Escape to the Spa
Are you tired and stressed from all that room escaping? Well it's time to sooth those jittery nerves caused by all that construction and puzzle solving. Doesn't a restful day in the spa sound nice? Mind you, once you're in the locker room, it can be slightly difficult to find the pool. Okay, so you'll have to escape to get that nice relaxing soak! Welcome to Escape to the Spa by Tesshi-e. No one ever said relaxing was easy.
Escape to the Spa is a bit odd for an escape game in that you're not really escaping from or to anything (other than the usual mid-week blahs). Mostly you're just trying to find the pool, not unlike many a real spa. The action takes place in one of the nicest locker rooms ever seen. Of course, it is a spa after all, and probably an expensive one at that. All you have to do is solve several puzzles in order to get that long-delayed relaxation. Real spas, however, probably don't make their customers jump through as many hoops.
Navigation is the usual bars at the edges of the screen, and clicking on other areas or items can get you a close up. A handy "about item" button makes inventory control smooth and easy. Surprisingly, although there's some use of found objects, there is no construction to be seen. Pity there's no changing cursor, though, so be prepared for some pixel hunting.
Analysis: Tesshi-e always creates interesting escapes, whether you're trying to get a meal , or you've stumbled into an underground industrial area. Escape to the Spa is unusual for Tesshi-e; no construction or color puzzles are to be found. This is all use of found objects, pure logic, and math. A nice change.
You're in the usual Tesshi-e space: three dimensional, luxurious, with surfaces that beg to be touched. It all looks like a very upscale Japanese spa, from the fixtures to the warm wood floors and ceiling. The accompanying slow Jazz piano piece complements the game perfectly, interesting and yet soothing and relaxing, just the sort of thing to put you in the mood for a trip to the spa. And of course, it wouldn't be Tesshi-e without an alternate, "happy coin" escape.
With the positives come a few negatives. The game is in Japanese, although a few key English phrases will pop up when they are most needed. You don't need to be able to read Japanese to enjoy the game, though; everything is pure logic. Despite the lack of English, this is perhaps the most accessible of Tesshi-e's games. No color puzzles to confound the colorblind, and no construction to infuriate the mechanically inept. Just smooth music, a very Zen space, and lots of escaping logic to serve your casual gameplay needs. Get ready for a relaxing trip, complete with a nice hot soak waiting at the end.