Escape from the Strange Forest
Just how strange is the titular forest in Hottategoya's Escape from the Strange Forest do you wonder? For one thing, it's strangely disorientating. You're not so much stuck inside this forest as you are hovering above it like a bird, one who is only able to see a select portion of this labyrinth copse at any given time and who, on occasion, can swoop down to examine a detail of the grassy floor. For another, these stoically quiet evergreens will, for reasons unknown, change their formations and create new paths for you to wander along. Stranger still, hidden somewhere in its depths is a set of stairs that lead further down toward a door—it is through here you can escape, if you can decipher the secret code that is.
Despite the confusion taunting layout of this escape-the-room game, it's played by the same rules: click arrows that pop-up on the edges of the screen to move about and, when you find something that seems to stand out in this monochromatic world, you can click on it to zoom in for a better look or to pick it up. The three items you find here are not only useful, they are essential to your sanity. Helpful guides, they'll provide the clues you need to get your bearings, solve the puzzles and find your way out.
Until you reach the box containing your first clue, if you're easily panicked by enclosed spaces or have a phobia of being trapped in a maze, it could prove an extremely frustrating experience. Often those things that are most challenging, though, are the most rewarding and engaging. Escape from the Strange Forest takes all that is good about Hottategoya's triplex fashion of puzzle presentation and elevates it to an escape that is a refreshing take on the genre. By staying in the moment and paying heed to your map, you can find the open doorway at the end of the tunnel and another victory to notch into your surreal adventure belt.