Room Escape SIX
A lighter. Some flour. A stick, a rock, a knife and a towel. How, using only these handful of items, can you escape a room? Six different ways, apparently, at least in Room Escape SIX, a new escape-the-room game from Japanese designer Kotaro. You are the latest challenger to enter a strange, hexagon-shaped building that exists solely to be escaped from; how you do so depends upon the way in which you use the room's odd furnishings.
This game is a bit unusual in that the meat of its challenge takes place on the inventory screen. After the room's objects have been collected (which will take, even the first time you play, a total of about 30 seconds) you can begin the entertaining, experimental process of combining them. Each method of escape requires certain combinations of objects (and/or actions to be performed upon those items); as you might imagine, this involves a good bit of trial-and-error. To a limited extent, it is possible to reverse the combining process; with the push of a button, you can separate an object into its original component parts. This only works, however, if the separation process is realistically feasible. For example, if you've tied the towel to the stick, you can separate the two; if you've cut the towel into pieces and realized it was a mistake, however, tough luck. In the latter situation, the "Reset" button is your only option.
You'll probably be using that button a lot. The constant resetting can become a little bit tedious, but the short setup time needed to get back to where you were pre-mistake keeps it from being too much of a bother. It's a lot of fun to explore the different ways you can use and combine the objects; the game has a great sense of fun and whimsy, and an undeniable but not cloying cuteness. My one complaint is that one of the six endings (the simplest, ironically) is, in my opinion, really unintuitive. The other five, however, are all reasonably logical, and you'll probably stumble upon the last one by mistake anyways.
The game's graphics are simple and colorful, not extraordinary but certainly pleasant enough to look at. A soundtrack would have been nice, but the game's lack of one isn't a huge detriment. There is no pixel hunting, and navigating around the room is easy. The inventory system, by far the game's most important feature, is set up in a straightforward, user-friendly manner. Also, while there's no save button, the game will remember what methods of escape you've already discovered. You can play, find an ending, leave, come back and escape two more times, and so on--the game is basically a series of little escape vignettes. This makes it the perfect two-minute diversion, ideal for slipping in between classes or on a coffee break. Enjoy!