Well, it's almost holiday time. Time for overeating until you burst; time for family; time for that creepy uncle to get sloshed again; time for grandmother to tell that same story one more time. In short, it is a time for stress. Major stress. So this week's room escape will be something calm, soothing, simple, a relief from all of the family "fun" that is to come. Welcome to The Water Well by no1game, the solution to all your holiday troubles. Well, perhaps not to all your troubles (hi cousin Marge!), but certainly an oasis of calm in an otherwise frantic holiday season.
Escape from this quiet little room depends more on use of found objects and simple puzzle solving than anything else. No math here! Just quiet little puzzles and a mysterious well. Navigation is accomplished by arrows at the sides and bottom of the screen. There's even a handy changing cursor to help eliminate all that pesky pixel hunting. There's a surprising amount to find and do in what is essentially a basic four-walled room with minimal furnishings.
Done up in a simple 3D style, The Water Well soothes with its gentle pastel color palette. Nothing sharp edged or shiny here. The style is slightly reminiscent of Robamimi's work, but less "plastic" in feel. Although there are sound effects there is no music to jar you or make you tense, thereby adding to the Zen feeling of the space. Inventory control is very simple with nice gray question marks on inventory items controlling the close ups.
Analysis: This may be one of the easiest escapes ever featured on Weekday Escape, but hey, who needs more stress and head banging at this time of year? Simple it may be, but it is also quite fun and very relaxing at the same time. Experienced escapers should be out in less than 10 minutes, hopefully with a lighter heart and able to face the holiday with a little more equanimity.
There's a lot of combining found objects involved, so those who disdain "construction" puzzles for pure mental effort might find the game a little lacking. And since much of the central puzzle depends on color the game is not very accessible for those with color blindness. Although it is a Japanese game, there is an English version, so no worries there. There's also a way to turn off the sound, but both settings for mute and English must be set before you begin the game, so if you miss it you will have to reload and start again as there are no controls inside the body of the game.
The Water Well is perfect mid-week casual gameplay. When you finish you will be treated to some lovely music and a nice animated scene that is sure to put a smile on your face and enable you to face the holiday ordeal to come. Just remember, good things come to those who wait. Kick back, relax, and take time to plumb the mysterious depths of The Water Well.