The sun is shining and the birds are singing, so naturally it's a beautiful day to lock yourself inside a room lacking any basic amenities whatsoever! In TomaTea's Blue Cage escape game, the door is once more locked, and you find yourself trapped in a place that looks like Snow White and the Smurfs had a fight on how to design a tea room. It's beautiful, sure, with its soft pastel colours and fairytale furniture, but nobody can live on quaint birdhouses and mosaic artwork alone, so you'll need to explore to find a way out. The tip of your cursor will light up with a faint glow if you can interact with something by clicking, and objects in your inventory can be examined and manipulated up close by clicking the little "i" icon that appears when you mouse over them. Doing so is important since this can often wind up revealing different uses for the items you've got. Clues for solving the puzzles you're faced with are hidden around the room, sometimes in plain sight, sometimes with more subtlety, so you'll need to think carefully about everything you're seen if you want to find a way out.
Blue Cage is a gorgeous little game with its whimsical design and presentation, but it might also be the first TomaTea game that had me scrambling for the mute option in the menu after just a few seconds, since the short chirping birds loop wears out its welcome quickly compared to the soundtracks we've had in the past. You'll still encounter the dreaded "I have no idea how to solve this!" message if you haven't seen the clue you need for a particular puzzle, but at the same time, Blue Cage still feels a bit more challenging than some of the developer's other titles by being less obviously linear by having more items to use scattered about right off the bat, so you have to think about your inventory and how it might relate to your environment as opposed to just going from puzzle to puzzle in a clear and obvious progression. It's a more careful balance between item puzzles and puzzle locks this time around, and has a surprising amount of sneaky complexity in some areas to boot that will force you to really scour every nook and cranny and get creative with your inventory. Once you've found your way out, maybe open a real door and step outside into the real world for a bit, too. Living birds are considerably sweeter on the ear than electronic ones, and they have more variety to their playlist, too.