How I want to spend my mornings: Eating brioche at a cafe in Paris. Sunning myself on a sugar-white sand beach in Hawaii. How I don't want to spend my mornings: Waking up, confused and alone, in a bare, filthy cell, pandering to the whims of a madman in a desperate bid to regain my freedom. Happily for me, I am not the unfortunate protagonist/victim of an escape game. However! Spence, an American who finds himself embroiled in intrigue in Budapest after answering the call of a distant friend, is. For reasons beyond his comprehension, he has been confined and made to fight for his life. And now, he needs your help to escape The Cell.
Created by the Fox Network as a companion game to the Web series of the same name, The Cell is a lengthy, highly entertaining adventure through an elaborate dungeon complex. Our hero, Spence, must complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous challenges as he ascends to the surface; your unknown captor has provided all that you need, but you'll need to use your wits and risk your hide to overcome his tests. In theme and atmosphere the game reminds me quite a bit of the Saw series of movies; even the sinister voice of Spence's malevolent kidnapper (on the cell phone from which he gives you his orders) is the same. Nothing wrong with that, though. The same thing that makes the movies fun—the complex, potentially fatal game-playing—is also the reason that The Cell is so enjoyable.
As befits a game commissioned by a major television network, The Cell is quite good-looking and professionally rendered. The third-person visuals suggest the view from a security camera; perhaps, even while playing the hero, you are assuming the perspective of the villain? The interface is clean, simple and intuitive, and a save feature is thoughtfully provided. Admittedly, the game is somewhat easy. The puzzles are mainly logical and not terribly complex, and if you get stuck all you have to do is access the comprehensive hint system by pressing the "help" button. Of course, you choose how much assistance to be provided with. There is quite a bit of backtracking necessary to completing the game (the facility is comprised of three levels connected by elevators, and you'll often find yourself running back and forth between them), but that's not such a hassle. On the whole, the game scores pretty low on the frustration scale.
The game does require registration, but receiving emails from the website is optional. So go ahead and enjoy!
Spence needs you: