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

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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Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story

Published by Glitch Games. I played this on an iPad.

The Short: This game was good but felt like Part I of a bigger game.

Recommended if you like fireplaces, refurbished cabins, diagnosing other people’s problems.

Description: Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story is highly narrative with decent puzzles. The atmospheric design is very creepy though I expected a jump scare or some kind of revelatory development the entire time. None materialized. The space you explore is very cool, more fully realized than most room escapes. As a result, I felt disappointed when I won this game. I wanted to stick around longer and discover more about Alice. I would play another game by this company but I wouldn’t recommend this one. It was like a trailer somehow.

Difficulty:  Easy
Difficulty Elementsgood cascade | no Absurdity | both typical and unique solves | straightforward puzzles

Forgotten Hill

Published by FM-Studio. I played this on android.

Iterations: 
Fall, Surgery, Puppeteer

The Short: Need a good skin crawl? Forgotten Hill can help you out. Outstanding series, especially considering that it’s free.

Recommended if you like bugs, circus freaks, noise bands

Description: 

Creeps galore and fantastic, unique artwork. The soundscape is messed up and haunting as well. Fall lagged a bit behind the other two aesthetically but I think it was the first. Overall this entire series has great puzzles and tons of cascade. Be prepared for jump scares and disgusting imagery. I was genuinely freaked in certain parts. My favorite iteration is probably Surgery. Mostly because I am really into body parts suspended in fluid.

Forgotten Hill also has an interesting mythology that is present throughout all the games but never intrudes on game play. Two monstrous brothers(?) and their weird extended family who seem to be over 100 years old. Fabs. I’m so into it. The best part is it’s all kept wonderfully vague so it’s easy to see the connective tissue but you don’t have to figure anything out to solve the puzzles. My one complaint about Forgotten Hill is that each game begins with a stupid amount of exposition, telling you how you came across these strange institutions in the first place. I just tapped past it all. I don’t need to know why I’m in a dripping insane asylum. I’m just excited to be here!

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Difficulty:  
Medium
Difficulty Elementsgreat cascade | readily apparent puzzles | invisible puzzles | straightforward & esoteric puzzles | unique & typical solves | good Absurdity