Cube Escape: Theater
If all the world's a stage, then Rusty Lake is putting on some seriously weird play, or at least playing with your brain. Good thing that's the way we like it! In creepy surreal escape game Cube Escape: Theater, also free for iOS and Android, the lake draws you deeper into the past of its tormented protagonist... this time to a small theater in 1971. As you might expect from a Rusty Lake game, however, things are definitely off, and the more you start to poke around, the weirder things get. There's no changing cursor, so you'll have to click around and explore on your own to figure out what's interactive and what isn't. Unlike some escape games, the Cube Escape series has always operated on its own logic, so don't be afraid to experiment with item combinations or using things in unlikely places if you get stuck.
If it's weird, unsettling, and, yes, makes you jump a little bit, then you know all is right with the world and you're playing a Rusty Lake game. Cube Escape: Theater proves that despite the lengthy library in the series, the developers are still coming up with creative ways to play with puzzles and recurring story themes. If you haven't played the other Cube Escape games, then you're likely going to be lost as to any conceivable plot here... while still enjoyable solely as an abstract, mind-warping puzzle, Theater makes no effort to explain anything that's going on to newcomers, though, let's face it, some of the regulars are still probably a little pleasantly befuddled by now too. One of the series' weak points has always been how precarious it teeters on the line between "fun and ambiguously creative" and "just plain unintuitive" when it comes to the otherworldly logic that needs to be applied to some puzzles. Theater is a little better about stringing hints and subtle direction throughout than some of its predecessors, but you'll still be mystified from time to time as you try to figure out either what the game wants from you, or simply how to achieve it. It's a stylish game, of course, and beautiful in a morbid sort of way, and jump scares are less used in favour of striking imagery, though still present depending on your tolerance. It ends with a "to be continued", however, so don't expect this strange ride we're on to come to a conclusion just yet.