Escape from the Room 202
One of the best things about doing Weekday Escape is the chance to peruse the work of new room escape designers. There's a lot of...well, not-so-good stuff out there, but every once in a while you happen across someone who really gets the genre, and then it is a pleasure to introduce them to our faithful readers. This week we're featuring one of those relatively new designers (at least, new to Weekday Escape), Tsukisuna-sou and their wonderful room escape gem Escape from the Room 202.
Despite the unimaginative name this is quite a fun and imaginative little classic one-room escape. The puzzles are nicely varied and there is a lot of combination and use of found objects, always a plus when trying to find your way out of a locked space. Navigation can be a little tricky at first due to the fact that the usual side-screen bars tend to only move you about 45 degrees as opposed to the usual 90 degrees, resulting in some lovely head-on and kitty-corner views of this pretty little room. There is an easy to use inventory system (which features a lovely "about" button), the ability to mute both the incidental sounds and the rather repetitious music clip, all that's missing control-wise is a save button, which would be nice because Escape from the Room 202 has two endings, albeit the simplest iteration of two escape endings (getting out with or without a particular object in hand).
On the downside (and isn't there always a downside?) the game is in Japanese, so the beginning and ending text is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't read the language, rather like Tesshi-e games used to be. Inside the game, however, the dialogue text is thankfully in both English and Japanese, so while you may not understand the set-up or conclusion you will not be confused within the game itself. At least, not confused as to language, the puzzles might confuse you a bit at first. The other problem is the usual lack of a changing cursor and the concomitant pixel hunting. Some of the visual clues can be a bit hard to see amongst the brightness that permeates the space as well.
What is nice to see with Escape from the Room 202, though, is a designer who seriously understands how an escape game should flow. The puzzles are pretty logical and easy to figure out, making this escape a perfect bite-sized mid-week break. There is also something else we like to see in room escape designs, lively little touches that are not necessarily important to the gameplay but that add that extra something that elevates an escape from standard to delightful. You have to love a game that features both an Akabeko (think Japanese bobble-head paper mache cow) and the idea that anything is better with a little olive oil (a person after my own heart). Let's welcome Tsukisuna-sou to the ranks of promising game designers and have fun playing this wonderful new effort.