Escapers #05 Space
Not-quite-new from always excellent Japanese designer 58 Works, (#07 ML, Cottage) Escapers #05 Space is a wonderful, uncomplicated shot of pure escape game goodness. Substantive and entertaining yet not too tough, Escapers #05 Space could be the perfect oasis in the middle of your hectic week.
With no explanation, you find yourself aboard what appears to be, judging from the vast starry skies glimpsed through the portholes, a space station. You are locked in a storage room, but getting out of there shouldn't be too difficult; the real challenge comes after you stumble across the very handy but frustratingly underfueled spaceship that offers your only chance of escape. Can you muster your wits to solve the puzzles, fix the ship and find a way back home?
The answer to that question, for those with even a modicum of escape game experience, is probably "yes." Escapers #05 Space is not very difficult; the game only has a handful of puzzles, and the ones it does have can be solved with a minimum of fuss. "Easy", however, does not necessarily imply "not clever." In fact, Escapers #05 Space is an extremely satisfying little game. Everything just fits together so well; each puzzle's clues flow perfectly into its solution, nothing is too esoteric or difficult to understand, and your efforts leads to a satisfying conclusion. What the game lacks in intellectual challenge is more than made up for by the strength of its construction and gratifying sense of logic.
Visually, the game is quite nice, with uncluttered graphics eminently suitable to the environment. Like other games by 58 Works, Escapers #05 Space lacks any sort of soundtrack (which, considering that the game takes place in outer space, is just fine). There's no save feature, which generally I would find deeply annoying, but in a game this short it isn't really a big deal. The inventory is simple and clean, navigating is easy to do and pixel-hunting is near-nonexistent: excellent all around!
Escapers #05 Space is wonderfully refreshing. True, it may not be hugely ambitious either technically or in terms of its puzzles, and it's not quite as sophisticated nor as developed as 58 Works' later creations. Nevertheless, the game is well-constructed, entertaining and breathtakingly logical; the latter quality, in particular, can be very difficult to find in an escape game. If you've been ever been confounded by an escape game's seemingly inexplicable "logic" or spent hours clicking everywhere except a room's one-millimeter-wide hotspot, you're going to relish playing this one. Enjoy!