Wow! Just two weeks following their last release, increasingly prolific Japanese developer Place of Light has bequeathed onto us Loom Blend, another high-quality escape game to satisfy our mid-week cravings. Most excellent! The game's scenario is nothing new: you are in a room filled with diabolical puzzles and more than a few secrets, and must employ all of your wits to escape. A simple premise, but one that Place of Light does very well.
Before I get on with the review proper, one quick thing I want to mention: after Loom Blend loads, two swastikas appear around the game's title. These are not, however, the type of swastikas associated with the Nazis; rather, they are symbols of good fortune that have been used around the world for thousands of years. Nazi swastikas are tilted and the "arms" always run clockwise, while the traditional symbol is not tilted and may run in either direction. The swastikas that appear in the game fall into the latter category.
Ok! Lesson over, on to the review. Loom Blend is, to put it simply, excellent. Place of Light has consistently presented some of the best escape games out there, and this one is no exception; with attractive graphics, some exceedingly clever (and, for the most part, logical) puzzles and a professional, clean interface (complete with save feature!), Loom Blend is a joy to play. Oftentimes, one of the most enjoyable elements of an escape game is the room's transformation from seemingly ordinary to intriguingly complex as the player discovers its secrets; Place of Light seems particularly skilled at these sort of metamorphoses.
You will, several times during the course of the game, be presented with Japanese characters without an English translation. Don't panic! You do not need to know what they say or mean in order to escape. You may have to remember or identify the characters when solving some of the puzzles, but that's completely doable without an understanding of the language. Unfortunately, however, for those of you running Linux the game may be unplayable; it seems that there's one code (that changes every play-through) that Linux has a text display issue with and so will not display. Sorry, Linux guys/gals.
For the lucky rest, you're in for a real treat. So, enjoy...and let's hope that Place of Light keeps up the pace!