Here at the Weekday Escape headquarters, I make it my mission to be all inclusive. My motto being (this week, at least) "There's a flavor for everyone." Who am I to judge if you want to put anchovies on your oatmeal or guacamole in your ice cream? I'm no Ted Allen. I can only offer a sampling trio of escapes that are worth a taste then leave it up to the brilliance of the JIG community to make it a cuisine. All straining metaphors aside, this week's games hold little in common with each other but, when put together, seem to balance out the palate.
Escape from the Room with the Diamond Picture - You only have to play a few times to see that Yomino Kagura knows how to take a changing cursor, a few kitschy boxes, a number of well-seasoned puzzles, and a rather plain room and cook them up into a satisfying escape game. Nothing too fancy or over the top—in fact, it gets a bit difficult to distinguish one from the other. When looking at the recipe, all the ingredients are logical, intuitive and cleanly-designed; it just needs a bit more spicing up. Those who can read Japanese lettering will have the added treat of helpful messaging and a narrative to round out the escaping experience.
Escape from the Japanese Style Room - Neat Escape has a long repertoire of shortish escape games to boast (34 to be exact) and Japanese Style Room, with just a sparse two puzzles and a few hot spot searches, is one of the most recent. Still, already there is a sequel; so it'd be nice to see them put together into a more substantial undertaking. The potential is there, which would better show after a bit of polishing, ridding the room of an unfortunate pixelus huntitis infestation and giving the somewhat dull aesthetics a face lift. Perhaps someone like TomaTea, who has interior design flair, would agree to a Trading Spaces arrangement? While it's understandable if the flaws make a discerning escape enthusiast wrinkle her nose, once you get past them, this manages to be satisfying all the same—especially if you happen to be craving shellfish.
Find the Escape-Men 87: Pollinosis - You'd think that, if you have rooms filled with little green men, the least of your home owner concerns would be the pollen count outside. Still, what's less appetizing than a runny nose? Despite the opening narrative, when No1 Game uses allergy season to set the scene, it's anything but depressing. As you already know by the title, to succeed in this escape caper, find all ten escape-men in the room, either by cracking codes, uncovering their hiding spots, or solving their ailments. While there's hardly any surprises for those familiar with the Escape-Men menu of games, both the humorous story that holds it together and the addictive fun of filling your greenies count make this a delicious final course to your WE lunch break.
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