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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Cats in Italy

Published by Garusoft Development.  I played this on android.

Iterations: Cats in Italy, Sweetshop, Hotel the Cat 

The Short: Come si dici “hot mess?”

Recommended if you like nasal saxophones, short animations of cats

Description: I was really looking forward to this game series because I am a cat person and the idea of escaping rooms in a posh Italian setting really suited me. Alas, this game is quite excruciating. Terrible, awkward graphics paired with music from the depths of midi file hell conspire to invoke a bizarro and clownish “Italian” atmosphere.

I only solved a few puzzle arrays before quitting this game so my understanding of the difficulty and style might be lacking. Still, this seemed like a pretty straightforward puzzle series. Decode clocks, re-arrange colored objects, discover keys, and feed the hungry cat at the window sill. If you can stand it all and beat this game then congrats to you and veni vidi vici.

Difficulty: Unknown 
Difficulty Elements:
 cascade | readily apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | — Absurdity | typical solves

One Room Escape

Published by ToiGames. I played this on android.

The Short: Turns out that “standard issue” and “snooze fest” are flip sides of the same coin.

Recommended if you like sensible living room design

Description: One Room Escape is fine. I’m being rude by implying that this game is boring because there’s really nothing wrong with it. And yet, I struggled to find anything noteworthy to write about here. One Room Escape has good puzzle difficulty. Explore a bookcase, a desk, and some hilariously bland decorative objects to find your keys and codes. This game is somewhat challenging so it gets point for that. From a design standpoint, this is a pretty well-rendered version of your one successful friend’s super nice living room. It’s a straight up regular, vacation escape game.

Difficulty Level: Easy – Medium
Difficulty Elements: low cascade| tricky ending | readily-apparent puzzle arrays | no Absurdity | typical solves

Escape a Parisian Hotel

Published by FUNKYLAND. I played this on android.

The Short: Fun. Cute. Relaxing.

Recommended if you like frilly bedspreads, tremendous armoires, imaginary room service

Description: Escape a Parisian Hotel is a quintessential vacation escape game. You’re in fancy hotel room space and you must escape in order to get to your fancy dinner reservation. I liked this game even though it’s really nothing special. Also, I kinda liked the music.

Difficulty Level: Easy
Difficulty Elements:  low cascade |readily-apparent puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves

MJ Room

Published by 58works. I played this on android. Seal of Goodness

The Short: Short and sweet.

Recommended if you like loft space, go-go boots, the single life.

Description: Who is MJ? Glittery knee-high boots, unicorns, a guitar, and a very full calendar, am I to believe that I am escaping a room in Michael Jackson’s house? Unclear. What is clear is that MJ Room is a good escape game. Good puzzles in an efficiently rendered space. This game is on the quicker side of things. I would call it Neat Escape‘s better-looking cousin. Full marks, nothing fancy.

Difficulty:  Medium
Difficulty Elementsok cascade | readily apparent & invisible puzzle arrays | straightforward interfaces | no Absurdity | typical solves

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