Leave it to the internet to turn being locked in a room into a genre. The escape game is one of those things that seems like it should be weird, but when you get right down to it, it's plugging into our inner MacGuyver. You know, that secret part of yourself you would never acknowledge has been ready to be a Secret Agent the moment you got the call? Here are three escape games that play with the genre a little to serve up something a bit different than your standard "locked in a room full of unnecessarily complicated locks created by the Umbrella Corporation" theme to get you primed and ready to break out of any fiendish arch-nemesis capture plot you might encounter today. You know... just in case.
- Casual Gameplay Escape - We love you guys; you keep us in business, you're witty, and you smell very nice. Also, you're quite talented! In 2008 we teamed with puzzle mastermind and community member Sean Hawkes to create this very special escape game. The premise couldn't be simpler; you're trapped in a room and you want to get out. However, a combination of creativity and challenge all dressed up with a bit of intrigue makes this one easily stand out from a sea of otherwise identical escape games. It's always nice when a game in this genre encourages puzzle-solving beyond "use screwdriver on cage of antlions", and Casual Gameplay Escape's sideways approach to each of its obstacles makes it well worth experiencing even today.
- Crazy Doors of Rainbow Colors - Breaking from the usual escape-the-room setup is this lovely, charming, and quirky (a quality that Japanese escape game designers know how to do extremely well) escape featuring a stark white-walled room upon which you will be creating many crazy doors of ...yep ...rainbow colors. Challenging and unique, game designer Shanben Izakamakura has created a game that's a breath of fresh air from all the samey escape games out there. If you're not smiling and happy by the end of this one you really should be.
- Magneto Syndrome - Juliana Reina's curious and strange escape game may not include a puzzle where you have to strip the adamantium from someone's bones, but you will have to master some magnetism in order to proceed. You wake up to find yourself in a tank in some sort of research facility, apparently having been betrayed by someone you considered a friend, and the only way to get out is to manipulate the metallic objects in your environment without attracting the attention of your observer... and that's just the beginning. The decision to force you to restart upon failure is a frustrating one, but Magneto Syndrome is a clever twist on the genre that drives you forward as you try to figure out just what's going on. It's a little bloody and a little blue, and a little short, but is a great concept and one that would be nice to see explored again. Maybe... with a certain fuzzy blue elf? Hmmm!
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!