Escape from the Tatami Room 2
Do you ever have nightmares about being locked in a traditional Japanese restaurant, unable to find anything to eat until you escape? Do you dream of having to pull open drawers and closets, searching for a way to melt a block of ice, then create a rabbit from the resulting water? Do you dream about being locked into the same darn restaurant again, once again having to reason your way out of a room to get a darn meal? No? Just me? Okay then, what were we talking about...oh yeah, it's time for Weekday Escape. How about we pick a room escape that will help me exercise those nightly demons? How about Escape from the Tatami Room 2 by Tesshi-e?
Yes, Tesshi-e has created a sequel to Escape from the Tatami Room, that bizarre room escape about having to build a shrine to a rabbit to get a decent meal. Escape from the Tatami Room 2 apparently takes place in the same restaurant, and once again you have to figure your way out of the room to meet your companion and get some grub. This room, however, is different than the one in the first Tatami room. This time there's no fire pit in the middle, so you can guess that you won't be trying to burn the place down to get out. The things we do for a decent meal...
Escape from the Tatami Room 2 is set in a very traditional Japanese space (the tatami in the title refer to the woven straw mats that cover the floor). There's no note from the staff this time around, you already knew before you came to meet your friend that you were going to have to solve your way out to eat. Explore the sparse space, find and use objects, and eventually you'll get that promised feast. Perhaps, if you're really lucky, you'll also make it out with the happy coin, a staple "second ending" in Tesshi-e room escapes. Will you solve the magic lantern puzzle? Will you find all of the tiles? Will you ever get fed? Play and find out.
Tatami Room 2 plays like a traditional single room escape. Look around, observe everything, poke into every nook and cranny, and use what you find to solve your way out. As with all Tesshi-e designs you will encounter a mix of use of found objects, pure puzzle solving, and even a little constructive combining of ordinary household (or Japanese restaurant) items. Navigate around by using bars at the sides, top, and bottom of the screens, double click on inventory objects to view them in close up, get creative with what you can find, and you'll be out in time for dinner. Hopefully.
Analysis: Tesshi-e certainly likes locking players into public spaces. Restaurants, bars, hotels, spas, the list is endless. Here you are in a traditional style Japanese restaurant, surrounded by Tesshi-e's usually sumptuous three dimensional graphics and Zen-like decorations. The lovely, plaintive oriental loop that plays in the background adds to the atmosphere, evoking an era that time has passed by. Half of the fun of Tatami Room 2 is just in soaking up the atmosphere as you wander around the space.
Although Tesshi-e games are always entertaining, there are the usual flaws that also permeate their work. The lack of a changing cursor makes for the usual pixel hunting, and the music loop can get annoying after a few minutes. Fortunately there is a mute button as well as a save button to help you find both "endings" of the game. On the plus side are the easy and intuitive inventory control and the now fluent English translations that allow the gamer to understand what is happening every step of the way as they solve their way out of the space.
Escape from the Tatami Room 2 is one of Tesshi-e's more middle of the road efforts. There are some unique puzzles alongside old chestnuts like the wobbly corner picture. Not, perhaps, their most innovative, but still a nice combination of puzzles and construction make Tatami Room 2 an entertaining way to while away a few minutes. And perhaps a good way to work through those nightmares of being locked in. Just don't play while hungry.