The hot, muggy air is filled with the sounds of insects and rustling leaves. The dense underbrush closes in, filled with mysterious animal cries, creating a claustrophobic nightmare. Creeping along, deep in the humid jungles of Guatemala, you, an intrepid explorer, are looking for a lost Mayan city. Or, perhaps, just the nearest Starbucks. Who can tell, because Mayan Escape, this week's room escape puzzle begins after you fall into a mysterious Mayan tomb. How you got there is left to the imagination.
Created by Tomaslav Podhraski, Mayan Escape is a fun little classic room escape. Whomever is buried here must not have been very important as this is an extremely small tomb. Yet a lot of puzzling fun is packed into the four walls of what might be more properly called a tombette. Along with the standard logic puzzles and use of found objects it is really nice to see puzzles usually reserved for larger download games, like slider puzzles and pipe puzzles.
The tombette itself is done up beautifully in 3D with colors and textures that make it feel like the real thing, perhaps minus the stinging insects and biting snakes that you would probably otherwise encounter. A spooky soundtrack only enhances the claustrophobic feel of being trapped underground, leaving the casual gamer wanting to get out.
What makes Mayan Escape so much fun is the amount of polish that has gone into such a basic game. Cursors that change to arrows for navigation or gears to indicate objects that can be manipulated, handy inventory control, kicking sound and graphics, this little gem resembles a chapter in an actual download game. In fact, the quality is such that it is perhaps better than a chapter in some recent download point-and-click adventures on the market.
The act of picking up an object is a little clumsy (click once to get some dialogue, click a second time to actually acquire the object); plus the difficulty of the final puzzle (hopefully you know a little about Mayan iconography) and the short length are only minor quibbles in an otherwise strong, atmospheric, and fun time waster. Mayan Escape is definitely worth the trip (sorry), and experienced room escapers should have a blast without losing too much time from work or sleep or whatever it is you guys do when Weekday Escape comes out. Come, immerse yourself in a game worth experiencing, deep in the jungles of Guatemala (or wherever)...