I don't think I could describe Smile For Me, the sweet new escape game by Japanese designer Robamimi, any better than the game does itself: "This is escape game, but have not to escape. Sorry, you die please. You become a departed, and change to the smile the sorrowing bereaved." Says it all, don't you think?
Okay, okay, maybe not. To translate: in Smile For Me, you are a recently deceased person who, seeing the tears of a grieving loved one, seeks to bring joy to that individual. But how, exactly, are you going to accomplish that? In your new home, a silvery room high in the sky, you'll have to solve puzzles and use the heavenly tools at your disposal to bring a moment of happiness to your bereaved beloved. Awww.
I liked Smile For Me a lot. It's earnestly and unabashedly sentimental—which, in a world that at times seems to look down upon genuine emotion, is actually really refreshing. The puzzles are for the most part challenging without becoming overwhelming, though I did come across a few "seriously? you expected me to do that?" moments of eyebrow-raising "logic." Happily, a hint system is in place to bring you through those occasional bumps in the road. You'll also need to do a little math, so be prepared to pull out your calculator. Your reward for completing Smile For Me is a one of the nicest endings I've seen in an escape-the-room game, sweet and a little sad. You might find yourself genuinely moved.
The game is very well-crafted, with the excellent graphics we've come to expect from Robamimi as well as a mellow, melodic soundtrack. A save feature is provided, and a square mute button can be located above the inventory. Although the game is not heavy on pixel-hunting, be sure to check each and every clickable location (there are quite a few of them); if at some point you seem to be missing an important item from your inventory, rechecking previously visited areas will probably help. Also, on the game's title screen (after it has loaded), be sure to click "English" before you press "Play."
If you're in the mood to kill monsters and blow things up with comically oversized weaponry, this is not the game for you. If, however, you feel like you might like a breath of fresh air, a few minutes of unadorned sincerity to cleanse your palate (and a darn good escape game to boot), then click on the link below. It'll definitely make you smile.