The human psyche is a peculiar thing. We have a subconscious desire to follow instructions, as a certain famous psychological experiment supposedly involving electric shocks and remembering word pairs has proven. But we also have a desire to disobey them. Who hasn't seen a sign marked "KEEP OFF THE GRASS" and found themselves with an urge to tread all over the forbidden greenery? Or looked at a door marked "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY" and wanted to investigate what was on the other side? Or spotted a button marked "DO NOT PUSH" and almost immediately entertained the notion of pressing it?
Why am I beginning the intro to an escape game with a lecture on psychology, you ask? Because it's a central premise of Button, FonGeBooN's latest. This is a developer we haven't heard from in a long time, which usually means they've been working hard on something really good. In this case, that's true.
As with most escapes, Button is set in a room filled with all manner of doodads and puzzles: a few paintings on the wall, a red couch, a grandfather clock mysteriously missing its hands, a bookshelf... and a tempting red button behind a metallic hatch beside the door, helpfully marked "DO NOT PUSH" in both English and Japanese. To examine, acquire or manipulate objects, click on or drag them (don't forget about dragging! You'll have to do quite a bit of it!). If you've got something in your inventory, inspect it by clicking on the notched corner, or use it by clicking in the box itself.
Analysis: Button is a treat. Graphics-wise, it's a huge leap up in realism from FonGeBoon's earlier projects, and is comparable to the work of Neutral or Place of Light, albeit with a load of Engrish. The sound effects aren't half bad, either.
The puzzles are a bit on the difficult side, but 99% logical. When I first played the game, I got stuck several times, taking many breaks. Somehow, every time I came back, I got a new breakthrough and was able to make a little more progress. I ultimately wasn't able to finish without help, though.
As you may have guessed from the title, one of the major focuses of Button is the "DO NOT PUSH" button. I won't say what The Button does, but I will say that it will neither help nor hinder your escape (it won't blow up the room like some red buttons do). How you treat it, however, will affect the ending. Are you a reckless cheetah who goes straight for The Button and pushes it at the first opportunity? A cautious mountain goat who dillydallies and solves puzzles elsewhere before ultimately deciding to give in to temptation and try The Button- but not without saving first, of course? A cowardly mouse who never once dares to touch The Button, for fear that it will destroy your life? No matter what your personality, the ending will differ in subtle ways accordingly.
This aspect makes this game part escape game, part personality test. (After I finally beat the game, it told me I pressed The Button six times, and was cautious enough to save before doing so. Is that to be expected from a Gemini?) It also gives the more short-fused player a convenient way to let off steam when stuck at a particularly difficult puzzle, especially if you pretend you just launched a missile at some foreign country.
Button is definitely worth playing, so give it a shot. Let's see how YOU behave when placed in the same room as The Button.
NOTE: FonGeBooN's server has a weak capacity and has been overloaded recently, which is why we waited a few weeks to feature this one. You may get a 503 error when you try to play Button. Don't give up, just wait a while and try again.