This week's Weekday Escape is definitely on the light side. Considering how hot it has been this summer (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), perhaps heavier, meatier fare should wait until temperatures drop below 90 degrees. I know some of you out there are protesting, "but I like summer!" Well, heat = bad. More people die from heat in the US in any given year than all other natural disasters combined. And if you've ever suffered through a bad summer in a small apartment or condo with no air conditioning, you know how terrible it can be. It's especially tough on pets, because it is harder for them to cool down. What can pets do to cool off? Coincidentally, this week's room escape features two pets who try to figure it out. Yes, Wan and Nyan, the jumping dog and punching cat are back in Cogito Ergo Sum's Hot Escape.
Last seen in A Cold Escape, poor Wan and Nyan just want to take a nap, but it's too darn hot. And unfortunately, turning on the AC (of course cats can turn on the AC) blows the main breaker, leaving the poor pets without electricity of any kind, even the shopping channel that they were sleeping to (what, it's the only way to watch a shopping channel). It's so hot in the apartment that they appear to have temporarily lost their jumping and punching powers, leaving the casual gamer to sort that out along with everything else. Navigate the small space, solve some puzzles, use some found objects, and soon Wan and Nyan will be their old cheerful selves again. They'll be even happier if you can find the second, happy ending to this adorable little point-and-click adventure.
Despite the lack of a changing cursor, objects in Hot Escape are easy to spot and easy to pick up. Inventory control is accomplished with one click (use an object) or two (look at an object in close up). Navigation is a breeze as there are handy arrows at the edges of the screen to let you know where you can turn. There's even a save button and a mute button to help, although most room escape fanatics should be out before they need to use them. And since there are two different escapes, it's nice that the game has a retry function, which allows the gamer to go back to the point of decision and try something different to get that different ending.
Okay, so Hot Escape is not the Einstein of room escapes. What it lacks in depth of puzzles it makes up for in sheer charm. The cutesy pastel cartoon backgrounds, the lovable pets, the amusing "Engrish" translation, all of it fuses together with some decent logic and puzzle solving to create a delightful little confection, perfect escaping happiness even if it is for a very short time. For those suffering from the heat, it is a light snack that doesn't weigh down. And if you're in the southern hemisphere where it's winter, well, there's still a lot of fun to be had with Wan and Nyan. Does it feel hot in here to you? Then get ready to escape the heat!