Escape from a Building Without Windows
What is the defining factor that makes a room escape good, if not excellent? It's not the controls, although easy to use controls and a mute and save feature are always helpful. It's not a changing cursor, despite my many complaints on the subject. It's not the graphics and music although they add to the atmosphere and can elevate a game somewhat. The basic core of a good escape game should be flow. Do the puzzles flow from one to another in a logical procession? When you solve one puzzle, do you automatically know where to go next? Creating this sort of procession is what separates game designers and what can make or break a game. Escape from a Building without Windows by Dghgbakufu, although a pretty simple escape on its own, shows step by step this process of "flow", and it makes for a really entertaining adventure.
The ability to design a game that progresses logically throughout the game is what separates the mediocre and the good from the great. Now all Dghgbakufu needs to do is work on some harder puzzles and a little more background and we may indeed be looking at the next hot room escape designer.
I play dozens of these games each week to bring you what I consider the best, and I can get seriously tired of thinking, "what in the world do I use that for?", "why does that go there?", "where am I supposed to go next?" Slamming your head in frustration about a difficult puzzle is one thing, slamming your head in frustration because you can't figure out what to do next is quite another. I'm not saying that there's no room for surrealism, illogic, or downright goofiness within the genre (I'm looking at you, Henna Escape), but a designer needs to master the rules before they can go about throwing them out willy nilly, and Escape from a Building without Windows is practically a master class in room escape design, Room Escape 101. This is how you create flow, escape designers, so pay attention.
Granted, Escape from a Building without Windows is almost too linear, and leans heavily on color-based puzzles which can be difficult for the folks out there with various difficulties with their vision. It has easy navigation and inventory control but lacks a changing cursor or a save function. What matters while you are playing (and afterwards) is: did you have fun or were you frustrated? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment at getting out or are you just happy to see the back of it? Try Escape from a Building without Windows and what you'll get are the fun and the accomplishment with very little of the frustration.
Stripped down and basic, lacking music, decor, and some controls, Escape from a Building without Windows is still a fantastic way to spend 5 or 10 minutes, and Dghgbakufu is a designer to watch, if only because he/she/they have mastered the first basic rule: make it logical, please. If you want to design room escape games or just love playing them give this little gem a try.