There's something about creeping down dark corridors, ancient and mysterious symbols and objects littering the walls and floors, that makes Egyptian tombs so irresistible, whether they be in movies, games, or even real life. Now beloved room escape designer Kotorinosu is back and has set its latest attempt in a place that looks like Indiana Jones, Lara Croft or the Mummy would be right at home in. Welcome to Sphinx! (Cue spooky music)
Navigation through this tomb could have been extremely complex if Kotorinosu hadn't created another elegant solution: each room in the tomb is a "one-wall" puzzle, everything in the room can be accessed by facing the front of the room, so that moving from place to place is as simple as moving forward or backwards, without any rotation to confuse the player. The puzzles themselves are Kotorinosu's usual mix of logic and use of found objects, involving a lot of observational skills. While the puzzles haven't reached the heights of complexity found in other works from Neutral (remember the hand-held game found within Lights?) or Valentin Sagrario (I still have nightmares about the radio puzzle in Sagrario's Room Escape), they are pretty challenging and more importantly fit beautifully into the overarching themes that dominate the game. The inventory system is easy to master and there is a save function if you feel the need to walk away for any reason, hopefully not a ragequit but you never know.
What makes Kotorinosu escapes rise head and shoulders above the pack is the care that goes into expressing a theme throughout the game, whether it be the shapes, reflections, or in this case the pictures and symbols of ancient Egypt. Kotorinosu's puzzles and solutions are quiet, elegant, and echo the theme as well, creating a massively entertaining experience that is so much more than "throw a bunch of random puzzles into a four-wall room" that permeates so much room escape design. The delicate balance of theme, puzzle, solution, and space gives Kotorinosu games a unique feel that makes them so popular and so fun to play. Time to get your inner Indiana Jones (or Lara Croft) on and brave Sphinx! Promise, there are no snakes.