The Light Asylum Rooms 1 & 2
"Welcome subject 7." With those chilling words begins a new room escape adventure series by talented Portuguese designer Fausto Fonseca. Welcome to the Light Asylum! At least, welcome to the first two rooms.
You are (apparently) a mental patient in a rather odd facility who would rather be, well, anywhere but there. A disembodied voice will inform you — via text — that you must escape five rooms, starting with this one. Oh, and failure means death. No pressure there. But, the voice goes on to reassure you, this is the easy room. Oh, goody. Of course then you have to worry about the next room.
Navigation through the space is easily accomplished with arrows appearing around the edges of the screen. There is no changing cursor, so you will have to click around some to find the hotspots for close ups. Find objects that will help you solve the logic puzzle that allows you to... well, not escape, but move on to the next room.
Rooms 1 and 2 are the first in a planned series of five rooms. As with other serialized mini-games (the Being One series comes to mind) you will learn more about what, precisely, is going on as you move deeper into the Asylum. And each room will get progressively harder as you go. Of course.
Analysis: Taken together, rooms 1 and 2 of The Light Asylum show a very promising start to what looks to be an entertaining, mind-stretching series. Although there is the obligatory searching for items, the core of escaping each room is a classic logic puzzle. Breaking the story down into little bite-sized chunks makes for fantastic casual gameplay, although if you really enjoy escaping the rooms you might get a little impatient waiting for the next one to appear.
Visually the Light Asylum is a treat. Stark white-on-white decor with only minimal splashes of color highlight the feeling of being institutionalized. Room 1 is a classic of bare, minimal design, most of the color being supplied by a smiley face picture that manages to be simultaneously cheerful and creepy. Despite the almost empty space there's a lot of things to find, so you'd better get busy. Room 2 has more clutter and a little more color and it is also a bit harder than the first room. The music in each room sounds a little... familiar, so fortunately there are two handy mute buttons; one for music, the other for incidental sounds. All that is missing is a save button, although one is not really needed. Experienced gamers should be out of the first room pretty quickly. The second room will take a little longer, but still pretty quick. One thing you won't find, however, is a changing cursor, so there will be some pixel hunting involved to locate the hot spots needed. Other than that, though, there's very little to complain about.
The Light Asylum Rooms 1 and 2 are a nice start, so here's hoping that the next three continue the trend of harder, trickier puzzles as we wind our way through this strange facility. According to the designer the next room should be available by Christmas, so there's something to look forward to (you know, besides presents and all).
Okay, room escape devotees. Time to fire up the little gray cells and get started. Put your thinking caps on, hunker down, and get ready to escape the Light Asylum (at least the first two rooms)!