In this uncertain and often chaotic world, the temptation to hide, to lie low in a secret shelter away from dangers both real and imagined, can be awfully strong. Doesn't it sound nice? A place all your own, a safe room with layer upon layer of protection between you and the outside. A haven. What happens, however, when your refuge becomes your prison? Boxed Inn: Panic Room, the first escape game from wonderfully promising American designer and Flash author Samgine, explores that troubling scenario.
Boxed Inn: Panic Room is, in many ways, a really superlative escape game. Lengthy, clever and involved, you'll have to use all of the room's many resources (often in the form of modern technology) to escape. Along with the usual "use object A with code B to solve puzzle C" room escape fare, the game serves in part to showcase some of the types of puzzles (both classic and original) that fill Samgine's website; one in particular, a puzzle called PaintBox that involves manipulating the colors of boxes using various buttons, is especially interesting. While on the whole the game's puzzles are great, there are, unfortunately, a few instances of questionable leaps of "logic" being needed to progress. One puzzle in particular I found nearly inexplicable, but finally was able to crack with a bit of trial-and-error. Also, being able to hear the game is nice but not vital. At one point you'll need to program a remote, and hearing the "beep" of the buttons will help you do so; however, as long as you follow the directions carefully, you should be fine.
The graphics go beyond mere excellence; they are literally photo-realistic. This gives the game an added edge of realism, making it all the more immersive and entertaining. The interface is mainly user-friendly (No pixel-hunting! Automatic save feature!), though the inventory system can be initially confusing. Clicking a collected item will bring up a larger picture of it, allowing you to manipulate the object and sometimes discover new information or clues; it is not, however, necessary to click on an item in order to use it within the room itself. For example, at some point during the game you will collect a CD. Clicking on the disk drive of the room's laptop will automatically place the CD in the drive, without you needing to select it from the inventory. It's a little perplexing, and I'm not sure why the game's developers chose to configure the interface in this way, but once you get the hang of the system it ceases to be an inconvenience.
Boxed Inn: Panic Room is an enormously impressive escape game, particularly considering that it is Samgine's first venture into the genre. While the game does have room for improvement, particularly in regards to the inventory interface and handful of imperfectly logical moments, it bodes extremely well for the developer's future creations. Hopefully this is just the first in a very long line of games to come! Enjoy.