What happens when two of the best known names in the room escape business team up? You get a charming little piece like First Love, is what. Created by Bianco-Bianco (Dr. Ichie, Mystery House in Japan) and Robamimi (Who Am I? Remake, The Wedding Anniversary) First Love is not your ordinary escape. Call it a holiday gift to you.
To begin with, you are not attempting to escape anything. You are, in fact, attempting a walk down memory lane, to a decade ago when you and your first love parted. The action takes place in a lovely little chapel, the last place you two met, and your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find the picture you both drew on that fateful day. Will you find the picture? Will your first love meet you as promised? You'll have to play to find out.
Navigation through the space can be a little tricky at first. Turning left and right is simple, bars will appear at the sides of the screen. However, you are walking through a narrow chapel, so in order to see some things to your right or left, you will first have to move forward. Luckily, pixel hunting will be at a minimum thanks to the nice changing cursor, which indicates areas that can be clicked. There's no construction or combining of objects to be had here, just puzzles and mind games. And memories...
The backgrounds are of the beautiful quality you would expect from Bianco-Bianco and Robamimi. From the charming little chapel all done up for Christmas, to the warm glow of the basement everything is a treat for the eyes. Accompanying your quest is a peaceful little tune, which can be handily muted if it becomes annoying. There's even a save button if you wish to stop and come back later.
Analysis: First Love is a nice combination of Robamimi's sentiment and Bianco-Bianco's quirkiness. This is not a tense nail-biter, nor a pure cold logic puzzle. Instead, it is a warm and fuzzy nostalgia trip that is perfect for a short break from the holiday madness.
No, it's not the hardest room escape out there. Nor the cutest, nor the quirkiest. First Love has its own quiet charm, it's calm and soothing, and it has just enough difficulty to make it a challenge. The only quarrel you might have is that one of the main puzzles is color-based, making it rather inaccessible for those with color-blindness.
Now that the holiday is finally here, and you've stuffed yourself silly and are tired of family fighting and football, take a 15 minute break from the day and enjoy some casual gameplay. Remember, it's sometimes fun not to escape from something, but to escape to something. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.