Escape from the Pumpkin Room
Aren't you getting tired of the constant ghosts, zombies, scare fests, etc.? Are you craving something more intellectual, something that doesn't involve shooting or blood spatter? Then why don't you try Escape from the Pumpkin Room by Tesshi-e, a calm, relaxed, simple escape the room game in which the only connection with the season are the jack-o-lanterns present in the space.
There's no prologue, no back-story, just you in a locked room. And a lovely room it is, too. Mind you, it would be nice to leave, so let's explore, shall we? As with most room escape games you must search the room for clues and objects that will help you get out. Poke around, open everything (if you can), and see how quickly you can leave and get that cup of coffee you've been craving.
Navigation is smooth and simple, with bars at the edges of the screen allowing you to wander through the room. There's no changing cursor, so there is a bit of a pixel hunt, but most objects are fairly easy to spot and they seem to have adequate clickable areas. Inventory control is a simple tool-box at the bottom of the screen with a friendly "about item" button to allow you to more closely examine anything you might happen to pick up. If the accordion music becomes too annoying, there is always the volume control or mute button at the ready. As with all of Tesshi-e's games there is no save button, but there's no real need for one.
Analysis: Occasionally it's nice just to sit back, relax, and fire up the little gray cells to solve a series of puzzles rather than fry them from constant adrenaline. Escape from the Pumpkin Room is not the most original or taxing room escape game, but it's a wonderful cure for the mid-week blahs. A nice combination of logic puzzle solving and use of found objects guarantees that you will enjoy stretching the neurons a little without ending up slamming your head on the desk in frustration.
As always with Tesshi-e's designs, the room is beautiful to behold in its own minimalist way. Colors, textures, and lighting blend together to create a warm, inviting space. Heck, the room is a place most people wouldn't mind spending time in if they weren't forcibly locked in. Freedom!
Of course, there are a few flaws. The puzzles could be more difficult, but there are some clever ones, and not every escape game can be Lights. Tesshi-e games are usually heavy on the construction, but not this one. Escape from the Pumpkin room is more "how can I use this object to accomplish what I want to do?" rather than "how many of these items can I put together to create something else entirely." Although the game itself is in Japanese, you don't need to understand the language to complete it. Important clues are either in English or are pure logic. And, of course, there's the obligatory "regular escape" and "happy coin escape" so prevalent in Tesshi-e's previous works. Note to those who wish to play: When you follow the link to the page, scroll down a bit as the game is halfway down the page. Just look for the large picture of what looks like a cafe, and you'll see the start button.
So if you're sick of ghouls and goblins, or just want to waste a little time solving puzzles, then fire up Escape from the Pumpkin Room and escape from the prevalence of Halloween-themed games.