Forgotten Hill: Memento

Published by FM-Studio.  I played this on android. Seal of Goodness

Other Iterations: Surgery, Puppeteer, and Fall

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:

 

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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

Coming soon! Rusty Lake Paradise ($)

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!

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Escape the Ghost Town [Multiple Iterations]

Published by A-S-G. I played these on android.

Iterations: one through four

The Short: Simplistic game series with great atmosphere. In certain version you can actually “Skip” the puzzles if you find them too challenging. I find that hilarious. I mean, why are you even playing?

Recommended if you like pensive fog, the spirit world, velvet chokers

Description: This is an updated review. I already played and talked about the first Escape the Ghost Town before I knew there were three additional games.

Escape the Ghost Town has an interesting aesthetic. At first, I was tempted to situate this game within Design Netherworld but then I checked myself. At the very least, Escape the Ghost Town is not making its digs in downtown, south central Netherworld. If anything, it’s more out in the Netherworld’s most respected suburbs. This game features standard issue haunted houses with spooky garden grounds, weird marble statues, sheds full of saws, and heavily carpeted indoor spaces that strongly imply musk and dampness. The music is actually quite nice. The overall effect is a cohesive game space that usually trades in “passable” but occasionally creates a somewhat interesting room or sequestered garden area.

Escape the Ghost Town is a perfectly nice set of games. They’re fairly easy.

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

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: low cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | both straightforward & esoteric interfaces | trick ending| no Absurdity

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

Description:
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:

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