To begin with, Bird Escape is actually my own English title for this week's Weekday Escape. The title in Japanese is "orunisu", a phonetic spelling of "ornis", the ancient Greek word for bird (and yes, the root of the word ornithology). But let's move on to the important stuff! Twice now we've featured the unique and original escapes designed by Otousan (Rosetta Escape), and they were a breath of fresh air in the occasionally stale room escape genre. Now, much to our delight, Otousan is back and better than ever with Bird Escape, another new take on the classic room escape. Be prepared to face down lots and lots of birds. And grapes.
Once again Otousan has built a deceptively simple four-wall room escape around a central puzzle, and this one's a doozy in terms of color and spatial perception. You are trapped in the usual spare, cartoony room, this one heavily decorated in a bird motif. Your objective, if you should choose to accept it, is to poke around, examine everything, pick up anything not nailed down, and use any objects and your wits to get out of the room alive. Or, you know, just out.
The secondary puzzles are mere trifles, the usual use of found objects and simple codes. What is at the heart of Bird Escape is a wicked three part puzzle involving a dial, some odd controls, and a dazzling array of colored grapes. The first part is pretty simple. The second, well, a little trickier. Then you get to the third part. Not to give anything away, but it's that third part of the central puzzle that will cause minor (or major) head banging to figure it out. And, of course, to make it difficult for those who write walkthroughs, the solution to that central puzzle changes each time you play.
Navigating around the room is accomplished with the usual arrows at the sides and bottom of the screen, and Otousan has included an easy to use inventory control and the blessed relief of a changing cursor, leaving minor concussion as your only worry as you work your way out of the room of an obviously demented bird lover. It would have been nice, though, to have a save function if you wanted to give that central puzzle a rest and come back at it later, fresher and less bruised.
There's still room for improvement in Otousan's room escape designs. The other, side puzzles are almost a little too easy, as if all of the effort was put into the central puzzle. The graphics are still pretty basic as are the controls. However, this should not deter you from giving Bird Escape a spin. Try out something new, something that is not "just like every other room escape" and enjoy the surreal and unique experience that is Otousan's world. A world with a lot of birds. And grapes. And some amusing escaping as well.