

Published by ToiGames. I played this on android.

The Short: Turns out that “standard issue” and “snooze fest” are flip sides of the same coin.

Recommended if you like sensible living room design

Description: One Room Escape is fine. I’m being rude by implying that this game is boring because there’s really nothing wrong with it. And yet, I struggled to find anything noteworthy to write about here. One Room Escape has good puzzle difficulty. Explore a bookcase, a desk, and some hilariously bland decorative objects to find your keys and codes. This game is somewhat challenging so it gets point for that. From a design standpoint, this is a pretty well-rendered version of your one successful friend’s super nice living room. It’s a straight up regular, vacation escape game.

Difficulty Level: Easy – Medium
Difficulty Elements: tricky ending | readily-apparent puzzle arrays | low cascade

Aesthetic, Genre, horror, realistic, straightforward

Haunted Room

Published by noprops. I played this on android.

The Short: I’m going to say some mean things about this game but really it was okay.

Recommended if you like studio apartments, poorly rendered ghosts

Description: Noprops can be really hit or miss. They made this one game that I think is absolutely ingenious called Escape from Escape Room  but so far everything else I’ve seen by them has been on the worse side of fine. Haunted Room has the advantage of being so poorly animated that it’s actually funny. This game definitely makes its digs in Design Netherworld.

In terms of difficulty, this game is better than most in its class. The ending has a trick which I enjoyed solving and along the way there were one or two surprises. Ho-hum, it didn’t ruin my day.

Difficulty Level: Medium
Difficulty Elements:  esoteric puzzle arrays | trick ending | low cascade | no Absurdity

Aesthetic, Bad, Genre, realistic, straightforward

Escape Game “ESC”

Published by hozdesign. I played this on android.

The Short: Betrayal.

Recommended if you like true disappointments. Not the easy kind. The real kind.

Description: Okay. I am going to majorly ding on this game but I don’t want to do so frivolously.  Let me start at the beginning with ESC.

Continue reading “Escape Game “ESC””

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