The whole premise behind Selfdefiant's escape game Arendel is that you and your friends thought it was a swell idea to go inside an abandoned asylum late at night, so I'm not entirely convinced you didn't deserve it (or at least a Darwin Award) when the doors slammed shut and trapped you inside. Now you're surrounded by a bunch of glowy purple orbs and enough locked doors with colour-coded keyholes to make me think you've been captured by an Umbrella Corporation villain, so if you want to find your way out, it's time to get to puzzle solving. Don't mind the skeleton hands, they're here to help. To play, just click to interact when your cursor changes, and deposit items in your inventory at the bottom of the screen to pick them up, or click an icon again to hold an item for use. Once you have something to hold them in, the purple orbs can be gathered to purchase things from the shadowy figure at the front desk... just, uh... maybe don't sign any contracts it offers you. Don't mind the timer... it's just there to keep track of how long it takes you to find a way out.
Selfdefiant is easily one of the most prolific escape game developers out there, with often multiple game releases in a week, and the main reason they aren't featured here more often, despite frequent requests and submission, is that they typically feel a little rough around the edges. Arendel's user interface is a bit clunky, with navigation feeling unnecessarily circuitous, and items tend to blend too well into the frequently gloomy backgrounds. It is, on the other hand, a really ambitious game, with a huge map, a great atmosphere, and a solid balance of item usage versus puzzle solving. Two of the items you can purchase from ye olde orb merchant are actually optional and help streamline finding your way around a little, but you'll need one of them to find your way out for good. Don't expect a story or much fanfare around the ending, but despite its bumpy spots, Arendel is well worth a look if you're already a fan of the developer's, or have been wanting to see what all the fuss is about. And for goodness' sake, take it as a cautionary tale. "I went into this dark abandoned place for no good reason" is how approximately 99.9% of those torn, faded, desperately scrawled notes you find in horror games begin, right after the ones about the veracity of baked goods.