Now listen up readers, we’ve got a new segment on this blog! VIDEO GAMES! That’s right! I’m planning on breaking up my regular escape room content with an escape room “adjacent” game review once a month (or every two months, we’ll see how this goes).
If anybody knows me personally (or is even remotely interested in my life), you may know I no longer work in the escape room industry, and I’ve accepted a dream job in the video game industry which I’m so, ridiculously, unbelievably excited to start in January!
But before you suddenly hit “unsubscribe” or go to unfollow my social channels… Hear me out! The video game industry is absolutely PACKED with escape room and puzzle games. You’ve got the classic Rusty Lake on mobile devices, the Ubisoft VR series, or computer (and console) experience such as The Room, Myst, The Experiment, MOTAS, The Doors… Honestly, the list goes on!
So from this point onward, I’m going to be picking, playing and reviewing a video game as often as I can that I consider close to an escape room experience. I’ll be looking for the following (loosely defined criteria):
Does the gameplay feature puzzles or logic questions?
Note, I didn’t say “is the game a puzzle game” because plenty of fantastic games that absolutely fit the category of an ‘escape room’ video game might put narrative, or walking/exploring above puzzles.
- Example of a game where puzzles are the #1 mechanic – Portal
- Example of a game where logic is the #1 mechanic – The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
- Example of a game where puzzles/logic is secondary – Myst
Does the game have a ‘mystery’ narrative?
For me, this is quite important! Every good escape room has a goal – and usually a mysterious one. Whether that be to find something, to uncover something, or to solve a murder. I’ll be looking out for this in my video games. Here are some good examples:
- What Remains of Edith Finch
- L.A. Noire
- The Stanley Parable
…And finally, Triple A versus Indie Short?
Okay so this is just my personal preference, but I started this blog to support the escape room industry (it’s why my reviews are overwhelmingly positive – I want to find the good in everything). So whilst your Skyrim, or your Assassin’s Creed, or your Fallout games MIGHT have some good puzzles and fantastic mysteries (Detective Nick Valentine in Fallout 4 anybody?), I’m primarily here to support smaller indie companies that more closely fit into the escape room genre.
As a huge generalisation, I find these games are usually created by indie studios, are under 30 hours of gameplay, and don’t feature enormous maps or countless side quests. But, as this category is brand new to the blog, we’ll see where it goes!
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.