Price: £11.99 (£3.19 soundtrack)
Where To Get It: Steam
You know, frustration is a powerful motivator for buying games sometimes. You see someone else play it, grit your teeth at the things they’re missing, or the obvious solution they’re not getting…
And then you play it yourself, and have a good meal of crow as you realise at least some of it isn’t anywhere near as easy as you thought it would be.
This, in summary, was my early experience with Escape Simulator, a first person escape room game. And, honestly, that speaks in its favour, that what at first seems easy isn’t when you actually get down to it.
For those who haven’t experienced an escape room before, it’s usually a single room (multiple room escape rooms exist, but they’re less common) in which you solve puzzles to obtain the parts you need to achieve your objective. It isn’t always escape, but it most often is. Solve the riddle, and get a key to unlock a drawer, which contains a puzzle element for a major riddle, solve a few more, thus solving the major element, solve a few major elements to obtain the final key, that sort of thing. It’s pretty fun, and can be done solo or with friends.
Likewise, Escape Room can be played multiplayer, and it’s about as chaotic as you’d expect, since, after all, some puzzles require multiple elements, people accidentally drop things or forget they’ve got things… But definitely fun. It’s got some good UX elements too, like an indicator as to whether something’s a key item. Kind of important, since there’s a lot of trash, and you might accidentally throw something into the sole trash bin of each room, y’know?
In any case, the base game has 4 areas (plus a tutorial level and shorter, christmas themed one), each with a theme, and several rooms to complete. They don’t have to be completed in order, but they do tell a story of sorts, be it climbing a pyramid, or infiltrating EvilCorp Incorporated, so I would say do them in order. Each has some sort of unique element to it, with my personal favourite being the computer based puzzles of the infiltration (oh, BASIC, how I’ve missed you!), and my least favourite being the server puzzle in the SF themed area. Lovely. A puzzle in which I’m having to keep track of several flashes from three bloody sides. God fucking dammit.
But overall, it looks nice, the UX is clear, the puzzle hints are clear, the audio, such as it is, is nice, and the soft avatars add this element of friendliness that helps release tension some in multiplayer (and gives you a little extra dose of the warm fuzzies when you’re done with a room.) It ain’t bad at all.
I will say, however, that without some level of procgen on the puzzles, a small amount of randomisation, that you’re not going to get that many replays out of the main levels. That’s what the community levels are for.
Overall, I do like Escape Simulator. But, like pretty much any Escape Room game, I wish there was more to it, or, more accurately, that I could get my brain together enough to use the editor effectively. And, y’know, you always wish for a customised part, am I right?
The Mad Welshman has escaped his room several times. It’s a surprisingly complicated procedure.