Escape Challenge by Kristjan Luts is a room escape game in which you must escape multiple rooms... Oh, you've heard this story before? Well, this one has a slightly different ending to it: each room is nearly complete in itself, a scene which invites exploration and asks you accomplish several tasks before making your way through that locked door. At each stage, you need to earn the key by solving a scaffold of puzzles, finding and using objects and deciphering the clues that are hidden among the furnishings.
When you begin the first level, a pithy tutorial will show you through the basics of gameplay. From there, play is rather intuitive as you need only tap on the areas you want a better look at or, at times, tap the arrows to change directions. The responsiveness of the controls prevents frustration since you don't have to perform dexterous feats to progress. Instead, the challenge part of these escapes focuses on logical puzzles with plenty of "Aha!" moments that, once you find all the clues and tools needed, are easily had. There are a couple "pixel hunts" where you need to tap in just the right spots to look in places you might first think are unreachable; those instances are rare enough to not be a hindrance.
A possible drawback is the limited number of rooms because, well, it's too enjoyable to want it to end. And, although there are expansions promised, these updates take a long time in coming. That said, Escape Challenge has much more content than most browser escape games and it is an equally no-strings-attached free. Better yet, the settings are immensely beautiful, with nicely rendered graphics and interesting, personality-laden details. The puzzles are the right bit of challenging, not too hard but clever enough to bring a sense of accomplishment when you succeed, making Escape Challenge a mobile game that is as satisfying to your brain as it is to your eyes.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.