What if once upon a time you had a friend who consistently locked you into a series of rooms and forced you solve your way out? If you said, "Well, it sounds like I'm that hapless protagonist from Tesshi-e's games" you would be correct. Once upon a time, though, that protagonist decided to turn the tables on said friend and was going to lock him/her into a restaurant, only to find himself once again solving their way out of another room escape. If you were that protagonist, out of curiosity, would you go back to that very same restaurant to meet up with that very same friend again? If your answer is yes, then you've come to the right place, as once again we dip into the slightly deranged mind of Tesshi-e with their latest room escape, Escape from the Restroom.
If you are familiar with the Tesshi-e oeuvre you should recognize the restaurant from the opening sequence. Yes, that is indeed the eatery from Escape from Restaurant Minshio, and once again you've traveled there to meet one of your many incarcerating friends. This time, though, the friend is late and you are sadly left hanging. Not to fear, the wait staff shares the same sense of humor as the rest of your acquaintances and have rigged up a fun little escape in the restrooms for quick-witted patrons to solve their way out of. Yes, in the world of Tesshi-e the escaping madness never ends, does it?
Point and click your way around this beautiful, sparkling clean, and decidedly high-tech bathroom with the aid of navigation bars at the sides, top, and bottom of the screen. There are a few objects to be found, a few puzzles to be solved, and voila, you will be back out into the restaurant proper, hopefully to find your dinner guest has finally shown up. If not, you still have the satisfaction of your brilliant and daring escape to erase the sting of being stood up.
Analysis: Escape from the Restroom is both a classic one-room and out escape, as well as being a classic of Tesshi-e's beautiful design sensibility. For something as impersonal and industrial as a commercial restroom, the place is surprisingly lovely without being overblown and ostentatious. The design of the puzzles and controls are equally fantastic, featuring a mix of found objects, observation, and puzzle solving along with the usual fantastic save/mute/inventory functions.
One of the nice things about Tesshi-e's escapes is how they tend to link together. Often when you make it out of one place you find yourself in another place that ends up featuring in a future escape, such as the bar from Escape from the Small Bar. Small design elements such as decorations and/or furniture also tend to pop up time and again, lending a nice continuity and making each game seem as if they were simply a day in the life of a rabid escape room fan with lots of strange yet obliging friends and neighbors. Best of all is the return of the alternate happy coin escape, where you don't just leave with the happy coin, you need to find an entirely different way out, a true "alternate" ending.
Although we do once again see a retread of the wobbly picture puzzle, there are some new and ingenious puzzles to be dealt with this time around. Escape from the Restroom is a pretty easy game, befitting something that is there to amuse a restaurant patron for a few minutes while awaiting a dinner guest. The puzzles are fun and challenging but not overly difficult, creating a nice, light, easy escape to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more. Tesshi-e games are not the most difficult out there, but they are fantastic appetizers, perfect for a mental mid-week snack.