Behind the Frame | Review


Behind the Frame Review | Guide brush strokes and solve a variety of puzzles to help an aspiring artist complete her masterpiece amid her brusque neighbor’s gaze and his pesky cat. As her painting starts to take shape, uncover an emotional tale of chance and artistry revealed behind unrelated yet familiar moments.

Developer: Silver Lining Studio
Date Played: December 2021
Console: PC
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 1 hour

From the moment I first heard the phrase “escape room puzzles in a Studio Ghibli-esque world” I was sold. A game like this deserved my full attention, so I patiently waited until Christmas 2021 when I’d have more time to spare before downloading it. The cosy evening of the 23rd of December was the perfect time. A time when the wind and rain howled outside, for me to make a big mug of tea and dive behind the frame into a peaceful and wholesome world.

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

The story centres around you, an aspiring young artist living in a small studio apartment who dreams of of exhibiting her work in New York. Opposite, an elderly painter living with a tabby cat is occasionally glimpsed in a series of dream-like animated sequences. Each day you rise, make eggs on toast, pour a cup of coffee, and work on your painting. To your dismay, each time you power on your laptop you find your application to go to New York has been deleted, and your painting seems further from completion than ever before.

Your goal is to solve enough puzzles to discover more colours to finish your painting in time for the exhibition. But oddly, the details around you never change. The calendar on the wall displays the same date. But, as you play through this short game you quickly discover there’s a greater story unravelling around you in the stillness of art. Your life flits in and out of reverie and darker secrets bubble to the surface.

Who is the old man who lives opposite? More to the point, who are you?

Puzzles in Paintings

Behind the Frame is a puzzle game – and a point and click escape room at that – but it’s also a very narrative, emotionally heavy story. With each new chapter you learn a part of the whole story, but each time it feels like you’re scrambling to recover memories of the bigger picture.

In the escape room world really good storytelling is often missing from physical rooms and puzzle games. With just an hour’s time limit, it’s hard to write detailed narratives. The developers of Behind the Frame on the other hand have started with the story first, and then woven the puzzles throughout the game to support and advance the narrative – and it shows! It’s an incredibly moving story told through satisfying art-based puzzles.

In terms of puzzles, the setting dictates a lot of what can and cannot be done, and most puzzles centre around memory. Players will be shown a detail, and will later need to recreate it in their artwork to progress. In other sequences, players will encounter something in their environment and will need to recreate it on a wooden block puzzle they find in their home. In both cases, the game requires you to pay attention and use your artistic skill to solve the mystery.

At other times, you’ll discover hidden objects around your room and sketch or assemble them like jigsaws in your handy notebook. At no point during this game did I feel any of the puzzles were particularly challenging – but that’s part of the beauty. Behind the Frame is best played in one sitting, and each puzzle will take seconds to solve as not to disrupt the flow of the story.

Studio Ghibli, Eat Your Heart Out

…Haha, I’m kidding. Nothing can surpass a Ghibli film. But Behind the Frame comes close.

There’s a good reason this video game keeps being compared to the infamous Japanese film producer, despite the two having nothing to do with each other. Behind the Frame uses a combination of animated sequences and point and click gameplay. both of which feel lovingly hand drawn and perfectly in place with the style we see in many vintage anime films of the Studio Ghibli era.

What’s more, the story is heartbreaking and full of a sense of loss for a time we aren’t sure we ever knew. Players are encouraged to find the joy in every day life through the peaceful sound of coffee cups clinking and brushstrokes on paper. I am at once immediately at home playing Behind the Frame.

The Verdict

Behind the Frame is a magical puzzle game like nothing else I’ve ever played. It’s a marriage of my two favourite video game genres: escape room and wholesome, and this is a game I’ll be returning to over and over whenever I need a break from reality.

The game is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices – however I’d recommend playing it on PC or Nintendo Switch to get the most out of your artistic journey.

The only issue? it’s far too short. At six chapters long, the game is playable within 30 to 60 minutes. I went back and played it twice in order to collect 100% of the Steam achievements – another unchallenging pursuit – and still felt I needed a little more. More paintings, more stories from the girl’s life, more of everything. I need more of the magical whimsy Behind the Frame sprinkled into my life on a cold December evening.

To play Behind the Frame, head to the developer’s website and choose your platform 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.


LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories | Review


LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled With Stories Review | Every life has a story. Every story has regret. But what if you could change the past? LOVE is a puzzle game about finding the things we’ve lost in ourselves and the people who help us find them.

Developer: Rocketship Park
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch
Time Taken: 1 hour
Difficulty: Medium
Number Of Players: 1

I can’t read the name of this video game without shouting the words “LOVE” inside my head… Which is pretty much exactly the opposite of the vibe of LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories. In fact, it’s one of the most quiet and narrative driven puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. So a far cry from my internal voice shouting LOVE every time I loaded up the Nintendo Switch.

About LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled With Stories

Referred to herein as just LOVE, is a game about the people living in a single building and their intertwining lives, past, present and future. Your role in the game is of an omnipresent God who can control their lives in small, subtle ways, nudging them towards certain outcomes.

You do this by flipping between the past and the present (or future, as you like), rotating the building like a giant Rubix cube, sliding people’s apartments so their windows line up to be closer to one another, and lightly tapping objects to interact with them at the perfect moments. But you’ve got to get it just right, for example to look up from what they’re doing and glance outside just in time to make a new friend which drastically changes the course of their lives.

Damn, it feels good to be a God.

I was really drawn to this game when I first heard about it… The words “puzzle” and “box” really jump out. I mean, what can I say? I make a real hobby escaping from boxes. But the game also turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for. Quite different, and utterly unique. Something a little closer to the powerful storytelling of small lives like Arianna Ravioli’s Will Die Alone.

The Book Video Game of Love

So I’ve established it’s a gentle and profound game, but what exactly is the goal of LOVE?

You’re given a photo album at the start of the game to fill full of memories. Each time something happens in the game, it’s captured as a little photograph in your book, so you can plot the lives of individual characters.

As I understand the game is multiple choice, so the specific ending of each character is not a given. I say ‘I understand’, but I only played through once so only saw what endings I gave my characters. But it is quite clear that how you play and how you solve the puzzles will have a real impact on what happens. And of course, you’re playing with people’s lives here… So choose wisely!

Spin the Wheel of Life!

There isn’t a lot of instruction as to how to play the game, so it may take some time to get used to everything – but the clue is in the name. It’s a puzzle box and therefore it’s safe to assume you’ll be solving puzzles.

In terms of puzzles, LOVE is a mix between a 3D slider game, a hidden objects game, a game about time travel, and a point-and-click adventure like those from the 90s. You’re spinning and rotating floors in order to hunt for small details and objects. It’s hard to get ‘stuck’ on the game in the traditional sense of “I can’t solve this”, but I did find myself spending a little too long spinning… And spinning… And spinning.

Many moments in the game I spent looking for one specific detail, only to discover something else entirely and be sent off on a tangent about another character’s life story – completely forgetting about the original puzzle. More often than not however, this tangent would somehow lead me back to the original puzzle anyway. Even if I’d almost forgotten the first character’s story, I found the game generally “worked itself out” in the end.

It’s details like this that make it hard for me to review it as a traditional puzzle game. There’s nothing traditional about LOVE at all. It is it’s own thing entirely! It’s a relaxing story about people, told through the medium of puzzles. If you’re an escape room enthusiast it’s probably not for you.

The flip side is, even if I describe the puzzles as ‘relaxing’ I’d be remiss not to mention that two mechanics of the game detracted from the relaxing-ness of it. First of all, it was quite hard to see. On the Nintendo Switch you’re looking for tiny details which playing on the handheld console just aren’t that easy to spot. Secondly, being pulled from story to story did break the immersion quite a bit. Perhaps I just played the game too late at night when my eyes were failing and brain not fully able to concentrate on intricate stories, but for my specific experience it fell a little bit short on those two points.

The Verdict

LOVE is a lovely game- no pun intended. I wholeheartedly congratulate the developers for tackling such an idea and writing such rich and powerful stories. I think the game could do with some improvements, but hey that’s what patches and sequels are for, right?

As mentioned, I don’t think it would be right for the average escape room player (after all, that’s who we’re writing for here). But I had fun and I really appreciated the storytelling. Any piece of media (especially games) that makes you feel something has done it’s job.

You can check out LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories and the developer’s others games at their website here.


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.

Old Man’s Journey | Review


Old Man’s Journey, a soul-searching puzzle adventure, tells a story of life, loss, and hope. Interacting with the world around you, you’ll shape the landscape to create the old man’s path forward. Experience heartache and hope as you embark on a heartfelt journey through a sunkissed world.

Time Played: 108 minutes
Console: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox
Recommended For: A relaxing puzzle game with beautiful mechanics

An old man, living alone atop a hill, receives a letter in the post and immediately packs up his bags and ventures out on an epic journey across wild terrain, the sea, by train, and perched on the back of a truck. Through the trials on his old bones we learn about his life, his hopes and his dreams through a series of flashbacks. The puzzle mechanics are a simple yet tool to tell this heartbreaking story without a single word. I’m not crying… YOU’RE CRYING!

In the Steam Summer Sale I picked up 30 new titles I’d never heard of before, and Old Man’s Journey was one of them. I didn’t really know what to expect – it was one of my ‘wildcard’ purchases from the “Puzzle” category, and looking at the multitude of excellent reviews I knew I’d found a hidden gem.



I’d move mountains for this old man

…No seriously, that’s how you play this game. Have you ever been in a long car drive daydreaming out the window as the hills rise and fall over the landscape? It’s easy to imagine a figure running along the top of them, leaping from hill to hill as the perspective shifts. This is how the puzzles work in Old Man’s Journey. He’s a lone figure moving across the beautiful landscape alone, on a journey that you’ll not understand until the game’s climax. The side scroller gameplay makes it easy to pick up and master quickly.

It’s a puzzle mechanic I’ve never seen before, making Old Man’s Journey an instant classic in my eyes. Totally original and executed to perfection! Sure, there are other games where moving parts of the landscape is a central mechanic, but pulling and pushing hills out of the way in this whimsical side scroller felt altogether fresh.

Just as the puzzles start to feel repetitive, the game does mix it up a little. Each new area brings with it new challenges – such as encountering sheep which must be safely moved out of the way to let you pass, or fences which must be knocked down. Some of my favourite parts of Old Man’s Story were the ‘travel sequences’, where our old man character hops on a train or the back of a pickup truck and speeds through the landscape gracefully.



I’m not crying… You’re crying!

What I loved most about Old Man’s Journey, no surprise, was the story. It’s equal parts heart warming and heart breaking. As a player, besides shifting the landscape to make the old man’s journey possible, you’re largely left in the dark about the who, what and why, making it feel like you’re going on the journey of discovery with the characters.

At points, the titular characters takes breaks in his walk and reflects on life through a series of flashbacks, each recalling a moment in his life. We see his life as a young man, meeting his first love, starting a family, building his own home and, at points in our own story, the landscape changes to match the mood. There’s a sense of spring youthfulness at the start, and stormy trouble at the old man reflects on sadder moments in his life.

The developers have also added a language-less touch to the whole experience too, making the game powerful for every audience, regardless of language. What I mean by this is there are no words. No written dialogue, no conversation, heck even the buttons aren’t labelled – it’s all intuitive.

It’s excellent environmental storytelling: expressions, weather, colours, and painterly landscapes of the past. Just like this old man is, all are solitary, sad and quiet.




Who should play this?

You should play this if you, like me, keep forgetting to ring your grandparents, or elderly parents. It’s a really straightforward puzzle game and easy to get the hang of – so a great one for puzzle enthusiasts and beginners alike. Old Man’s Journey has also now been released for mobile too, so there’s no excuse not to check it out.

Personally, I played this on PC. I felt a little bit under the weather and wanted to sit back, enjoy some Art (with a capital A!) and solve some simple puzzles. At around 60 minutes long, it’s on the shorter side. You could complete this game in the same length of time it takes to complete an escape room, or more likely wait in line at the doctors.

This makes it a great game to check out if you’ve only an hour or two to spare, want simple mechanics and beautiful graphics. Play Old Man’s Story for a sense of peace and a meaningful message. This game is undemanding, moving and utterly brilliant.


Purchase Old Man’s Journey on the website.

Will Die Alone | Review


Some memories aren’t meant to stay. We are our memories and our experiences. What happens if you delete some of them? If you change your past and, thus, your future?


I discovered the indie video game Will Die Alone by pure chance one day zoom-scrolling Twitter: A brand new game from Arianna Ravioli, a Game Design Masters student at IULM Italy. I was immediately pulled in by the trailer – call it morbid fascination at the title or just a sense of “wow this is different”, and couldn’t hit the download button fast enough.


Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders…

Will Die Alone is a little bit like stepping into the sci-fi world of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s a world where people can choose to erase certain memories from their lives – harmful ones, such as after a breakup, or forgetting a particularly rough childhood. This time you’re playing as the corporation that performs these procedures, but with riots at your doorstep things aren’t as peachy as the marketing would have it.

You play a lowly employee logging into their computer each day to perform the tiring task of erasing your customer’s memories. In this way, the experience was a little bit like Routes (a performance from Bath Theatre that premiered last month). You play via a computer screen, with the following:

  • The Daily News Bulletin
  • Memos from your boss (ugh leave me alone!)
  • A calendar counting down the days until you can quit (haha nice!)
  • Each day’s case file



Right or Wrong Choice?

With just a few days of ‘work’ to tell the story, Arianna does a wonderful job. Each day a new news bulletin sets the scene of the world, and periodic messages from your boss in increasing levels of emotion tell a counterpart story of the company itself. You’re trying to keep your head down and finish your work, but your character cannot shy from the truth that with each memory deleted a life is irreversibly changed forever.

Whilst you can see a projection into your client’s futures to find out if you made the right choice, often there is no right choice. A client is doomed from the start and no amount of deleted memories will change that. Forcing you to question the procedure entirely! What good does it do?

On my first playthrough, I’m confident I chose the ‘correct’ choices, but the ending was no less painful, in a different way, than on my second where I decided to make all the wrong choices and see what difference it made.



Powerful Storytelling Through Simple Graphics

One of the best things about Will Die Alone is it’s storytelling with such a simple user interface. You don’t need the flashiest of graphics, and this game does wonders with simple illustrations and a computer screen.

From start to finish Will Die Alone was a joy to play. A powerful short story from an extremely creative and talented game designer. The game also had a special magic for me, it’s no secret I’ve got a large tattoo from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on my right arm, and logging into my Dewitt Corp console to erase memories felt like being at the centre of a similar story.

Whilst not the typical ‘escape room’ style of video game we typically cover on this website, Will Die Alone is a game full of surprises and choices that will stay in your mind for a very long time after.

You can play Will Die Alone for free (*donations appreciated) on

Tick Tock: A Tale For Two | Review


In Tick Tock: A Tale for Two you and your friend find yourself trapped in an eerie world created by the skilful clockmaker Amalie Ravn. Your mission is to escape! But to do so you need to navigate a mysterious, sinister clockwork world filled with secrets and cryptic puzzles. To find the truth and ultimately escape this place, you must combine the information on both players’ screens.

Time Played: 80 Minutes
Console: PC / Nintendo Switch / Mobile
Recommended For: Two players, for a relaxed and spooky 2hr experience.

Ever since I first heard about Tick Tock: A Tale for Two (ironically, through my work – I work in videogames and mutual friends and colleagues cannot stop recommending this one), I’ve had it on my “To-Play” list. For me, the problem was finding a second player, but that’s where my good friend Borderline Puzzler came in!

We sat down together in a Friday night from totally opposite corners of the United Kingdom and absolutely aced the game in 80 minutes, but how was the game? Simply magical!

The Story

Tick Tock is a hugely narrative driven story which makes sense – it’s won loads of awards for creativity and inventiveness and they’re all very well deserved. When you first open the game you’re not quite sure what is going on. The space is moody, atmospheric and most of all: very mysterious. But slowly the game unfolds through a patchwork of floating words and letters.

If the name ‘a tale for two’ weren’t a giveaway, you’re given half of the story. Every time a mysterious sentence appeared on my screen, floating like smoke, I only understood the meaning in context with that BDP saw on her screen. Together you work through both puzzles and story alike, for a truly brilliant conclusion.

On the topic of the conclusion… No, no spoilers here but there’s an incredible sort of ‘twist’ at the end I can’t help but mention. Even now, writing the review a while later, I can’t shake the ending out of my head. Like a memorable film, or piece of art, or tune you can recall vividly, the ending is clinging to me. Great art!

The Puzzles

Overall, I don’t think either of us found the puzzles particularly challenging, but that might come with the territory! The key thing to understand is that you can see half of what you need to see. We didn’t use a single hint in the game and it was, in most cases, fairly straightforward to figure out what we needed to do. As I say, the key (no pun intended) to solving everything for us at least was staying in constant communication. In other words we both literally described everything all the time:

“Right ok there’s a speck of dust, and a slight shadow and the artwork on this page is a little rough, and I think the colour of this plant pot is sepia-“

“-Yeah none of that helps but keep going!”

Leave no stone unturned, no plant pot un-shaked, and no puzzle unsolved, that’s what I always say!

Particular puzzles players can expect to come across include Morse code, and conversely something that looks like Morse code but isn’t. There are a couple of ‘directional’ style puzzles to watch out for, and one particularly fiendish pattern puzzle which probably took up 20% of our whole gameplay time but felt super satisfying when we did ‘clock’ it. There’s a little bit of time travel in this game too, which is a nice mechanic not possible in real life but believable (and wonderful) in a video game.

Other Notable Stuff

Firstly, the artwork! Seriously, wow. This game is be-you-tee-ful. If you like dark forests and vintage phones and lights and clocks and keys and trains all rendered in a beautiful hand drawn style, then this is for you. In fact, stop what you’re doing! Go play it now! The images I’ve included in this article speak for themselves.

Secondly, the atmosphere. The night I played this I was home alone and wearing headphones. Every tiny creak in the game as I moved around a dusty room and every distant bird call I assumed somebody was in my apartment and about to murder me… Thankfully, I’m still here! Just a little spooked.


My experience of Tick Tock: A Tale for Two was absolutely magical. A combination of playing the game with excellent company, a spooky Friday night in and just a general sense of “wow the developers of this game should be so proud” makes this an exceptional game in my book. Plus, it’s such a good price. I picked it up in a Steam sale but it’s the kind of game I want to go back and re-purchase for full price. 100% worth it.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two can be purchased for £5 on Steam or the Nintendo eShop. You can find all links on their website here. All images for this article are from Tick Tock: A Tale for Two’s press kit.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist


It’s the hottest summer on record, and all across Europe, valuable objects are disappearing. Museum curators unlock cabinets and find precious artefacts stolen. Wealthy mansion owners wake up to see their priceless paintings have vanished from the walls. One thing’s clear: a master thief is touring the continent and the police are left scratching their heads.

Time Played: 30 minutes
Console: PC
Recommended For: Everyone (It’s Free!)

I’ll be shortening Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist from herein to “Dr. Langeskov” for… Obvious reasons. It’s a fantastic escape room style adventure game involving a tiger, a mysterious haunted mansion, a lot of rain, and some incredible action sequences which- OH GOD! I QUIT TOO! *throws papers in the air and goes on strike*

Dr. Langeskov is a game that masters the art of breaking the fifth wall. It’s actually not about any of those things I just described, because the fact is it’s a game about running a game. You arrive at the title scene only for a nervous narrator to explain that the game isn’t quite ready. There’s someone in there still playing it and you can’t just go barging in, you have to wait your turn. But since you’re there, you may as well help out, right? Pretty much all the staff are on strike due to low pay and too frequent tiger accidents. With less hands on board, the narrator gently encourages you to progress: pull a lever there, press some buttons, put out a fire, trigger a lift (that the REAL player is in) to start moving, and so on.

So why am I talking about it here in The Escape Roomer?

Well, good question. It’s not really puzzle-y but it’s certainly mysterious, short and fun. Plus, I did a casual “Let’s Play” on Monday on Twitch, and it felt fresh in the mind for reviewing!

I love any sort of video game where the only puzzle is figuring out what the heck is going on (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is another great example of this). In Dr. Langeskov, you’re piecing together the ‘who, what, when, where and how’ with the use of your WASD keys and a right click.

Hidden throughout the game were even more curious items which prompt mysterious questions. Here are a few, hinted at by the host of achievements you can get on Steam:

  • Steal your first five francs – hidden on every level are some coins. Collect them all? It’s not as easy as it sounds!
  • Every Nook and Cranny – again, hidden throughout the game are a number of pretzels. Find them all.
  • Orange Thief – steal enough coins to collect the orange drink from the vending machine.


I’m keeping this review short and sweet because honestly you could probably go and download the game and start playing faster than it takes you to read my average review and since it’s free, why not? Sure, don’t go into it expecting an escape room if you heard about it here… But do go in ready for a mystery, many walls to be broken, and a hearty laugh.

Play Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald for free on Steam.

Night in the Woods


College dropout Mae Borowski returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren’t the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades.

Time Played: 10 hours
Console: Nintendo Switch
Recommended For: Everyone! No really, go play it!

Okay, so I really toyed with whether or not to write up a review for Night in the Woods on The Escape Roomer. This blog is, well, about escape room and *escape room adjacent* games, experiences etc. That includes a lot of puzzle games too! But Night in the Woods doesn’t have any puzzles in it, it’s a game about story and exploration. But it’s also a story about being at the heart of a mystery and solving it too. Think of it like an escape room video game but you’re a passive observer wondering what is real and what isn’t real, whilst also trying to live your life. I think that’s a fairly accurate explanation that stays true to this website.

So with that, let’s get into it!

You are Mae Borowski and you’ve returned to your home town of Possum Springs after dropping out of college. The town you grew up in is both upsettingly different and at the same time just as agonisingly the same. Your friends, family, neighbours – they’re just waking up and going through the routine of life. Wake, eat, work, sleep. But something isn’t right, first a few missing posters of a kid you used to know, then a severed arm shows up outside the diner… There’s mystery afoot! But you’re just a kid, right? You have your own problems. But slowly, slowly as the autumn turns to winter, your path and the mysteries of Possum Springs begin to converge.

Despite the game never once giving you any instructions or goals, the aim of Night in the Woods is really simple. It’s a coming of age story told through the lens of American urban decay. The mining the industry sector has all buy dried up and small businesses close to make way for chains and sprawling malls. Your father, once a miner now works at a deli counter. And you? You don’t have a job, or any meaning, or direction. You just explore, you exist. Oh and OF COURSE you solve the mystery.

I’m being deliberately cagey about the mystery as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But you’ll be presented with evidence in drips and drabs throughout the game, have to make choices and face real consequences for your choices. It touches on the supernatural, the criminal and the down right “wow that’s creepy and unexpected”.

So the main reason I’m even writing about Night in the Woods is because I loved it. I picked it up in the Switch winter sale and I’m glad I did, as it easily pips it for me as one of my favourite games of 2020. What a note to end on!

Night in the Woods is by Infinite Fall and it can be played for $19.99 USD on Windows, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Support them by heading to their website here.