Fans of Escape the Museum rejoice, for a sequel is finally here! Gogii Games has brought us Escape the Museum 2, which, like the original is an adventure/hidden object hybrid that draws heavily on the room escape aesthetic for its intricate, logical gameplay. In this sequel, you are not escaping the museum itself, but escaping to the museum in an attempt to find your family. Yes, this time around it's David's story.
Players of Escape the Museum know the story of museum curator Susan who ended up trapped in her own workplace with her daughter when a massive earthquake struck. When Escape the Museum ended, young Caitlin had escaped the museum even as her mother, Susan, went back to rescue more artifacts. But what about Susan's husband and Caitlin's father, David? All we know from cell phone calls is that he made his way to the museum, at one point escaping police custody to do so. Now, in Gogii's sequel, Escape the Museum 2, follow the intrepid David as he attempts to run to the rescue of his family. Unfortunately for David, however, the earthquake damaged more than just the Museum. Power lines are down everywhere, bridges have collapsed, and there are a multitude of obstacles between one brave man and his family. A brave man with a blood pressure condition. Now isn't that a recipe for disaster?
To start, David must find a map (he doesn't know the way to his wife's work?) and his cell phone. Then he goes out the door and on his adventurous way. Well, he goes out the door and meets a homeless person who immediately lets him know the situation and gloms on for the rest of the game. Each scene plays like a mini-escape game. There is always a main goal, whether it be making it to the next scene over or around some obstacle, or helping some civilian who has been trapped by falling debris. Hover the cursor around the area until a question mark or gears appear, marking the hotspots. Click on the correct hotspot(s), and you'll get a clue as to what needs to be done, as well as the appearance of sparkles indicating a hidden object scene. Collect items from a list in each hidden object scene, many of those items will end up being ones you need to solve the main puzzle. Figure out the main puzzle and use your handy map to navigate to the next area.
Hints... well, the hint system in Escape the Museum 2 may be the most original ever featured in an adventure/hidden object hybrid. Remember the homeless guy? He will follow David constantly and act as a guru. Confused as to what steps to take to complete the main puzzle? You can click on a photo of the homeless dude and he will give you step-by-step instructions. Reached an area that is impassible? Homeless dude will offer to show you the way over, through, or around, in exchange for you finding 10 objects for his many precious "collections". Can't spot that one item in the HOG scene? Click on a picture of the homeless dude and a bottle will fly into the scene, shattering where the object in question resides. Yes, you heard me right. The homeless dude actually chucks bottles at things to show you where they are! Best. Hint system. EVER!
Each area that David visits has more than just the main puzzle. There are other hidden objects to find that will become very important later, as well as several side quests involving toys, lost pets, lost children, and worried adults. Stars will appear at the beginning of the scene by the menu/inventory area and will light up when a task is completed. So take time to explore! Oh, but be careful with the excess incorrect clicks. Remember, David has some sort of blood pressure condition, and multiple quick wrong clicks will drive his heart rate up into the danger zone, causing the screen to go a lovely shade of red while the sound of his rapidly beating heart overwhelms the background music.
Analysis: Escape the Museum was a pioneer in the Adventure/HOG field, and Escape the Museum 2 goes all-out to top the original. Better graphics, more tension, more adventure, and one of the funniest hint systems ever seen in a game. You might say, "but practically every hybrid coming out today has great graphics," and you would be right. Where Escape the Museum excels is in the gameplay as well, creating a tense, tight, wonderful adventure that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
The artwork in the original Escape the Museum was good, but suffered from an unfortunate "graininess" which made it sometimes difficult to distinguish items in the dark, cluttered rooms. No such problems in Escape the Museum 2! The adventure and HOG scenes are bright, clear, sharp, and photo real. The story of David and his family is told in pretty, watercolor type cut-scenes in-between the adventure sequences. Appropriately frantic music and sound effects round out the gameplay experience.
As is the recent trend, Escape the Museum 2 is shorter than the original, although it still contains a full 30 escape scenes, each with its own puzzles, HOG scenes, and side quests. Not as long as Escape the Museum, but not as short as some games on the market today, Escape the Museum 2 should still deliver a good 2 - 3 hours of fantastic casual gameplay. And as with many games of the genre, a lot of the items from the HOG scenes have absolutely nothing to do with the ongoing story. You need to find a seagull to keep a gas station from blowing up? Really? Well, no, not really. The final big puzzle is quite intricate, but the game practically holds your hand through the whole thing, making it much simpler than it could have been.
Still, the adventure/escape gameplay is something to behold. Have fun as you try to escape downed wires; keep a gas station from exploding; escape from the back of a police cruiser using only chewing gum, a bobby pin, and and a dime; and rifle through some person's wallet and use their credit cards as well. What? They shouldn't have written down their PIN and left it in their wallet, should they.
Lapses in logic aside, Escape the Museum 2 is a colorful, wild ride that tops the original in just about every aspect. So buckle up, find that map, charge your cell phone, unleash your inner MacGuyver, and get ready to navigate your way through a collapsing city. Just ignore the homeless guy following you around like a lost puppy. Really, he's there to help.