Do Not Feed the Monkeys | Review


Do Not Feed the Monkeys Review | A digital voyeur simulator where you watch strangers through surveillance cameras. Invade their privacy and witness their most intimate moments, but don’t interact with the subjects – anything could happen if you dare feed the monkeys!

Developer: Fictiorama Studios
Date Played: August 2021
Console: PC
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 4.1 hours

The first rule of Primate Observation Club is… Do not feed the monkeys! 🙊

You may be surprised to hear that my favourite genre of video game is not escape room video game. Sure, I love them. But there’s something I love even more: “Dystopian, Plate-Spinning, Time Management” games. For example, Arianna Ravioli’s Will Die Alone, or the classic Papers, Please. Do Not Feed the Monkeys fits beautifully into this category. You play a burned out employee tasked with the dystopian task of monitoring lots of CCTV feeds and making notes of what you see. Whilst juggling your new job you must also find a way to earn enough money to pay your rent, keep yourself fed and ensure you get enough sleep. If you don’t keep up with your tasks, you’ll be fired. Shit. Perhaps you should feed the monkeys…?

Welcome to the Primate Observation Club

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a brilliant game of human observation and one that begins with a mysterious invitation to join the Primate Observation Club.

At first, I definitely thought this game would actually be about monkeys… But how wrong I was! It’s instead about you, an un-named member of the mysterious club, watching a host of colourful characters including a man that might actually be Hitler, a janitor trapped in an elevator, a team of writers working for a horrible boss, and a kid that won’t stop crying.

Your goal is to watch them, and learn about them. Armed with a notebook, an in-game search engine, a night vision camera and recording software, it’s really that simple. But let’s not forget that you’re also a living, breathing person. You have to also keep yourself alive, well fed, get enough sleep, pay your rent, and so on. It’s up to you to decide how you spend your time in the game. Can you afford to live, or will you have to go get a day job? Equally, can you really afford to miss even a second away from your computer? What if something important happens?! Argh!

On my first play through of the game, I did not “feed the monkeys” once, and I passed the whole game with flying colours. On the second play through I fed alllll the monkeys and let chaos reign.

What Happens if you Feed the Monkeys?

You CAN risk it and feed the monkeys of course. Let’s get into that.

By “feeding the monkeys” what we really mean is interacting with the humans you’re meant to be watching. Throughout your research you will discover things about them such as their phone numbers, addresses, hopes and dreams. If you want to make contact, you absolutely can. Nobody is off limits. but, you’ll need to be careful as this may lock off certain endings!

For example, in one of my play-throughs I stayed up very late and paid particular attention to one screen and discovered the devil. In a moment of weakness, I got in touch with a priest and we decided to perform an exorcism. Just for a laugh, of course. However for the rest of my game this screen ended up completely blank, and I missed an entire character arc. Instead in it’s place one of the side jobs I was offered was professional exorcism. It paid well. You win some, you lose some.

Conversely, not feeding the monkeys can have disastrous effects. In some of my play throughs I discovered a man trapped in a lift with no hope in sight. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find out enough information as to where he was, and wasn’t able to save him. That screen too eventually went blank. *sobs*

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a dangerous balancing game of morals, with a line drawn in sand.

Each person is an enigma. You’re a puzzle not only to yourself but also to everyone else, and the great mystery of our time is how we penetrate this puzzle.

Theodore Zeldin

For this reason you might be wondering why we’re reviewing Do Not Feed the Monkeys on The Escape Roomer? The truth is, it’s a quirky, indie, mystery game because each and every one of the passing characters is a puzzle to be solved. The tools you’re given are different from a classic escape room game, but it’s no less rewarding when you finally crack the case.

A Life in Pixels

One of our favourite things about Do Not Feed the Monkeys has to be the particular, slightly depressing style of pixel art. This game came out in 2018, but the style throws back to classic 80s and 90s pixel adventure games. In a similar way to Thimbleweed Park, Do Not Feed the Monkeys evokes an era of paranoia, a kind of 1984 played through your computer screen.

For sure, there’s a certain irony to me sitting at home behind a computer screen, playing a character sitting at their computer screen, watching countless characters live their daily lives… Mostly behind computer screens too. The irony is not lost!

The Verdict

From the moment I loaded up Do Not Feed the Monkeys, I was absolutely sucked into the world. In fact, just a few hours before a real life flight I had to take, I was still logged in tapping away and watching those Monkeys, afraid to miss even a single second of voyeuristic fun!

(Thankfully, I didn’t miss my flight, but it was touch and go for a moment)

At the time of writing, I’ve played through Do Not Feed the Monkeys 3 times and I’ve yet to discover all the secrets of the game. I still don’t know how to save the man in the elevator, and I would really like to know more about war veteran from Freedonia. Each new play I discover more things and new, wildly unexpected alternate endings! I’ve read other reviews that describe things happening that I’ve never even been close to. How deep does this game go?

If you consider yourself the kind of person who can track down your friend’s crush on Facebook with just a first name and a vague description… Get this game.

But whatever you do… Do Not Feed the Monkeys.

Check out Do Not Feed the Monkeys yourself by heading to Fictiorama’s Website here.

Colour Zen | Review


Colour Zen Review | A new kind of puzzle game. One that invites you to put on your headphones, relax, and find your way through an abstract world of colours and shapes.

Developer: Large Animal 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Number Of Players: 1 
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes 

Would you like to chill whilst being challenged? Check ✅

Do you like trip-hop music? Check ✅

Do you like touchscreen controls that give you a sense of power? Check ✅

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

“Russ, Have You Seen This?”

I came across this game from an article my wife sent me, on Switch games that were currently free (or freemium). Most were action/FPS-based, however this one stood out for me. Curious to know more, I downloaded it and tried my hand at solving Colour Zen’s puzzles. 

Relax and Immerse Yourself 

You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing this game. One, its 8 years old and two, it’s freemium (initially free, but then can incur potential costs when the player is drawn in). That out of the way, if you haven’t played this before it might be worth a visit, particularly when mindfulness is a large tool for functioning well as a human being. 

There is no story or narrative, it is purely a vehicle of 120 puzzles to solve, using the game’s rules which ultimately revolve around; combine matching colours to fill the screen. To progress, your final move must fill the screen with the same colour that the boarder is. There are a couple of variances that come into play as you progress but on the whole it is deceptively simple. Of course, it is far from that. 

Simple But Effective

The visuals are simple, but they are attractive and the filling of the screen of differing colours are pleasing for the player to witness. They serve the game’s greater purpose very well; to create a relaxing environment whilst your brain is being challenged. Additionally, the music; another simple, implemented concept, has this major trip-hop vibe which again, fits the overall concept highly appropriately. It’s the kind of soundtrack that I would be looking for on Spotify to listen to whilst at work, or just before I go to sleep. 

Amazingly, with all these (minimalistic) parts coming together, there were many times that I lost myself in the game, becoming fully immersed. Not immersed in a conventional escape room sense, but more so that I forgot everything else around me whilst I was fixated on the challenges presented. Again, considering the game’s mantra of mindfulness, it’s a great triumph.  

Swiping Never Felt So Good 

Colour Zen is primarily suited to touchscreen consoles ie: Switch and Mobile. There are non-touchscreen options for the Switch but they are not finely tuned and do not present any options for differentiation. That being said, I’m certain everyone would choose to go touchscreen, given the choice. The touchscreen controls are in a word, majestic. The flicking motion to manipulate the coloured shapes on screen; simple but oh-so effective. It’s certainly one of the many factors that draws you into the overall immersion. 


Colour Me Puzzled! 

The puzzles are not overly innovative past the core game loop and they do not present any large amount of variance. What they do offer however, is a puzzle-set with a steady learning curve, and something that is balancing on the verge of challenging without being frustrating, which again, fits the objective of Colour Zen appropriately.  

There is no hints system, however you can skip a puzzle if it’s too difficult to solve. The first two skips are free, however from then on, any further ones do incur a financial cost. That aside, there are plenty of video walkthroughs online to bypass this cost. 

A Controversial Or Smart Decision On Price? 

So as previously mentioned, the download of the main game is free and presents 120 puzzles. There is a cost to skip levels if stuck, however as said before, video tutorials exist to quash this. They cost 89p for 3 in case you wish to do it old-school. 

If your appetite goes further than the 120 puzzles presented, you can purchase one of their many other Colour Zen puzzle bundles, that can be bought for 89p each. 

Aside from the freemium stigma, I feel that with the bypassing method as a remedy towards paying for level skips, this can be a very cost-effective method of getting your puzzle fix in. 

For A Shape-Thrower Or A Shapeshifter? 

Because of its easy-to-pick-up-difficult-to-master style gameplay and lack of price, this game is suitable for practically everyone. For children however, I’d advise adults to block any form of auto-payment, to prevent unwanted purchases. 


This is a game that is simple but effective. Yes, it’s freemium, but it’s easy to look past that; based on what is actually offered for free. If you are looking for a cost-effective game that promotes a simultaneous cocktail of challenge and mindfulness, then get it on your download list. 

Color Zen can be downloaded here.

Manifold Garden | Review


Manifold Garden Review | Rediscover gravity and explore an Escher-esque world of impossible architecture. Witness infinity in first-person and master its rules to solve physics-defying puzzles. Cultivate a garden to open new paths forward, where an eternal expanse awaits. 

Developer: William Chyr Studio 
Console Played On: Steam 
Number Of Players: 

Do you like optical illusions? Check ✅

Would you like to manipulate gravity? Check ✅

Do the thought of digital trees, pique your interest? Check ✅

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

Rediscover Gravity 

What is Manifold Garden about? It involves a nameless, voiceless first-person character attempting to cultivate a visually-inspiring garden through the power of mastering puzzles that defy and manipulate gravity. If like me however, you didn’t look at any blurbs and dove straight into the game; I wouldn’t criticise you for not being able to answer that question. 

The game straight-up, throws you into the fray with only some on-screen control pointers to assist you. Looking around, the first thing that comes to mind, is the art direction is simply wonderful. Heavily inspired by the artist M.C.Escher, it’s an absolute feast for the eyes and brain.    

Witness Infinity

The music is minimalistic yet fits the tone perfectly. It is a well-balanced blend of calmness and tension; which reflects the overarching ebb and flow of the gameplay progression.  

Whilst, the theming and visuals work together hand-in-hand, I was not all that immersed; I very much felt like I was in an art gallery, looking at pieces from the outside. I never imagined myself inside the environment. This is highly likely because there is ultimately no story or characters to bring the player into becoming fully immersed. I was constantly nodding my head at and buying into what I saw, but I was always conscious that it was me doing so. 

Explore Impossible Geometry

The controls work splendidly. On steam, players have full choice between using a keyboard and mouse combination or using their gaming pad of choice. The full customisations of button mapping and sensitivity controls are present to suit all player types. No complaints in this department whatsoever. 

Cultivate A Garden 

The puzzles are incredibly clever, especially when gravity is a primary factor in the mechanics. That aside, it needs to be said that Manifold Garden has only one major core game loop; you manipulate gravity to solve puzzles and progress further. The depth of the core game loop ie: the variance and freshness is certainly there, however many escape room fans might tire of the repetition.  

There is no explicit hints system, however the game does have one tool from the beginning that is a constant hint in itself; the dot/cross-hair in the middle of your screen changes colour based on certain aspects! It took me longer than I care to admit to realise this (at first, I was all “ooooh pretty colour change!”), but it is an integral part towards gameplay success. This alone however, is not always enough to prevent players from getting well and truly lost. Despite this, there are plenty of sectioned walkthroughs online, to navigate from any potential spoilers. 

An External Expanse Awaits 

The price point, is around the £16 mark for all consoles. Manifold Garden will keep players busy for around 5-10 hours based on a single playthrough. There is some opportunity for replay; less so for the puzzles, but more to revisit the stunning visuals. 

As always, because it is an indie games company, I feel the amount of content presented, justifies the price tag.   

For The Growing Seed Or The Established Tree? 

Fair warning; this game requires a fair amount of lateral thinking. The learning curve however, is well implemented; the difficulty increases on a fair and well-realised gradient over the course of the gameplay lifespan. 

I got caught by my wife on one or two occasions exclaiming “ooooooooooooooooh!” whilst wearing headphones, as I managed to solve certain puzzles presented that were particularly tricky. There are many opportunities here for headspace payoff and reward.  


Apparently, this game took 7 years to develop. Now here, it is an aesthetic feast for the eyes. Aside from that, as long as you have the patience for it, there is a solid collection of puzzle set pieces that will be greatly enjoyed. If you are looking for a game with painstaking and breath-taking artistic direction, then look no further than Manifold Garden. 

If you want to purchase Manifold Garden on your platform of choice, head to their website here.

Serial Cleaner


Slip on your flares, grab your shades and hop in your station wagon, it’s time to work… as a mob professional cleaner. A good cleaner never gets caught, so you have to make sure you get in, clean up and get out without leaving a trace of evidence in this stylish award winning 2D action-stealth game.

Time Played: 7 hours
Console: Nintendo Switch
Recommended For: Adults, Fans of Stealth Games

Content Warning: Death / Murder / Violence / Blood

Guilty pleasure admission, I LOVE this game. It’s got gorgeous artwork, slick game mechanics, increasingly complex puzzles to solve, and a fun plot packed with twists!

A mysterious phone call to your house and off you hop in your 70s card to a horrific crime scene. Enter, you. You play the role of “The Cleaner” and for once, rather than play a gun-toting maniac (like 99% of other games out there), you take on the joyous role of tidying up after said maniacs. Picture Grand Theft Auto but once you’ve driven away leaving bodies in the wake, the cleaner comes in with his mop and vacuum to save the day.

The inner Marie Kondo in me makes this an absolute joy to play. You must quietly slip into a building undetected, clean up as fast and quietly as you can, and disappear into the night. Never mind the hilarity that comes once a police officer’s back is turned you jump out from behind a plant pot and scrub the crime scene until it’s sparkling – only to have them turn back around, say “huh?” and continue on with their walking pattern.

So apparently I love cleaning? Tell that to the pile of dishes in my sink and laundry I forgot to put out this morning. But a game like Serial Cleaner is so much more than a cleaning simulation. It’s a stealth game at it’s heart and, in the most classic sense of the word, an escape room game. Yes, you literally have to escape into and out of rooms, armed with switches, hidden passages, oh and cleaning equipment?

Each ‘Contract’ comes by phone. You never know who you’re talking to and each murder scene gets grizzlier and more complex with each contract. But you’ve got bills to pay and therefore blood to clean.

My number one favourite thing about this game however is the artwork. It is…GORGEOUS. With it’s film-inspired costumes, clunky cars, brilliant shadows and lighting and funky soundtrack to boot. Makes you want to unbutton your shirt a few and don some aviator glasses.

Yes, the game is frustrating. Very much so! My regular escape room Player 2 didn’t get much further than Contract 3 before putting the game down. I, after a 4 day binge, eventually completed the game with a resounding breath of relief. You can spend 15 minutes painstakingly working your way around a level, picking up bodies, hiding and timing, flicking switches… Only to have a police office immediately shoot you dead because they turned quicker than you were expecting. Then it’s back to the start of the level. Every time.

But, when you DO complete a level, the feeling is euphoric. Why yes, I am the greatest cleaner of all time! Take that, cops!

Fans of the game will be pleasantly pleased to hear a sequel is in the works! The Cleaner (and a whole new team) are brought up to date (sorta) to a new setting – the 90s! The map is now 3D, the cops harder, the puzzles more complex, and the crime scenes grimmer. In short, I cannot wait.



Serial Cleaner can be played on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC & Mac. Check out and support the developers, Draw Distance on their website here.