Les Vacances de Monsieur 3939 [Series]

Published by hozdesign. I played this on android. Seal of Goodness

Iterations: Monday thru Sunday

The Short: This madcap adventures of one suave duckling contains both narrative and puzzling success.

Recommended if you like beach houses with secrets, tealducks in sunglasses

Description: Mr. 3939 is probably my favorite brand within hozdesign‘s gaming universe. The seven part series, Les Vacances de Mr. 3939, is a great addition to the family. The titular Mr. 3939 never fails to get up to all kinds of stunts and tom foolery in any one of his games. His vacations are no exception. The setting is silly but the puzzles are no joke. You will be challenged by this game. The aesthetic world is a true delight. Is this beach house some kind of retreat for spies? Is it safe to drive this long in an enclosed garage without suffocating? Is Mr. 3939 radio AM or FM? This bizarre series will either entertain you for hours or it will stump you. Either way, you will rue the day you made the acquaintance of Claude, who is a [sic] “lier”.

While I enjoyed this game, I do have some criticisms. They are as follows:  The narrative jump between Tuesday and Wednesday was a little strange for me. After spending most of the first episodes exploring a beach house, you are suddenly trapped in the garage. It was sort of jarring and I was glad to return to the more familiar space of the house in Thursday. The house is far more fun and colorful.

The puzzling logic in Saturday starts to get a little less tight compared to the previous days. Instead of locked drawers and curious contraptions with buttons, the items and puzzle arrays start to feel a bit shoehorned into the story. The solves become awkward and lack that “eureka” feeling. I get the sense that the designers were sprinting towards the finish line of this ambitious project. Things turned around on Sunday though. Great, challenging puzzles and a few laugh out loud animation moments. Bravo!

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Difficulty: Hard
Difficulty Elements
great cascade | both readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays| both straightforward & esoteric interfaces | mild Absurdity | both typical & unique solves

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XON Episode One

Published by imagoFX. I played this on android. Seal of Goodness

Free Versions: Episode One
$ Versions: Episodes Two, Three, and Four

The Short: WOW! XON!

Recommended if you like the real mccoy, puzzleventures, Myst

Description: This game is the cat’s pajamas. If you are into puzzle-adventure games, welcome to your next four weekends because that’s how many episodes are currently available for XON. Awesome interface on android. You can just glide around and take in the beautiful graphics (look out for the sun halo — it’ll blind you [but in a good way]) and listen to the occasional raven crowing. This game is an undeniable disciple of Myst.

As of writing, I have only played Episode One because it was free. Zero mythology so far but the world has a very cohesive aesthetic. Crystal orbs, giant granite ziggurats, secret tunnels and plenty of levers to pull. Puzzles were challenging enough and it’s clear that Episode One is just a teaser so I imagine the difficulty only increases from here. I would and will pay $1.99 per episode to play more of this. BRAVO.

ProTip: Turn up your display brightness when playing Xon. The shadowing in this game does not fuck around. 

More images from Xon:

 

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Difficulty:  Difficult
Difficulty Elementshigh cascade | readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | esoteric interfaces | no Absurdity | typical 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.

More images:

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World Escape

Published by Mobest Media. I played this on android.

The Short: Standard issue escape game in various, impeccable, lounging areas.

Recommended if you like Pier 1 Imports, green tea, Agatha Christie books

Description:
I played this one a long time ago but I remember liking it. You play through numerous themed rooms. There are no puzzle relationships from room to room. This is what I would call a classic vacation escape game. Do puzzles in rooms that look and feel expensive and are definitely cleaner than your own house. The trailer is hilariously self-serious.

Difficulty:  Easy
Difficulty Elementsreadily-apparent puzzle arrays | low cascade | no Absurdity | typical solves