Sakura Washitsu

Published by Neat Escape. I played this on android.

The Short: Oh, Neat Escape. You scamp.

Recommended if you like slow clapping

Description: I have previously posted my feeling towards Neat Escape but to summarize, let me put it this way: Have you ever loved someone who was inordinately fond of puns? And who loved to trot out said puns at any time and in any place, regardless of audience? But you love this person. That’s the point here. I love Neat Escape. I really do.

That’s why I wanted to highlight a game they published that I just played called Sakura Washitsu. The game itself is fine in a mediocre way. What I really wanted to showcase though is the premise of the game, as articulated here, by this title card and introductory text:

sakura-washitsu-e1500946531878.png

That’s right. You have gone over to a friend’s house to watch the cherry blossoms. Then, without warning, your friend locks you into their living room and you must escape. Along the way, you will encounter secret compartments in their closets, messages in the drapes, and all manner of signs that YOUR FRIEND IS A PSYCHOPATH. Needless to say that once you do solve Sakura Washitsu your friend has been waiting for you this entire time and has already prepared tea and cookies.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this moment because Neat Escape is my weird, personal favorite and that’s what this blog is all about.

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Kalaquli R

Published by 58 Works. I played this on android.

The Short: Kalaquli is a better escape game than most but it’s missing a crucial ingredient: cascade.

Recommended if you like tea houses under siege

Description: I like all of the following things about Kalaquli R: First, the aesthetics are good. Set in a Japanese(?) tea house that’s beset by dart-blowing ninjas, Kalaquili R features cool sliding doors, secret compartments and samurai artwork. As with the visuals, the sound in Kalaquli R succeeds at creating a cohesive place and mood. Second, I really love it when games “opens up” as the game proceeds. Kalaquli R has multiple tiers as you move through though I can’t say that they get harder or anything. The world merely expands. Puzzle quality was decent though definitely on the medium-easy side.

What’s missing from Kalaqui R is a sense that the puzzles interlock and relate to each other. Instead, it’s more of a fixed set of different puzzle areas that you extinguish, one at a time. A perfect example of this is the courtyard in this game. It’s an entire “room” and yet only 2 puzzles derive from it. Many escape games suffer from lack of cascade but Kalaqui R was a surprising one to fall into this trap because everything else about it was above average.

Difficulty Level: Medium
Difficulty Elements:  low cascade | both readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | both typical & unique solves

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.

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