Ah, it's Wednesday again! Normally that would mean the long, draggy day in the middle of the work week, and we here at Weekday Escape would be working to come up with some charming, fun escape to help ease the stress of the day. But this Wednesday is a little different, isn't it? You're dealing not just with the usual mid-week stress, but the unenviable position of being between two holidays as well. You've just managed to get over Christmas, and New Year's Day is rapidly approaching. What in the world could we come up with that would help with that? Have no fear, Grinnyp is here, and she has the perfect solution. Let's play Fireplace, the latest room escape from Petithima.
One of the things I've enjoyed most over this past year and a half (almost two years now) of writing for Jayisgames is the ability to see the progression of many talented room designers. It's been an absolute pleasure to see someone like Tesshi-e evolve from a fairly standard, somewhat strange room escaper to the powerhouse they've become. And now, we have a new talented designer whose progression we can see from the very beginning as well. Petithima hit big with our readers with an early game Choc-mint, and it's been fun to see each escape get better and better. Fireplace is no exception, and it is lovely to see this capable game designer stretch into a serious contender.
What makes Fireplace such a touchstone? Well, dear readers, Petithima, known for their lovely little two (or three) view games, has made the leap into the third dimension. Yes, Fireplace is a fully realized, 3D space that you can navigation around just as in other room escape games. Now that Petithima has discovered the Z axis, the sky is the limit.
Being the next logical step in room escape design is not all there is to Fireplace, though. While expanding our horizons Petithima has not neglected the things that make their games so good: excellent, original puzzle design, logical progressions, and a fantastic control structure in which to play. Navigation is by the usual bars at the sides and bottom of the screen, and of course there are all the bells and whistles included with a save option, a mute button, easy inventory control, and the blessed changing cursor that eliminates so much pixel hunting.
Analysis: Some game designers are happy to rest on their laurels, to coast a bit with each new game. Not so Petithima, and you can see the progression in each game as they stretch mightily each time around. You would think the leap into the third dimension would be enough, but no, Petithima has put a lot of effort into making sure that the puzzles are still fresh and original, and a nice mix of logic, math, and use of found objects.
The artwork is still pretty typical of Petithima's style, flat, cartoony, and somewhat sparse. The only complaint about the graphics, though, is that the game comes across as a bit pixelated. Not enough to be retro, just enough to look as if the game backgrounds are stretched a little too large. However, this doesn't detract from the gameplay experience. Adding to the experience is a nice little light jazz number playing in the background, mellow, but not quite elevator music.
So Fireplace fits brilliantly into Petithima's ever increasing catalog of escape games, a transition to bigger and better things, we hope. Amusing, entertaining, and original, Fireplace is not only a great escape game to play, it is the perfect mid-week mid-holiday stress reliever you've been looking for. It's still a few days early, but let's raise a toast to a talented new designer whose games just keep getting better and better. To Petithima, long may they challenge us to escape!