Cube Escape: The Mill
You've come a long, long way, baby, and in Rusty Lake's immensely popular creepy and surreal escape series, you've got miles to go before you sleep. In Cube Escape: The Mill, also free for iOS and Android, once again you're surrounded by four walls (plus a ceiling a floor, naturally) and a whole lot of cryptic contraptions that don't seem to be working. Click on things to interact, and use the tiny black arrows at the edges of the screen to move around the room. To use an item, click it in your inventory on the right, and then again wherever you'd like to try it. There is, as usual, no changing cursor, so make sure you hunt everywhere. Sometimes you may need to click things in the right spot to interact with them properly, and if things get weird, well... this is a Rusty Lake game we're talking about. And yes, you will want to gird your loins for a jumpscare or two.
Like most of the Cube Escape games, The Mill doesn't hold your hand. It leaves you to figure out how to solve its strange puzzles while it stands in a corner and stares, muttering disconcertingly. By now, you either love or hate the game's "sink or swim" approach to its gameplay, and some of its puzzles are flat-out baffling until you experiment with them to find connections and understand their mechanics, something compounded by, in one instance, a hard-to-see clue, and more often, finicky interaction. Just because something didn't do anything when you clicked there doesn't mean it wouldn't have something else for you if it clicked here, which isn't always intuitive. Though The Mill isn't the weirdest entry in the series we've had, it's still got its share of surprising mysteries, and that bit of slightly unnerved delight whenever you encounter something off the wall is a large part of the appeal. Though it really doesn't answer all the questions the series has raised, it connects a few dots in surprising ways, the sort of thing that makes you go "Hmmmm" in a wise, contemplative way to hide how baffled you are even though it might have the closest approximation of exposition we've gotten so far. Cube Escape: The Mill is morbidly gorgeous, creative, unexpected, and shocking, and will definitely have you on edge until the next installment.