Aesthetic, Challenging, fantastical, Genre, many many, Seal of Goodness, Special Qualities, straightforward

Cryptica

Published by Pixibots. I played this on android.

The Short:  Fun with hieroglyphics minus the worry of raising the dead.

Recommended if you like runes, grids, neutral tones

Description: Cryptica is not an escape game. It’s a spatial reasoning puzzle game with sort of an Aztec-y aesthetic. In each level, you are presented with a grid. The grid contains at least one Active Stone and that Active Stone’s match-spot. You must move the Active Stone or Stones to their respective match spots to win. The trick in this game comes when you get multiple Active Stones. All Active Stones move in unison so when you move an individual stone once to the left, you move all of the Active Stones once to the left. The game is further complicated by Inactive Stones that work to block the Active Stones.

I love the shit out of this game. It has a really intuitive interface, great audio accompaniment to game play, and it’s challenging in just the right way. This is also a game where you can really get “in the zone” by playing multiple levels in a row, your brain really starts to think along the grid. The next time you’re meeting someone for coffee, especially your one friend who is always 15 minutes late, download Cryptica and feel the time fly by.

Difficulty Level: Medium
Difficulty Elements: readily-apparent puzzles

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, cartoonish, cute, Genre, minimalist, straightforward

ROOM Δ / ROOM Γ

Published by Kotorinosu. I played this on android.

The Short: I wanted to like these games. I like other games by this Publisher. But both of these games required some pretty enormous leaps of inference.

Recommended if you like beanbag chairs, Debussy, tidy work spaces

Description:
There is no denying it. Kotorinosu has swell graphics. ROOM Δ and ROOM Γ are no exceptions. They are minimalist and cute. I would call the difficulty level high on both game. Even bearing that in mind, I felt cheated by ROOM Δ and ROOM Γ  two specific times: Without spoiling anything (because maybe you’d rather see for yourself) I will describe:  Continue reading “ROOM Δ / ROOM Γ”

Aesthetic, cartoonish, fantasy, Genre, straightforward

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 “open up” as the game proceeds. Kalaquli R has multiple tiers as you move through the game 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:  invisible puzzle arrays | readily-apparent puzzle arrays | 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, 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