To get along like cats and dogs is a very old cliché in the English language, and for a good reason. Sure, there are some households where they might get along okay, but for the most part cats and dogs are polar opposites in actions and personalities. Where dogs are friendly, cats are aloof. Where dogs crave attention, cats are...aloof. Where dogs are loyal, you just know that cats are plotting something, something terribly evil. However, in the case of Wan and Nyan, the jumping dog and punching cat of Cogito Ergo Sum's Stamp Rally Escape 2, they are both plotting something. Perhaps even something evil. Or they are just plotting to get a grand prize, either way, in this amusing room escape sequel to Stamp Rally Escape 1.
Wan and Nyan must once again travel to an undisclosed location (chosen by the mysterious RIDLRIDL organization) guided only by a springing mailbox, and search high and low for those darn green stamps which supposedly will lead to a great present. Finding the stamps is more difficult this time around as the puzzles have ramped up a tad in this the second go round for these intrepid pets. As usual there are navigation arrows to guide you around the room and in the course of the game you must at least once find and use Wan and Nyan's talents for jumping or punching (accomplished with the use of handy training books) to solve your way out. There will be some pixel hunting, but nothing too difficult and there's always the handy save button if you want to take a break and come back later. Find all ten stamps, mail them to the aforementioned RIDLRIDL, collect your second gold stamp, then sit back and wait for the grand finale. Or wait until the third game comes out, whichever comes first.
The second part in a planned three part epic, Stamp Rally Escape 2 continues Wan and Nyan's efforts to collect a bunch of green stamps, in order to trade in for gold stamps, in order to trade in for...you know, they keep saying a cool present, but you just know it'll turn out to be some cheap advertising gimmick that is worthless or falls apart in minutes. Just you watch. At any rate, this is the standard point-and-click room escape with simple navigation and the ability to click on items to pick them up or examine them. Word puzzles, math puzzles, color puzzles, and skill puzzles await the intrepid gamer in this charming little escape, as well as yet another cameo appearance of the tachikoma robots from the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime.
Analysis: Cogito Ergo Sum's escapes have always been on the whimsical side, but now with both the expressive animals and the strange inclusion of the tachikoma robots, these puzzles are approaching Minoto levels of weirdness. Seriously, what are AI combat robots from a dystopian future doing hanging around these locked room mysteries? Is there not enough cybercrime in 2030 Tokyo that they have the leisure to wander around handing out stamps and performing minor furniture repair? And who are these RIDLRIDL people who employ them, and who have time to devise single exit room escapes for a pair of pets?
A nice mix of logic, use of found objects, and strangeness make Stamp Rally Escape 2 a worthy sequel to the first Stamp Rally Escape. Judging by the increasing difficulty of the puzzles the unseen RIDLRIDL (or Cogito Ergo Sum) are working towards something that will challenge Wan and Nyan to their very limits, will drive them further and further into the unknown of puzzle solving, will tax every cell in their bodies as they strive for the elusive prize at the end. Or, you know, wear them out so they spend the entire next day sleeping, like real cats and dogs tend to do when they're not trying to kill each other. Or their owners.