Escape from 26
[UPDATED VERSION] Bigloop's Escape from 26 isn't just a gorgeous escape game... it has one of those rare premises that's just the right amount of creepy mixed with surreal wonder to make it compelling. You wake up in a golden cage with the number 26 on it, in a tiny house and yard that seems to have everything you need... but even more than figuring out where you are and why, finding a way out becomes increasingly pressing as you soon realise that whoever is supposed to be tending these cages hasn't come by in quite some time, and with supplies dwindling and the place falling into disrepair, things are looking grim.
Just click to walk around and interact with things, and your cursor will change to let you know what you can do as you mouse over objects and people. You're not alone in your not-so-gilded cage, but your new "roommate" doesn't seem interested or capable of helping you out, and you'll soon discover you're not the first occupant. It's a wonderful premise, and Escape from 26 has great atmosphere on top, with a wonderful "dollhouse" look to its detailed visuals and a haunting soundtrack. Though some hotspots are small, the game's user-friendly and logical design makes playing smooth and simple.
The downside is that Escape from 26 suffers from feeling a bit rushed. The "big reveal" makes no sense and is explained poorly in a wall of text with nothing to back it up, and tacking on an abrupt ending to a game that's already on the short side. It's a concept that would have made for a fantastic Twilight Zone episode, and some better writing with more clues and explanations to back it up would have made it stellar. The other issues are, comparatively, minor, like the slow walking speed and two of the game's handful of puzzles basically consisting of housework. (Where's the dialogue option for "How about you give me the key and I don't PUNCH YOU IN THE SOUL.") Still, while it lasts, Escape from 26 is a surprisingly captivating experience and the concept has such enormous potential that I would dearly love to see the development team come back to it again. They clearly have a massive amount of talent, and though it isn't perfect, Escape from 26 is one of the loveliest little escape/adventure games to surface in a while, with a clever premise to boot.