Eleven Puzzles: Unsolved Case | Review


A new lead turns up old doubts about an ‘Unsolved Case’. A trap, or a copycat killer? In this co-op puzzle game prequel to the award-winning Cryptic Killer series, put on your detective badges as you collaborate and communicate to crack the codes, solve the riddles, and catch the Cryptic Killer.

Date Played: April 2023
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Although we became very familiar with digital escape rooms over the course of the pandemic, it’s been a while since I’ve played one. Last year I covered “Parallel Lab” by Eleven Puzzles, and greatly enjoyed it, so when I saw they had just released a new (free!) game, I absolutely had to play it. This is actually the first part of a larger game set to be released soon, which is even more exciting!



The Premise

Much like their previous game, this game requires two players on separate devices. This game actually supports cross-device playing, which meant I was able to Skype my mum and play on my computer, while she used her iPad, which she is more used to than playing on a computer. Part of the reason I love the Eleven Puzzles games so much is their ease of play – you are not tied to what the other person is doing and are fairly free to roam and interact as you like, and the gameplay is pretty much just point and click, so no tricky key combinations to figure out – any difficulty is just about the puzzles themselves!

In ‘Unsolved Case’ we return to the partnership of Ally and Old Dog, who have just received a mysterious briefcase each in their own apartments. These apartments happen to be fairly similar, and hold all the clues needed to crack the case open…



The Puzzles

All the puzzles in this game require cooperation, not just one or two. However, they’re also unique and creative in the way they require this teamwork. Certain puzzles may require you to do the same thing, with different results, while others require the sharing the information. One thing I noted as we played was how well-balanced these puzzles were – I never felt like I was missing out on the ‘aha’ moments, and similarly didn’t feel I was encountering them all. If there was ever a puzzle where I felt my mum was having all the fun, there was soon to be a similar puzzle where the role was reversed (although different enough that it wasn’t a cut-and-paste).

example with minor spoiler

At one point there is a puzzle that required my mum to essentially work out a maze (I think), and all I did was click a button to go left, right or forward. However, there was also a similar puzzle where I had to figure out which ‘doors’ to open or close and all my mum had to do was click a button with specific colours on. It’s a great example of balancing the gameplay with similar experiences, without it feeling identical.



In fact, I thought a lot of the puzzles were really well done – they were all creative while still being logical, if not too simple. At each stage, there is a padlock to unlock the next part of the story, with icons clearly showing which puzzles to solve to find the numbers. This meant we knew what we were doing and worked our way through each, even directly affecting each other’s rooms while doing so, which was a really fun.



The Verdict

I really enjoyed playing this – the playability was easy, puzzles were fun and interesting and it’s got a neat, comic book style. It’s a shame it was so short, but as it’s free I think this is a minor point! I would also say it would’ve been nice if there were slightly more independent puzzles too, to make it slightly less linear and bring a little more freedom. Overall though this is a really fun game to play, especially if your teammate is long distance, and I can’t wait to play the full game when it’s released soon!

Unsolved Case is free to play, and available on Steam, Android or iOS.


Detective Mimo | Review


Detective Mimo Review | There is a bright shining City hidden in the Kingdom of CAT called Shrimp, an amazing place with luxurious facilities such as Cat Beauty Salon, fish café and MEW Bank. Shrimp attracts thieves from whole country. The most mysterious and rich palace called MEW bank is the prime target. One day, a renowned thief proclaimed that he would invade the bank and loot all the gold. Shrimp needs detective Mimo, a policecat who has guarded the city bravely to stop the crime! After conquering obstacles and solving puzzles, Mimo finally met the thief, but, to her surprise, the thief told her another story that will change Mimo’s life forever.

Developer: Omescape
Date Played: May 7th 2022
Console: Mobile
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: ~2 hours

When Detective Mimo first came out, I immediately downloaded it onto my phone.

That was around a year ago, and every single day I opened up my games folder (usually to play through the Rusty Lake series, or more recently the Escape Games with their adorable clay-motion style), the masked Cat Thief would be staring up at me egging me on to open up the game.

I knew that Detective Mimo would be one of those games that would become all-encompassing and all-consuming. I’d also heard on the grapevine that it required some outside the box mobile phone mechanics such as plugging your phone in to trigger an action, spinning and rotating the physical device and so on. A game like that couldn’t just be picked up and put down at will in a doctor’s waiting room. Nope, I wanted to sit down and give it my full and individed attention.

That day came on a Saturday morning spent cooped up at home as I waited for my occasional Player 2 to get ready to go out. I had a couple of hours and felt like immersing myself in a puzzle filled world of detectives… And cats!



Everyone’s Favourite Policecat, Detective Mimo

Detective Mimo is an impossibly brilliant game to try to explain. If I had to distill the essence of the experience down to just one sentence… I couldn’t. So here’s the long version:

Detective Mimo is a classic mobile point-and-click escape room adventure with some major twists. Players play as Detective Mimo herself, a cat detective on the case to track down and foil the mysterious Cat Thief’s plans to rob the city bank. If you’ve played any puzzle adventure games you’ll probably know the drill – look for items, solve puzzles, give items to characters, combine items, advance the game and so on and so on. But I’m not giving it the “Wow Award” for being extra innovative for this.

Nope, it’s what happens next that is the star of the show. Without going into too many spoilers, a point in the game comes when the player must start all over again. I suppose it’s not too much of a spoiler to admit since this is the part of the game the company’s marketing focuses on the most, for example, in the trailer. But rest assured that this 50% point is when things start to get really, really weird.

Fourth Wall?! What Fourth Wall?

The first part of the game is really just a precursor to the second part of the game, the point from which the fourth wall is broken and the whole essence of “what even is a game” and “what are we doing here” is cracked wide open. From this point, players find themselves dismantling the video game from the inside out, typing code, command strings, sneaking around hidden menus.

The game developers take full advantage of the medium too. The point-and-click style of gameplay becomes redundant at a point, this time you need to really think outside of the box and figure out what your mobile phone device can do. At times I was holding my phone in the weirdest angles, spinning it around on a table, rummaging around looking for my charger to plug it in, and even using the torch light on the back of it to help solve puzzles.

It was a brilliantly wild ride.




But it’s not all about the puzzles and the quirky gameplay, Detective Mimo is an all round solid game when it comes to the details too. From a lovely, hand-illustrated style of world complete with a whole host of feline characters, to a fun (and often very dramatic) sound track that had my partner asking several times what on Earth I was doing on my phone.

The narrative design is some of the best I’ve seen in any video game for a very long time, and with exciting character arcs condensed into such a short and snappy game, I was hooked from the very first second to the very last.

In fact, I only needed to take one break – at some point my partner was ready to go out and off we went and enjoyed a day of eating nice food and walking around – but the whole time I couldn’t shake that itch of wanting to get back home so I could find out what happened to Detective Mimo. Was she okay in my phone without me? Could I sneak a glance during a bathroom break? This game has that effect on you, and it’s powerful.

As a final note on this game’s extra-gameplay perks, there is a secret level which might just be my favourite puzzle sequence in any game ever. This to say, it’s worth investigating, if you can.



The Verdict

Detective Mimo, for all it’s charm, has shot up to my personal gold tier of “must play” escape room video games and I’m floored that it isn’t more popular and well known within this community. If you only download one more game on your mobile device ever, make sure it’s this one. My best advice? Don’t be like me and wait a whole 10 months from downloading it to actually playing it – carve out an hour or two and play it right away! I promise you.

With such an impressive game from the Omescape Games team, I just hope they’ll work on another one. A sequel perhaps? I’d love to see more from Detective Mimo and her nemeses. Or perhaps an alternate reality detective genre set in the canine kingdom instead?

Whatever it’ll be, I’m eagerly awaiting returning to the fantastically brilliant puzzle game worlds this company creates.


Detective Mimo can be played on all mobile devices. Head to the website to download it here.

Overboard! | Review


Overboard! Review | Overboard! is a whodunnit where you’re the one whodunnit. You have just eight hours to cover the evidence, mislead the witnesses, frame another suspect and escape … if you can!

Developer: inkle
Console Played On: Switch
Number Of Players: 1
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes

Do you like murder mysteries? Check ✅

Do you find pre-war dramatic irony; amusing? Check ✅

Do the tactics of dirt-flinging journalists excite you? Check ✅

Well if so, this whodunnit game might be for you.

(Overboard! is not to be confused with the 1997 PS1 Adventure game of the same name :D)


The Clock Is Ticking

July, 1935. Wealthy Malcolm Villensey’s fortune has been wiped out overnight. He and his starlet wife, Veronica, have escaped aboard the SS Hook for a new life in America—but Mrs. Villensey has other plans. And one little push is all it takes.

As Veronica, the game begins swiftly, by throwing you straight into the action. You push your husband off the SS Hook at night. You return to your cabin and wake up at 8am the next morning realising it wasn’t a dream. You have 8 hours before you arrive at New York to cover your tracks and convince the rest of the personnel on the ship that you are innocent.



No Crime Is Perfect

Finally! A game has come along where you play not as the detective of the whodunnit, but instead as the perpetrator. The core game loop involves either making decisions on either actions to take or choosing what is the best thing to say to whichever person you encounter depending on the time and where you are on the ship. There is a plethora of variables because of this, which creates a game that can be enjoyed in short-sharp bursts. You can complete the core game loop for the first time, in as quickly as 5 minutes; however the beauty lies in trying and trying again, looking for patterns to obtain a better or different ending that provides even more information for even further gameplay.



No One Is Innocent

Speaking of which, there are multiple scenarios that fall into 5 different ending types; 2 unsuccessful and 3 successful. But even if you find the most successful ending (which on its own, involves a large amount of research and playing finesse), that doesn’t necessarily mean your Overboard! journey ends there. The other characters on boat might have sordid secrets of their own that they are trying to hide(!), providing even more incentive to continue playing.

It all adds up in creating a robust package that has much, much more life to it; than initially meets the eye. The stellar script writing and character design creates a strong element of immersion and further invests the player into playing the core game loop multiple times. Many a time I was open-mouthed when I found a secret of an NPC that was juicy and scandalous.

The controls are at the base, a single action button and directional to choose where you go or what you say. It’s all it needs and it’s superb. There is touchscreen compatibility too for the Switch version, for further accessibility.



Jumping Overboard Isn’t Enough

Overboard! is priced at £11.39 on both Switch and Steam. For this I’d estimate somewhere around 20-50 plays, each clocking in between 5 and 30 minutes. Therefore, this could keep you occupied for anywhere between 2 and 10+ hours. It’s a large variance I appreciate, especially when you also consider the completionism factor, should you wish to see every scenario…or not. The game is easy to play, easy to put down, then pick back up. It also sucks you in super quickly, therefore I could very easily see many people ending up on the further end of my estimate spectrum. With all of this in mind, I’d argue that this price point is very good value for money.



For The Seasoned Starlet Or The Up-And-Coming Artist?

I can easily recommend this game to almost anyone of all playing experiences. It’s simple enough to get started with for beginner and even non-puzzler/escape room enthusiast types (the green text signposting after a first playthrough attempt, is a welcome feature), and enough underneath the surface to keep the seasoned escaper coming back for more.

Two warnings; firstly, this does have adult themes therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under 18. Secondly, whilst the learning curve is balanced and accessible from the off, to be wholly successful in Overboard!; requires a lot of attention, multiple trials and most importantly time management. Thankfully, the ability to rewind a scene or start again from the beginning if a mistake is made during a run, proves all the more how accessible Overboard! is.


In the present day, where there’s an abundance of choice, when it comes to what to play; alongside a finite amount of time and money to take a risk on a purchase, Overboard! provides a low risk option that pulls you straight in and pays dividends, the more and more it’s played. I highly recommend it for its fantastic script writing, accessibility, striking, era-appropriate visuals and innovative mechanics on an old, tired theme that is in timely need of a change. Because of all of its merits, I am hereby awarding this whodunnit the Best In Genre badge.

Buy it and enjoy the ride.

Please Note: We received this experience for free in exchange for an honest review.

Inspector Waffles | Review


Inspector Waffles Review | A detective story reminiscent of the old school classics, Inspector Waffles provides plenty of peculiar mystery, a story full of intrigue, and a slew of characters to interrogate, all wrapped into beautifully simple pixel-art. Will you be able to sniff out every clue and nab the murderer?

Developer: Goloso Games
Console Played On: Steam
Number of Players: 1

Do you like cats and dogs? Check ✅

Do you like associated puns and dad jokes of said cats and dogs? Check ✅

Do you yearn for the return of teletext and ceefax? Check ✅

Well if so, this point-and-click game might be for you.

Before Any Gameplay Has Begun…

I’d like to commend Goloso Games for providing a significant element of differentiation. Right after you click on new game, you have the choice to play with or without yellow, highlighted dialogue text to signify clues. If you’re feeling smart, maybe go without the highlights? Can’t decide? Don’t worry; you can toggle your decision in the options menu as and when you please. It’s little features like this, that can really encourage players to continue their journey, should the learning curve be too steep at any given point.

On The Scene And Looking Like A Stray Cat As Usual…

In Inspector Waffles you play said title character, who has just arrived on the scene of a murder. Specifically, Fluffy the cat; CEO of Box Furniture (their main seller being cardboard boxes; which every cat in the game professes to loving them). Task one is to find out what happened at the crime scene and the story unfolds from there…

Goloso games is made up of one developer, Yann Margan (alongside a few friends in the credits for testing, amongst other roles). How this game has been made by such a small team is incredibly impressive. The visuals for example, are a feast for my 30-something eyes (age, not amount!); an attractive, colourful, pixel-fest harking back to my days of playing Bamboozle!

The music is a treat too. It flows seamlessly when moving from one scene to another. Each scene or place has it’s own theme that augments the gameplay. There were times when pondering upon a conundrum, I was thankful for the background audio keeping me immersed.

Most notably, Inspector Waffles is a genuinely funny game. The script is full of great jokes and observations of cats and dogs in real life. There’s even a cat that looks suspiciously like Donald Trump called Maple; an obvious commentary on the former president’s skin tone!

All of these elements combined, really drive the theming towards premium territory.

Chilling On A Beach, Sipping On A Pina Colada…

As you’re reading this from a site called The Escape Roomer, all reviews have to be considered from the point of view of escape room enthusiasts. First off let me be clear. The puzzles are good, in some cases very good and very satisfying to solve; particularly the interrogation\clue presentation set pieces. The core game loop however is quite repetitive. This might put escape room fans out, who are looking for their usual fix of puzzle variance.

Another factor to consider is the amount of searching done by the player throughout the game. There is a lot of it and search fatigue may kick in. In a few cases, particularly during the final third of the game, some items blend into the background a little too well, feeling a little unfair for the player. That being said, the puzzles on the whole whilst sticking to the core game loop, are still exciting and fun to do.

I’m Not Asking My Mother For Help, Patches

Let’s talk about the hints system; it’s not often I’m this excited about one! The system manages to successfully put further positive aspects on the immersion and the overall fun of the gameplay. If you get stuck you can call Waffles’s Mum. Mum is a former inspector who was this ace solver. Waffles is initially not keen to call her. This is probably because she likes to playfully embarrass him (in the most Mum way) before she actually helps him. The help is presented with a direct clue towards what you need to do next. A useful and highly charming hint mechanic overall.


Have I mentioned that Inspector Waffles is a genuinely funny game? Warning, it is rife with dad jokes. As a dad myself, I found these to be hilarious and excellent comic relief from some of the more difficult puzzle set pieces. The references to cat (and dog) lifestyles throughout the game (eg: the main victim’s job role and a dog named Pavlov) are also rewarding to experience.

Gimmie… That… Coin…

Inspector Waffles is priced at around the £12 mark for all consoles. For that, you get a main campaign that will last around 4-8 hours. There is also an optional side mission that changes the ending of the game, depending on whether you complete it in it’s entirety. If you’re like me however and did not finish it, you’ll be disappointed to know that there is no way to complete the optional side mission without starting the game right from the beginning. I know completionists won’t care and do it anyways, but it didn’t motivate me enough to play through the entire game again; knowing what is going to happen for the sake of an optional side mission.

Aside from that, and considering Inspector Waffles was made (mostly) by a lone developer, what you receive for your money is well worth it.

For The Focussed Feline Or The Crazed Canine?

Because of the differentiation mentioned at the beginning of this review, alongside a well-crafted learning curve; I’d recommend this game to inexperienced and experienced puzzlers. There is enough for the inexperienced, to be motivated all the way with the form of motherly hints and yellow highlighted text. Whereas for the experienced/hardened, they can refuse to utilise them for street cred points and local bragging rights…
(wow, I’m such a dad….).

One thing to mention control-wise, is that there is no gamepad compatibility on steam. This is a minor criticism however, as the mouse controls work perfectly fine. But it is something the developer may consider adding, in any future updates; increasing their already robust, differentiation factor.


This is certainly one of the strongest games I have reviewed this year. Outstanding theming, visuals and a heavy emphasis on fun and player inclusiveness, have created an engrossing and entertaining game in Inspector Waffles. Black Friday isn’t far away either, and if it does appear in the sale (or even if it doesn’t), there are all kinds of reasons to play this gem.

Inspector Waffles can be played on Steam, support the developer here.

Hermitage: Strange Case Files | Review


Hermitage: Strange Case Files Review | This gripping paranormal horror adventure revolves around Hermitage, the sinister bookstore that attracts most unusual customers – all of whom seem to be involved in mysterious cases bordering on the paranormal.

Developer: Arrowitz
Console Played On: PC
Time Taken: 20+ Hours
Difficulty: Medium
Number Of Players: 1

Hermitage: Strange Case Files is a really unusual game to review here on The Escape Roomer, and for this review we have to put on our “detective” hat rather than “escape room hat”. Of course, there’s a big argument to say that they’re both very transferrable skills. But Hermitage: Strange Case Files, although an interesting game, is definitely more suitable for an audience who enjoy length murder mystery novels.

In the words of my co-writer Russ, who normally reviews video games:

Do you like lengthy detective novels?

Do you prefer to deduce than solve puzzles?

Are you interested in the paranormal?

If so, then this game might be for you.

Welcome to the Hermitage Book Shop

The story centres around the Hermitage Book Shop, it’s owner who never leaves, and the curious customers who visit. Broken up into several chapters, each chapter offers a new case to investigate. Along the way you acquire more books that hint at the occult, Lovecraftian world beyond the book shop’s front door…. Absolutely magical!

The elephant in the room is that this game is well over 30 hours if you want to complete the whole thing. It’s not a puzzle game sprint, it’s a narrative marathon.Thankfully the game helps you out by highlighting the most important parts – the clues – in red which you can add to your notebook. But even with this, buckle in because you’re in for a long game!

Inbetween the dialogue, we get to the juicier part of the game: the investigation! Whether looking online for clues, communicating with characters via your phone or, you guessed it, checking in the books – this game is all about solving a series of mysterious cases. As the game unfolds we also learn more about the manager, and the owner of the shop.

There is also an element of choose-your-own-adventure to this story. Occasionally different dialogue options will be presented that change the way the case, or even the whole game pans out, which is an interesting addition too. Choose badly and you’ll get a bad ending, but save regularly and you can always go back and replay segments if you wish to try again.

The Artwork

Story aside, my favourite thing about Hermitage Case Files was without a doubt the moody artwork and atmosphere. For a visual novel, this game is *chef’s kiss* The art style is similar to an anime film, or manga book, yet it still evokes a beautiful feeling of noir dark academia. There’s something really wonderful about working in a dusty old book shop filled with otherworldly books and each new character that joined the story expanded the rich world even further. There was something a little Studio Ghibli about the game that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I loved it.

The Verdict

Overall, it’s a really hard game to judge. In conclusion, I did personally enjoy this game but we (since a few of The Escape Roomer team played parts of Hermitage: Strange Case Files) struggle to recommend this to your average escape room audience. Like a lengthy detective novel, this game will last a long time and take players through thousands of lines of dialogue before the end credits roll. If that’s something you enjoy, then give it a go! But if you’re expecting more puzzle solving, then this game might not be for you.

Hermitage: Strange Case Files can be played on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, iOS, Android.


Return Of The Obra Dinn | Review


Return of the Obra Dinn Review | October 14th, 1807, the Obra Dinn has drifted into port at Falmouth with damaged sails and no visible crew. As insurance investigator for the East India Company’s London Office, dispatch immediately to Falmouth, find means to board the ship, and prepare an assessment of damages. 

Developer: Lucas Pope 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Touchscreen Compatible: No 

Do you like murder mysteries? Check ✅

Do you like the 19th century? Check ✅

Do you like to pretend that you are gaming from a classic 1980s console? Check ✅

Well if so, this puzzle game might just be for you. 

There Goes My No Claims Bonus… 

You are an insurance investigator in the 19th century, assigned to find out what happened to the 60 disappeared crew members and passengers of the Obra Dinn. Did some survive? Did some meet a tragic fate? How did they die? That’s for you to investigate.  

To help you deduct what has happened, you have a guide book with useful references (that you write in every time you find new information), alongside a pocket watch that is used to travel back in time, pin-pointing specific events on the ship. The events are a combination of dialogue between Obra Dinn personnel and a freeze-frame diorama (with dramatic music included!); often including the tragic fates quite graphically! There are ten major events in total, which are broken down into multiple parts. 

What I especially like in all of this, is the minimalistic aesthetics that come together to create a fully immersive experience. Lucas Pope proves that you don’t need flashy animations and special effects to make you feel like you are in the game. Even the graphics hark to a time of the 1980s IBM/Zenith/Commodore aesthetics. Furthermore, you can change your monitor output in the options, based on your choice of colour/console preference! I went for the IBM5151 green/black look; really cool feel and easy on the eyes! 

Full Speed Ahead! 

The control in short, is excellent. Player controller movement is universal; left stick to move forward/back/left/right and the right stick to turn. What really sticks out however, is the level of descriptive detail in choosing analog stick sensitivity. Instead of a slide bar like most games, Obra Dinn has actual descriptions of sensitivity choices. This made me very confident that I was making the right personal choice in how my character controlled, without the need for trial and error.  

Its Like a Murder Mystery, But If You Invited The Whole Neighbourhood! 

Obra Dinn has one core game loop; you go back in time, you find out what happened, you take notes, you move on to the next event, or go back to fill in gaps, you decide on the fates of each of the 60.  

What is executed, is executed very well. However, for anyone looking for a range of puzzles, they might be disappointed with the lack of variety, alongside finding the core game loop a little repetitive; especially if they are a seasoned escape roomer. If you can look outside of that, there is so much challenging content to get stuck into; mostly from trying to solve the unique combinations of what happened to each of the 60 Obra Dinnites. 

There is no explicit hint system, however the game is smart enough to sense when you might be making a huge error due to inexperience, and chime in with useful tips.

Fresher Than The Deep Blue Sea 

Have you ever come across a game, where you have to solve a murder mystery on a grand scale, on a 19th century ship using time travel as an insurance investigator? No, me neither. Full marks for originality.  

Ship’s Booty Required 

Obra Dinn is priced around the £17.99 mark for all consoles and steam. A well-skilled puzzler might complete this in around 5-7 hours, but for others it may take much longer. Plus the potential replay-ability value to try and get all 60 fates correct, certainly justifies its price tag. Furthermore, independent developer… so show the love! 

For Captains or Cabin Crew? 

Fair warning, this game has a steep learning curve. I would recommend this to experienced puzzlers. There is a lot to remember and reference back to; in order of having a successful game outcome. That being said, if you fancy the challenge, don’t let me stop you. 


Concept & Immersion – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazing) 
Control – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazing) 
Puzzles – ⭐️ (Good) 
Freshness – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazing) 
Value For Money – ⭐️⭐️ (Great) 

Overall – ⭐️⭐️ (Great) 

This is a great game at a price that is highly reasonable. What it lacks in puzzle variety, it certainly makes up for in other areas such as immersive qualities and originality. Its won a ton of awards too, so go ahead and get investigating! 

Return of the Obra Dinn may be purchased on your preferred platform here.

Frog Detective: The Haunted Island


You’re a detective, and a frog, and it’s time to solve a mystery. Play as the freshest frog in the pond and find the secret of The Haunted Island. Using your extreme investigation skills, question suspects and find clues to get to the bottom of this spooky and mysterious mystery.

Time Played: 42 minutes
Console: PC
Recommended For: Frogs, Detectives, and everything inbetween

Frog? Detective? FROG DETECTIVE? Haunted Island? What kinda Scooby Doo s**t is this?! I’m kidding. Real talk, this game is… Incredible! A true work of art among video games. Of course, when I first picked it up I wasn’t sure. It’d popped up on my Twitter feed once or twice, and if you know me you know I love a good detective game so I couldn’t resist giving it a cheeky go. On loading up the game, the first page throws back some very unconventional graphics settings. From there in, I knew I was in for a treat.

The Frog Detective series is a labour of love by video game duo Grace Bruxner and Thomas Bowker, with an original soundtrack by Dan Golding. It launched back in 2018 and my only regret is not picking up a copy sooner.

In this first person detective game, you play the titular character, Frog Detective and are pulled into a mysterious, yet oddly intriguing mystery on a tropical island, way out in the middle of the ocean. You see, the owner of the island, Martin (a sloth wearing a solid gold crown) is convinced it is haunted. He’s been hearing mysterious ghostly noises for about two weeks now and is terrified. It’s really putting him off his dance training for the big competition this weekend. Yeah, that’s the plot. Bear with me on this one.

This sets the scene for your arrival on the island where you’re greeted by a motley crew of “ghost scientists”. You’ll quickly come to realise none of these scientists are qualified, but that’s part of the charm of this game, really.

From herein Frog Detective is less about solving the mystery and more about exploring your environment and talking to as many anthropomorphic animals on the island as possible. Wait, does that mean the game is really about making friends? Sure! I mean, you do also have a magnifying glass and you can look at evidence (or just bugs really), very close up. But really you’re just there to help the plot reach it’s unusual, yet logical conclusion: to compete in a dance competition.

The main thing that drives the game is narrative. Each character you can interact with is quirky and bordering on the ridiculous – there’s a nervous, stammering mouse, a koala bobbing about in the ocean, a dental hygiene obsessed crocodile, and Bernie the bear who is convinced you’re a secret agent- oh, and he loves pasta. It’s important to the plot. No really, it is.

Each character has a jittery, nervous energy. It must be all the ghosts. But, like a true sleuth, Frog Detective picks up on the suspicious behaviour and gently nudges you towards a wholesome interrogation to find out what’s really going on.

What I love most about the game though is it’s absolute unashamed absurdity. There’s a detective noire vibe (and soundtrack!) that butts heads with the bright colours and smiling faces of the characters in the tropical paradise. The characters speak frankly and really your only goal in the game is to run errands between them, finding (and trading for) items in order to get what you want to progress.

The puzzles aren’t really the point … *pause* … So why am I even writing about this game on this escape room blog? Because it’s still a mystery. Just how in many escape rooms I’ve had to do really ‘outside the box’ things to solve a room, in Frog Detective you have to err… Be a frog, walk around, and compete in dance competitions. There’s no right or wrong way to solve a mystery. I don’t discriminate against frog related experiences.

Overall, there’s not much more that can be said about Frog Detective. Frog Detective is something you have to experience for yourself and either you’ll ‘get it’ or you won’t. I don’t know if I’d recommend this to do the ‘hardcore-escape-room’ group of enthusiasts, no. Instead, you have to go into this with a sense of whimsy and not expect any complex puzzles. Frog Detective never once claims to be anything other than it is: A detective story about a frog.

Frog Detective: The Haunted Island can be purchased for £3.99 on Steam. Head to their website to find out more and support the game.

Star Seeker in The Secret of the Sorcerous Standoff


In this short point ‘n’ click adventure, you are Star Seeker – a WIZARD solving a WIZARD crime to not get put in WIZARD jail by the WIZ- I mean, PLAIN OLD cops. With a useless detective, countless red herrings, and unique dialogue for every evidence combination… will this case ever be cracked?

Time Played: 81 minutes
Console: Computer
Recommended For: Fans of Magical Detectives… Or just looking for a light hearted experience!

If you like wizards, criminal cases, 4th wall humour, gender representation, and goats… You’ll love Star Seeker! I mean, what’s not to like? It’s silly and fun, the artwork is bright and colourful, and there’s a twisty crime at the centre of it’s narrative that makes you “woah” out loud.

Star Seeker sets you in a world where magic is illegal. VERY illegal. In fact, the only reason you’re not locked up is that the police rely on your consultation on magical and arcane crimes… Which is how you come to find yourself at 3.20am at a run down wizard apart-I mean, den, staring down at two bodies.

The gameplay that follows is quite simple. Star Seeker takes place over just one room: You may move around, click objects to investigate them, then make your accusations to the Chief Investigator, Leo Fleini. To help you out, you also may access your Lightningbolt Mind- a sort of “Mind Palace” a la Sherlock Holmes, where you can review all the evidence you’ve seen so far.

As a consultant brought in from parole, there’s definitely a question of whether or not you’re qualified! A question with hilarious consequences. The game rolls with the punches and given the hodge-podge of magical evidence you can dig up, the theories you can confidently declare range from the “ah yeah that makes sense” to “I have no idea where that came from but lets go with it.”

It’s wonderfully absurdist and I love it! Murder mysteries are already one of my favourite genre of escape room, so why not a videogame too? Combine this with the dry humour and world of witchcraft and wizardry and I’m sold! Move over Ms. Marple and Morse, there’s a new detective in town. It’s me. I came here to cast spells and solve crimes, and I just solved this crime.

In terms of puzzles, it follows a very typical logic flow of a murder mystery game. There aren’t puzzles per se, but connecting the dots in the right order is no small feat. Certain wizards at certain levels can cast, well, certain spells. Then there’s the GOAT! Where does the goat come in, eh? This crime scene is bursting with traces of magic but putting it all in the right order is a tricky task. However, with no consequences to guessing wrong a couple of times, you may as well have fun and test out all the speech options for a laugh.

Overall, good fun! A game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, full of light hearted gags and a very strong narrative to boot. If you’re a fan of the mystery genre, or heck just want a laugh, give Star Seeker: The Secret of the Sorcerous Standoff a go.

Star Seeker can be purchased for £3.99 on Steam.