Best of 2012!
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Best of 2012 Nominations...

3 Small KeysWhen you see a key, isn't your first thought, "I wonder what it will open?" That curiosity and search for answers makes the perfect theme inside this austere and surreal room, where you must use observation and exploration to open new paths and find your way out. This escape game may be small but it's three times the fun to play!

AbacusA four-walled room escape game with simple, gradiented graphics and plenty of puzzles, most of which center around a particular theme. In this case, the theme is the blue enigma machine over on the cabinet there and the circular tumblers that it uses. Solve puzzles all around the room, get everything figured out, and eventually get that door open. The puzzles show a bit more variation than Otousan's games typically do, and the game as a whole is a bit longer and more substantial (it must be, there's a save feature this time!), which is good for those of you who found the developer's past games too easy.

Balcony Escape 3Cogito Ergo Sum's hapless dog and cat, Wan and Nyan, are back with another escape adventure, perhaps the easiest yet most charming of all. Poor Nyan is locked out on the balcony and needs to be rescued, and there's more than one way to do it meaning multiple endings: easy, normal and happy. Here is a feel good game, like a daily affirmation on life—the simplest things can bring the most joy!

Christmas Escape ToyNeutral's latest holiday gift is a charming and challenging mini escape set in a child's room full of toys, decorations and presents. Explore everywhere and make connections between the clues you find to solve puzzles and make your way out. Either because of or despite a cute platform style minigame obstacle, Christmas Escape Toy presents a rewarding experience for your escaping merriment—and it's all wrapped up with that special Neutral touch.

Emerald Den EscapeTeraLumina, who already showered us in rubies, sapphires and diamonds, indulges us once more with its best, and most challenging, escape game to date. All four walls of this lavishly decorated room are filled with clues, useful objects and all kinds of goodies to explore and delight every escaper's whim. You'll be hard-pressed to keep track of heaps of clues for the multiple puzzles, a number of which take on mini-game proportions. With its gorgeous graphics, thinky puzzles and cohesive gameplay, it's safe to say Emerald Den Escape shines amongst the best in the genre.

Escape from the Entrance HallWith Tesshi-e's 77th escape offering, you're inside the entrance room to...where? If you want to find out, you'll need to poke around in the drawers and cupboards to find clues and needed tools, deciphering some clever puzzles and making a tough choice in the end. While Escape from the Entrance Room is not the most challenging, it is very clever and fresh and, most happily of all, definitively Tesshi-e. Enjoy!

JupiterFor those who love GUMP's planetary room escape exploration, Jupiter is a welcome addition to the set, much more challenging than the ones that came before, and even more unsettling as the player is drawn even further into this odd, sterile, mechanical house.

Killer EscapeGet ready for a gruesome discovery or two in the latest freaky escape game from horror master Psionic. Waking up in a basement cell is bad enough, but when you find out you've become imprisoned by one seriously twisted killer, all you have to escape are the clues left behind by the victims who came before you.

KumakinokoExplore this room of bears (kuma) and mushrooms (kinoko) to find clues and solve puzzles, all in pursuit of getting out. This is quintessential Robamimi: seamless navigation, an intuitive inventory, and all the helpful features you could wish for in an escape-the-room game. So escape into the lovely, subtle magic of Robamimi's world; the only disappointment is having to leave.

Mild Escape 5It's time to raise a toast in celebration of Tesshi-e's 73rd astonishing room escape effort and once again enjoy its tricky, twisty, mistily nostalgic personality. There's really nothing to complain about in Mild Escape 5. The puzzles are tricky and satisfying with some neat solutions, the construction is at a minimum, the English translations are terrific, the controls are top notch, and the color puzzles come with text making them solvable even for the colorblind.

NandakanaFeel like you haven't played enough escape games lately? Especially games that involve animate pickles, potted noses and astronauts having a shove match? In perfect surreal serendipity, here is another Detarou game for your point-and-click escaping amusement. Explore your way through the multiple rooms, find and decode clues to open doors, and watch out for that Bad Panda end again! You'll be happy to discover plenty of challenging-yet-logical puzzles and all the oddball zaniness you've come to really appreciate about Detarou.

One Scene 3This gorgeous scene from Robamimi is filled with charisma as well as fun puzzles. Just like One Scene and One Scene 2, all the gameplay takes place along one wall. Point and click your way through every picturesque detail, finding the clues needed to "escape" the scene. The quality of design and the affable features make this a relaxing and beguiling experience. When something is this good, it's always a happy occasion to find more!

Snowflake NightSoothing is the best descriptor of a Tomatea game, and Snowflake Night fits right into that oeuvre with its serene backgrounds, lilting music, and gentle puzzles. Start up the game and let the overall experience wash away any mid-week frustrations as you navigate around the beautiful space and let the calming music flow as you skip lightly from one puzzle to the next. Had a rough week at work or school? Stressed out waiting for the weekend? Take a deep breath, let it out, and experience the joy of Snowflake Night, a calming experience no matter what the reason.

Sometimes Sunny ReverseSome might call this Haretoki creation one of the best escape games this year in terms of brain busting scenarios and enjoyable gameplay but that's up to you to decide. It isn't the prettiest room we've spent time in nor is it the friendliest, if you can stick it out through some head-desk-thump moments, it will reverse those escaping tummy growls into a plump full feeling of satisfaction.

SphinxA wonderful room escape game with puzzles and solutions that are quiet, elegant, and echo the theme, thus creating a massively entertaining experience that is so much more than "throw a bunch of random puzzles into a four-wall room" that permeates so much room escape design. The delicate balance of theme, puzzle, solution, and space gives Kotorinosu games a unique feel that makes them so popular and so fun to play.

To NothingAt first, To Nothing sounds like a misnomer for SuzumeDr's newest escape game. You start out in a somewhat sparsely furnished room with nothing in your hands except a black-and-white sports bag. You dump out the bag's contents and instantly all the slots in your inventory are full. The catch? As you go around and solve puzzles, every object in the room and in your inventory will... disappear, one by one. It's hard to be original in a well-established genre like the room escape, but SuzumeDr is definitely good at his trade.

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