Some escape games are dense, tangled narratives requiring a lot of exploration and thought. Others are harrowing experiences that can last hours, or even days. But an escape game doesn't have to be complex to be a good game. Length and difficulty do not necessarily a good game make, especially if the difficulty and length are derived from a lot of pixel hunting, or illogical puzzles that make no sense. Sometimes, simple is best and it doesn't get much simpler than Choc-Mint by Petithima. Call it escape light, if you will.
You find yourself in a nicely furnished room, could be a hotel room, could be a condo or apartment. Flat, cartoony illustrations and bouncy music make this a fun, albeit short, experience. All you need to do is find your way out, and maybe something to snack on along the way. There's no story here, no set-up, just a room that you want to get out of. Navigation is pretty simple because there are literally only two views, the room and the balcony. That's it, that's all. Almost no moving around. Instead, you must solve the puzzles that are scattered about the two areas to find a rather...unique way out. Pick up a few objects, solve a few puzzles and voila!
Despite the simplicity, Choc-mint is an escape game done right. There is no text to confound the non-native speaker, the puzzles flow neatly from one to the other, and there is the blessed relief of a changing cursor to indicate hot-spots that can be clicked. A little logic, a little intuition, and an experienced gamer could be out in 10 minutes or less, refreshed and ready to face the day. All you escape game designers out there take notes, will you?
Choc-mint even has the trappings of a much more complex game. There's a breezy soundtrack, cute sound effects, an easy to learn and intuitive inventory control, and even a save feature. It's nice to play a game that has all the bells and whistles, even if it is the lightweight fare presented here by Petithima.
There are a few downsides, though (and I have yet to find that elusive, perfect escape game). The flaws: A color-based puzzle to make it difficult for some; a minor bug that only allows a certain action to take place after another has been performed; and a difficulty level that might be a little too easy for some folks.
Choc-Mint, though — like its namesake ice cream bar — is a cool refreshing treat on a hot summer day; a few minutes of puzzle solving bliss to take your mind off of the blazing heat. Light and easy on the palate, and a wonderful way to take a mid-week break. Slow down, take a few minutes and enjoy the escape from the every day.