Strange Magic Escape
Hosted here with kind permission by creator Eric Vaughan, Strange Magic Escape (also playable at the official site) is, as the title might imply, an escape game that's just a little weird... in a good way. You find yourself in a small room with two locked doors, though only one leads out, and you'll need to solve the puzzles around you to find the clues needed to open the final lock. There's no changing cursor to show what's interactive and what isn't, but there's also no pixel hunting either. Just click on things to examine them or pick them up, and use the arrows that appear at the edges of the screen to move around the room. If an item can be combined with another you're carrying, it'll happen automatically, and if you want to try using something, just click it to highlight, and then click again wherever you want to try to use it. Some items may take a little time to take effect, so take a step back and nose around the room a little from time to time.
The way some items stick around in your inventory even after you've gotten their use out of them may lead people astray a bit, as will some objects around you that may act as red herrings, of a sort. By and large, however, Strange Magic Escape manages to feel clever without ever being unfair. Once you actually figure out what to do, the game won't take you very long, but each puzzle is well thought out and implemented within the environment. The whole thing looks fantastic, with smooth, polished visuals that animate beautifully, and some surprisingly clever details tucked into certain places. While it's not as big in scope as some other titles out there, Strange Magic Escape feels professionally polished and doesn't waste your time. There are a few ways that the game provides some nudges that work quite well, but most of the puzzles manage to be intuitive on their own, combining interesting mechanisms with just enough whimsy to live up to the name. Strange Magic Escape will leave you wanting more in a good way, and hopefully isn't the last escape game we see from its creator. Oh, and make sure you sit around for the whole ending... it's worth it.