Mild Escape 5
Aimlessly walking can lead to many discoveries as you wander down the byways of whatever city or town you happen to be in. Ambling without purpose you might find your feet leading you through a plain, bricked alleyway to a mysterious door as a plaintive tune tickles on the ivories of your mind. It was with one such imaginary journey four years ago Tesshi-e made their debut upon the room escape scene, and as the anniversary looms it is time once again to visit that strange alley and door in Mild Escape 5.
Every year that strange room that the door in Mild Escape leads to gets sparser and stranger. This time around Tesshi-e appears to have taken some design hints from other room escape mavens such as Robamimi with a set of puzzles that are more difficult and more elegant, including some items providing the solution to more than one puzzle and even an interesting new twist on the dinosaur of room escaping, the wobbly picture puzzle. The room in Mild Escape 5 has even less furniture, decorations, and clutter than usual, giving the gamer a space that while appearing empty is actually chock-full of mysteries. The usual two escape scenarios (featuring the happy coin, of course) give way not to a night on the town, or a nice meal, but heartfelt thanks from the designer to those of us who have hung on for the room escaping ride of a lifetime.
There's really nothing to complain about in Mild Escape 5. The puzzles are tricky and satisfying with some neat solutions, the construction is at a minimum, the English translations are terrific, the controls are top notch, and the color puzzles come with text making them solvable even for the colorblind. With more minimal decorations than usual there is virtually no pixel hunting to be found. Who needs a changing cursor, anyway? It's time to raise a toast in celebration of Tesshi-e's 73rd astonishing room escape efforts and once again enjoy the tricky, twisty, mistily nostalgic mind of Tesshi-e.