Published by FM-Studio. I played this on android.
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:
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
Published by 58 WORKS. I played this on android.
The Short: I actually didn’t hate this.
Recommended if you like mild cleverness, giving credit where it’s due
Description: I don’t like a Doors Galore. Escaping from static rooms through hundreds of doors is not usually a satisfying adventure, in my opinion. It also doesn’t help that, normally, a Doors Galore escape game is churned out by unloving creators who may or may not be machines. DOOORS is different. It actually has some substance to it. The puzzles are witty on occasion and the graphics aren’t a full blown plume out of Design Netherworld. The rapid-fire nature of this play, paired with the surprising charm reminded me strongly of one of my favorites What’s Inside the Box.
That all being said, I think this is an inferior example of 58 Works’s catalog. I think these guys/gals make awesome games. My favorite of theirs is definitely Ruins.
Difficulty Elements: ok cascade | both readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | both straightforward & esoteric interfaces | no Absurdity | both typical & unique solves
Published by hozdesign. I played this on android.
The Short: The latest offender.
Recommended if you like being cheated.
Description: I furrow my brow and look closely. I am watching a youtube video. The video is a depiction of the solutions — the walkthrough — to a game called Block by hozdesign. I watch carefully. The solution I need arrives so I pause the video.
I screw up my eyes. I intend to understand. I want to understand. I try to understand. But I will not understand. Because the solution is nonsensical. How do 5 ink blots in a grid translate into cardinal directions? It’s simple. They don’t.
Hozdesign creates games that baffle me. It’s possible there is some kind of steep cultural rift between myself and these creators but I don’t understand how this can happen on such a consistent basis. I enjoy solving puzzles. I play a ton of these games. I can only conclude that hozdesign does this on purpose: they create arbitrary, meaningless puzzles that have no logical solution. It’s so sad. It makes me feel sad.
If I am wrong, please, someone — ANYONE — let me know.
Difficulty: Beyond Difficult
Difficulty Elements: — cascade | both readily-apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | both straightforward & esoteric interfaces | some Absurdity | both typical & unique solves
Published by DAIKOKUYA SOFT. I played this on android.
The Short: I don’t know if I would characterize this as a “dream” kitchen but it is certainly an acceptable one.
Recommended if you like model homes, hamburgers for breakfast
Description: This is a regular old escape game set in a kitchen. The graphics are decent. The puzzles were engaging. I suppose it’s worth noting that the “dream” component here is the high quality appliances and granite counter tops. I remember one time my aunt took me to a company that specializes in remodeling kitchens. The business was just one giant floor (maybe 100 square meters?) of “sample kitchens” with all kinds of stainless steel equipment and marble details. The kitchen of DreamKitchen kind of reminded me of that experience.
This game is fine. I think the cruelest thing I can say about it is that it’s a bit unremarkable.
Difficulty Elements: great cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves
Published by EXITs. I played this on android.
Iterations: EXITs 1 – EXITs 4
The Short: This series is turning into a dynasty.
Recommended if you like air plants, light fixtures, the word “tableaux”
Description: EXITs is one of my favorite series. These puzzles are always on point, as are these snazzy, jazzy rooms. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to try and escape from an Urban Outfitters, look no further than this series. Each room is a soothing blend of trendy rugs, slick furniture, and the occasional metallic ornament that would make even Miranda Priestly nod approvingly.
One notable misstep in this series is the penultimate level in the castle-like parlor room. The music is absolutely atrocious, like a group of bassoonists inhaled too much helium and were forced to play the songs designed for music boxes. Weird.
Difficulty Elements: good cascade | readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves