It's no secret that I derive profound enjoyment from room escape games. Plop me down in a locked chamber, toss in a generous handful of puzzles, perhaps a dash of intrigue or humor—mmm, I'm already getting the warm fuzzies. I have great love for the genre, even when it is stripped down to those most basic elements. A handful of designers, however, have reached beyond and above this set formula; in addition to displaying proficiency with the genre's core mechanics, they in some way imbue their creations with originality and ingenuity. Another Side, a wonderful new escape game from Aqua Flash, is one such example of inventiveness.
In Another Side, you inexplicably find yourself confined within a dollhouse-like room, a pretty little place marred by the giant wall of rock that exists in place of a door. That's right, there's not even a door to unlock! There's plenty to explore and examine, however: the bookshelves covered in strange symbols, the many cabinets and drawers, the odd picture of flowers and butterflies. And, interestingly, there's that mirror. It doesn't seem to do anything special, though. Guess you'll just need to keep an eye on it...
Another Side has a dreamlike, slightly unsettling feel to it that I really liked; I was very much reminded of Alice in Wonderland (though that might have something to do with the little blue dress worn by the protagonist). Although there was nothing to suggest it was "that kind of game," I kept expecting something to jump out at me—it was just a little too quiet and still, y'know? Slightly ominous, almost. And indeed it is possible to come to an untimely end, though if so it will be from your own careless actions, not as a result of foul play.
As interesting as a game's ambience might be, however, mood is nothing without a solid base of quality puzzling to sustain it. Happily, Another Side provides a number of interesting, creative challenges; most seem straightforward at first glance, but then there's a little hitch or quirk that may leave you, well, puzzled (ha! ha!). I like this aspect of the game; nothing is so obscure or confusing that the player will be completely at a loss, yet solutions tend to be multi-layered, created with a thoughtfulness that may not be apparent at first glance. A piece of advice: if something seems a bit too simple, it probably is. Pay strict attention to detail.
I could go on, but a lot of the fun with this game is discovering the designers' aforementioned creativity. In summation, Another Side is a well-executed, good-looking escape game with a very fun "plot device," so to speak; I think you'll have a good time with this one.
Step through—er, into—the room: