Palindrome Syndrome Review | You wake up in a spaceship with no memories. In this escape room with a sci-fi setting you will have to investigate your past solving different puzzles. Will you be able to discover what happened to you and how did you get there?
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch
Touchscreen Compatible: No
Do you like space? Check ✅
Do you like puzzles? Check ✅
Are you a person who giggles gleefully at words like CIVIC, RADAR, RACECAR and TACOCAT?
….just me? *Ahem* Check ✅
Well if so, this escape game might just be for you.
“So, What Do You Like About Being Up Here?”
Palindrome Syndrome is a space themed game where you control a character who has woken up, alone, from a cryogenic sleep chamber. From there, you have to solve a number of puzzles in a room to move to the next; piecing together the narrative elements.
The wake-up icy effects at the start of the game, really helps pull you into the game straight away. The music is minimalistic; audio you would expect to hear in an airport waiting area, which in itself is highly appropriate for the progressing narrative.
The narrative is mostly pieced together as you progress further and further, however towards the end of the game when the narrative is realised; it truly gave me some chills down my spine! I came out of it with a real feeling of existential dread. That being said, I would really like to have seen the endgame sequence extended further, to increase the immersive intensity; instead, its unfortunately leaving me wanting more.
Be warned! Saving is manual via the pause menu. It works just fine, but don’t expect it to auto-save like I did!
One Small Step For Man…
The player controller movement is universal; left stick to move forward/back/left/right and the right stick to turn. There are sensitivity and invert Y axis options, which are well considered. A couple of points for improvement though:
- When focussing upon a puzzle the cursor on screen is controlled by the right analog stick. This threw me off to begin with, as I was trying to use the left analog stick as a default. Its a shame that there isn’t an option to switch this. Instead, I had to force myself to use the right stick (I’m left handed!).
- The snap-on mechanism when placing objects into designated areas was quite hard to do. The area of snap-on was quite small in a lot of cases, and required real precision from my (poor) right analog stick skills, otherwise the object would miss and return to its original placement.
The controls work on a fundamental basis, but if an update was made by the developers in future, these are what I would like to be considered.
In Space, Anything Is Possible.
There are a variety of puzzles including logic, observation, sequence, placement, decoding and math. I don’t mind math puzzles, but I know a lot of puzzlers who are not keen on them. There is a slight lean towards math puzzles against the other types in Palindrome Syndrome and this may put some potential buyers off.
All puzzles work as they should, with the exception of one placement puzzle. It works, but there is technically more than one correct answer and the game only accepts one of them; which took a small amount of time to cycle through each answer until one was accepted. There is no hint system either, however their official guide (link below) does the job and is cleverly redacted to prevent solution spoilers.
Aside from that, it is a satisfying collection of puzzles that are all around a similar difficulty range.
The Sky Is The Limit Only For Those Who Aren’t Afraid To Fly!
Is Palindrome Syndrome a good escape game? Most certainly.
Does it have any fresh ideas? Not really.
A lot of the concepts and puzzles, have already been tried and tested by many escape games preceding them. There are two elements however that did strike a chord with me:
- A light-based puzzle that was used multiple times, with some clever variants.
- The ending is not your usual “We escaped, hooray!” which I really applaud mc2games (as well as other developers), who take that risk in trying something different with the endgame formula.
In Space, No One Can Hear You Spend
The price on the switch store is £8.99 and is £7.19 on steam.
If you are a seasoned puzzler, this value might be less so as you are likely to finish the entire game quicker than my attempt. That being said, for an independent development team, I feel this price is very fair. It’s very important we give love to independent development teams as often their costs are larger than the more established!
For Space Cadets or Voyagers?
This would be an ideal game to pitch to a beginner or a casual puzzler. There is enough there to still engross a veteran, but it’s a strong introductory skill game based on the puzzles presented and time taken to complete.
Concept & Immersion – ⭐️⭐️ (Great)
Control – ⭐️ (Good)
Puzzles – ⭐️ (Good)
Freshness – ⭐️ (Good)
Value For Money – ⭐️⭐️ (Great)
Overall – ⭐️ (Good)
This is a good game pitched at a very fair price. It doesn’t break the mould in any large way, but if you have a spare hour or two, this is certainly worth your time; especially for the narrative pay-off at the end.
RussBuilds is an independent escape game designer. Here, he is writing on video games and escape rooms in the middle of the UK.