Oxenfree | Review


Oxenfree Review | Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift. Play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenager who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on an old military island. The night takes a terrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly gate spawned from the island’s cryptic past. How you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you’ve unleashed is up to you. YOU determine every aspect of Alex’s story while exploring Edwards Island, uncovering the base’s dark past, and changing the course of your friends’ lives.

Developer: Night School Studio
Date Played: December 2021
Console: Nintendo Switch
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 4 hours

I’m so glad I managed to squeeze in one last video game in 2021, and I’m especially glad it was this one. Because Oxenfree has swooped in at the very last minute and takes the title of being my favourite game played in this entire year. No joke! After originally launching in 2016, it’s one of those games that has been on my wishlist for years. With the Christmas break comes more time off to finally work through my ‘to-play’ pile, and all I can do now is regret that it took me 5 whole years to pick it up!

But, it seems like I’ve played it just in the nick of time – for Oxenfree II – Lost Signals is due to release some time in 2022. If you’ve ever wanted to play Oxenfree but needed a sign, this is your sign.

“Alle alle auch sind frei”

Contrary to popular belief, Oxenfree is not about Oxen. You’ll free exactly zero Ox in this short, supernatural thriller. The phrase actually comes from a German nursery rhyme, “alle alle auch sind frei” or olly olly oxen free” here in the UK which loosely means “all are free” in both translations.

This sets the scene for the game which is mixed up in supernatural horror of submarine vessels, abandoned military outposts and lots and lots of lost radio wave signals. You play a group of late-teen high schoolers sneaking off to the abandoned Edwards Island, an old military outpost with no phone signal for an annual party.

With phrases like “supernatural thriller”, “terrifying turn” and “ghostly rift” packed into the game’s description, it’s fair to guess that the evening goes horribly, horribly wrong. The main character Alex quickly uncovers a sift in the space time continuum and lets through malevolent voices of the dead (or undead) leak into the radio waves. The five friends must work together, solve puzzles, and escape the island before dawn, but nobody will return quite the same person they left.

What I wasn’t expecting was just how scary Oxenfree actually is. It’s not your classic ‘jump in your seat’ horror game, but the kind of slow paced but horrific ghost story of Victorian parlour novels. It chills to the bone.

Unlock Doors… With Radio Waves?

One of the cool things about playing Oxenfree from an escape room enthusiast point of view, is how we approach the puzzles. The first thing of note was the method of unlocking the numerous locked doors across Edward Island. That is, by radio.

At the start of the game you’re told by one of the other characters that mobile phones don’t work so everything runs off the radio. As such, you’re given a handheld radio that can receive information. Pretty handy, given there are information boards around the island that can be listened to if only you tune into the right frequency. The radio also picks up all sorts of random chatter, distant waves from the mainland, and snippets of conversation that don’t mean much.

Around halfway through the game you discover a very unique use of your handheld radio – opening doors. It seems as if many locks on the island can be triggered by simply turning to the correct frequency. It’s not a puzzle I’ve ever seen before, but it worked so well in Oxenfree. Your handheld radio becomes not only your only lifeline to your friends and the outside work, but also your skeleton key.

But that’s not all, as a player you’ll also need to navigate through time loops, explore a vast map, recall information scattered to the wind, and of course solve the mystery. There’s a huge mystery at the centre of Oxenfree and whilst there’s no real way to “win” the game, you can certainly lose if you end the game and haven’t fully made sense of what just happened.

Like Ships that Pass in the Night

Like the famous phrase “like ships that pass in the night”, your slow meandering through the world of Oxenfree feels like a ship on the ocean. Your radio is your beacon light, but more often than not lures you into the rocks to crash and die than serves as your saviour.

To give too much detail would spoil the story, but it’s important to reiterate that if you race (or should I say pace quickly) through the game at the minimum (4-5 hours) you won’t get to see the real ending. On my first play through I did exactly that. Followed by lots of Googling questions. I then played Oxenfree a second time, and noticed a lot more and took more time in each location to explore the details. There were questions I hadn’t known I needed to ask, and alternate endings that changed the meaning of the game entirely.

If I had one piece of criticism of the game it would be the pace. Your character walks very slowly. After spending 10 minutes walking to the top of a hill, the characters would have a short conversation and I’d have to turn right back around again for the long walk back. But on the other side, the pacing works so well for a narrative driven game like this. Each dialogue choice you make and each path you take in the game to get from A to B has consequences. As the clock slowly creeps from midnight towards dawn, there’s a sense of timelessness as if the night will last forever.

The Verdict

Oxenfree is an incredibly powerful game and an example of fantastic storytelling in video games. From the gorgeous, moody artwork, to the eerie music that you can’t quite get out of your head even once you’ve put your console to sleep. It’s a supernatural mystery game that will stick with me for a long time.

To play Oxenfree, head to the developer’s website and choose your platform here.

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.

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.


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.

Superliminal | Review


Superliminal Review | As you fall asleep with the TV on at 3AM, you remember catching a glimpse of the commercial from Dr.Pierce’s Somnasculpt dream therapy program. By the time you open your eyes, you’re already dreaming – beginning the first stages of this experimental program. Welcome to Superliminal. 

Developer: Pillow Castle Games 
Console Played On: Steam 
Number Of Players: 

Mental Note: 3am Alarms Suck.

Are you a lucid dreamer? Check ✅  

Do you like novelty-sized chess pieces? Check ✅

Do you appreciate the thematics of Lewis Carroll? Check ✅  

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

Sign On The Dotted Line To Begin 

Superliminal’s outline is you fall asleep, into a dream and you have to get yourself out. The premise is simple; however the methods are much less so. Getting from A to B requires firstly, working out what objects you can manipulate, and secondly, how you use those objects to achieve success. 

The game’s narrative alongside the theming, keeps you constantly guessing; the moment you think you have a handle on it, is the moment the rug gets pulled from under you. This is fully intentional and considering the concept, works superbly well in Superliminal’s presented environment. Additionally, the tempo of the game is finely tuned, to exploit the dream-like immersion that the player experiences to its maximum.  

Everything that is presented in Superliminal has a purpose; even the loading screens play their part! The visuals overall whilst aren’t ground-breaking, serve their purpose throughout; assisting the extremely strong theming and immersive factors.  

Mental Note: Don’t Make A Sound.

Take Control Of Your Dreams 

The controls are absolutely spot on. On steam, players have full choice between using a keyboard and mouse combination or using their gaming pad of choice. I opted to use a switch pro controller and wasn’t disappointed with my decision. The full customisations of button mapping and sensitivity controls are present to suit all player types. This is an important staple to the experience, especially when the game’s mechanical concepts, particularly in the beginning; require a lot of focus to comprehend. 

Work Your Way To Awakening 

The puzzles in Superliminal are centred around three factors; perspective, misdirection and illusion. This may seem like a limited range, but the applied depth and variation of these factors over the course of playing, creates a wholly impressive puzzle set. Additionally, whilst there is repetition of some of the set pieces, there are justified reasons for this; linking it to the overarching concept and immersive qualities. 

My only criticism of Superliminal lies in chapter 6. It is very easy to lose your way and end up getting stuck, with nothing to tell you so; all because you made a single wrong decision. If this does happen, just restart from checkpoint in the pause menu and don’t identically repeat the same steps; try at least one thing different next time. 

Because of the difficulty of some of the more heavily lateral-based puzzles, certain parts of Superliminal can be frustrating at times. There is no hint system either, however there are plenty of video walkthroughs available; often split into chapters making potential spoilers easy enough to avoid. 

Mental Note: Stronger Grocery Bags Next Time.

“It Came To Me In A Dream!” 

During the first chapter, you would be forgiven, like me, to mutter the foolish words… 

“Oh, this is a Portal clone.” 

It is certainly, certainly not the case. 

Each chapter has something original to offer despite the (justified) repetitive elements. As you progress through the 9 chapters, theming and puzzles become more and more varied, immersion becomes more and more engrossing, and the whole experience becomes more and more exciting. It all comes together with a very satisfying ending too. 

The Value Of Good Sleep Is Priceless 

The price point, is around the £16 mark for all consoles. For that you get a main attraction that will keep you busy for at least 3 hours. On top of that, once completed, there are 3 additional modes including the aptly named challenge mode; which breathes new life into the main campaign. Furthermore, Pillow Castle Games are a small games development company, and I’d go as far as to say that this package could be priced slightly more, and still be a fair deal for the consumer. Getting it for less than that is an absolute steal.  

For The Daydreamer Or Dreamweaver?

Fair warning; this game requires a lot of lateral, out-of-the-box thinking. Is it not a conventional escape game. Some players may breeze through it, some may struggle quite a bit. Despite this however, the self-satisfaction of completing the puzzles presented, will make you “oooh” and “ahhh” as your brain releases endorphins for a job well done.   


I’m not one to be easily impressed, however when the credits rolled at the end of my playthrough of Superliminal, I went cold; I sat in my chair and reflected on the experience. Then, I went and told everyone I knew to play this game. It is developers like Pillow Castle, that are creating the full package of immersion, challenge vs reward and original ideas; then, wrapping this all together at a price point that is of outstanding value.  
Bottom line; it’s an amazing game, you will not regret playing it.  

To play Superliminal on your console of choice, head to the developer’s page here.

The House Of Da Vinci 2 | Review


The House Of Da Vinci 2 Review | Become an apprentice of the famous Leonardo da Vinci. Solve handcrafted mechanical 3D puzzles and discover hidden secrets. Navigate through mesmerizing environments of the Italian Renaissance. Travel through time to influence your surroundings. 

Developer: Blue Brain Games 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes 
Number Of Players: 1

I asked Leo to do my makeup. Needless to say, it took a while.

Do you wish that you lived in the renaissance era? Check ✅

Would you like to work for Leonardo Da Vinci? Check ✅

Would you like to travel back and forth through 16th Century Italy? Check ✅

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

“Painting Is Poetry That Is Seen Rather Than Felt, And Poetry Is Painting That Is Felt Rather Than Seen.” 

The House Of Da Vinci 2 starts by (literally) taking no prisoners. As the character Giacomo, you are guided to escape your prison cell, to meet with a mysterious character; proposing an offer you cannot refuse.  

The look and feel of the game are idiomatic from the beginning. Furthermore, the detailed aesthetics of the puzzles are in some cases, stunning; adding to the responsibility of drawing the player into the game’s world with ease. 

My one drawback from an immersion perspective is the voice acting, which at best, is wooden. The cut scenes in the game are heavily driven by NPC dialogue and it does take a slight shine off an otherwise, immersive experience. 

Real feels Leo. Real feels.

“Once You Have Tasted Flight, You Will Forever Walk The Earth With Your Eyes Turned Skyward…” 

I’m in two minds about the control. The handheld control I found intuitive and easy to get on with. The console-docked method however I found to be quite the opposite. 

Handheld allows you to either use the joy-con controllers, touchscreen or an interchangeable hybrid of both. There are plenty of calibration tweaks that can be applied in the options menu, for further customisation and personal comfort. 

The console-docked method involves a single detached joy-con only, to be pointed at the TV, like a mouse. The biggest setback; is that this method is right joy-con compatible only. The left joy-con has no option to be used. (If you saw our Palindrome Syndrome review, I mentioned that I am left-handed). Therefore, I didn’t feel comfortable using this control method. It is something I would like for the developers to consider, if any updates are on the horizon. 

“…Realise That Everything Connects To Everything Else” 

The majority of puzzles presented, are logical and satisfying to complete. Puzzle types include observation, searching, placement, logic and math. Be warned however that observation and attention play a huge part in the player’s success. There were a few times that I was stuck in a room, pressed for a hint and was asked to merely open a door handle or a latch to a drawer. These slip-ups were sometimes my own poor attentive skills, but in some cases, it was due to the mechanisms not being signposted clear enough on screen to engage with. 

The hints system works well in gradually assisting the player to the next progression, usually in 2, 3 or 4 stages. The collection of hints per puzzle are unlocked gradually through time spent looking around and attempting. This is a very organic process and strikes a fine balance between getting stuck for too long and spamming the hints from the off, preventing the risk of an overly-easy playthrough. 

A Led Zeppelin song comes to mind…

Art Is Never Finished, Only Abandoned.” 

What I like most about The House Of Da Vinci 2, is the reason that Giacomo becomes Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice. I’m not going to spoil it for potential players, but it is a fantastic story-piece, that bolsters the narrative’s depth. 

Whist I mentioned above that the puzzle aesthetics are generally strong, the puzzle mechanics and types are not that varied. A lot of the puzzles require acute observational skills and, in some cases; can come off as pedestrian. Because of this, some players may find the game at times, repetitive and frustrating. 

That being said, the return of the time travel mechanic from the first game; whilst not a completely original concept, is still exciting; adding further depth to the puzzles presented. There is a great satisfaction in going back in time, to change a prop’s position or picking up an item, thus carving out a solution in the present. 

Priceless Art Or Worthless Fake? 

The current value for The House Of Da Vinci 2 varies based on console choice. Mobile is priced at £4.99, whereas Switch is £8.99. Steam however is priced at £17.99. I’m going to base this on the console played (Switch), so add or remove a star for value for money, if you opt for one of the other two choices. 

£8.99 I feel is a very reasonable price point for a game that will provide around 10 hours worth of solid, enjoyable game play. 

For The Artist Or The Apprentice? 

I’m going to put it out there and say that the majority of content in The House Of Da Vinci 2 is not difficult… as long as you pay attention. It is a game that rewards you for having a keen eye for nuance and the finer details. It’s when your mind might wander; for example, you look at your phone for a brief moment, during a short, automated cut scene; you miss an integral part to progress, and therefore have no choice but to use hints. (Yes, this did happen to me *cough*). 

Bottom line, if you have a short attention span; you might struggle, and yes, I am calling myself out here. 


This is a good game and has many reasons for it to be considered as your next purchase. Whilst there are some niggles and frustrations, these are often minor and do not take away from a satisfying experience.

Discolored | Review


Discolored Game Review | A lonely roadside diner in the middle of the desert. The locals say it’s lost all its colour. You are sent to investigate. Discoloured is a strange and surreal puzzle adventure, taking place over two-or-so hours in a single desolate location. Your mission: restore the colour to this once-vibrant world. What caused the colours to disappear? How can they be brought back? 

Developer: Godbey Games 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Touchscreen Compatible: No 

Do you like abstract and surreal surroundings? Check ✅

Do you enjoy the primary colours of light? Check ✅

Are you a fan of Tolkien’s Eye of Sauron? Check ✅

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

Pink Floyd might want a word…

One For The Road 

You play through the eyes of an unnamed detective tasked to find the missing colours of a roadside diner… and that’s about all I can tell you. 

Unlike many other escape games, Discolored has no beginning or ending narrative; neither through text or voiceover. You are thrown into the game from the off, without any warning. Whilst I like the no-messing-around style, it did feel a little empty to have absolutely nothing to introduce you to the storyline. The end of the game also feels like the rug has been pulled from under your feet, albeit, not in a very exciting way. It’s a shame, as the ending does hint towards a potential sequel; something which I feel the developers could certainly do it justice. 

Contrarily; the middle of the game, where the player is at the diner, does have merit. The music whilst minimalistic, sets the tone very well. The art execution, particularly when progressing through the puzzles, provide a simplistic, yet sharp and engrossing environment. Finally, the antagonistic figure that arrives just before the end section, possesses an impressive sinister aura for its modest physical qualities. 

Show me a 4 digit code pleeeeeease!

Directions For The Diner 

Controls are universal; left stick to move forward/back/left/right and the right stick to turn. There are a number of options to adjust sensitivity. There is also a choice to either be free-roaming or stationary point-and-click. I feel that this is a great feature and it provides more comfort in control, based on personal playing preferences. 

There are a few things that I would like considered if an update is in the pipe-line.  

  1. Like Palindrome Syndrome, when focussing upon a puzzle, the cursor on screen is controlled by the right analog stick, with no option to change it to the left.  
    (The pain of being left handed is eternal). 
  2. The choice of sensitivity generally works, however once focussed upon a puzzle, the sensitivity becomes super sensitive and as a result, caused my cursor to fly off screen with the same amount pressure used, when not focussed upon a puzzle. I got used to it eventually, but it did take a mental adjustment. 
  3. There is no quit/return to title button in the pause menu. You have to quit the game from the switch home screen. 

Don’t get me wrong, the controls work on a fundamental basis. Once I got over the initial mental obstacles, it proved for a smooth playing experience. 

Such Pretty Colours… 

I feel that the puzzles and the aesthetics behind them, are certainly the strongest part of Discolored. Puzzle types include; searching, placement, observation and logic. Whilst not overly challenging or varied, they are balanced and thematic. The method of using certain key items (or not) to progress, is a welcome mechanic to the game. 

The hints system works well and is short, sharp and to-the-point. Furthermore, there is an option in the controls to allow a second, visual hint, in certain areas of the game; if you get stuck further. 

Be like the water.

Something Is Always Watching… 

Aside from the mechanic that allows (or prevents) you from viewing or using certain inventory items based on the placement of specific key items; the majority of the puzzles don’t offer much in terms of originality when compared to other escape games on the market. 

The abstract and surreal narrative plot-point however, is certainly a fresh concept. However as mentioned above, it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t been embellished further.  

Desert Dollars 

Discolored is priced at £8.99 on the switch and £5.49 on steam. An experienced puzzler might finish this between 30 minutes and an hour, otherwise between 90 minutes and 2 hours is a fair estimation.

The switch price for some, (especially the more experienced puzzler) may not be enough to warrant value, however the steam price, is on the right side of justification for all to purchase. 

For The Starting Sleuth Or The Daring Detective? 

Discolored would be a great recommendation for any prospective player who has played less than 5 escape rooms (IRL or virtual); it’s a solid entry-level game.

On a completely different note, I’d also recommend it to game designers who are looking for a product that projects strong aesthetics, from a limited palette.  


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

Overall – ⭐️ (Good) 

This is a good game. The art design and application of colour in the puzzles are definite highlights. However, for value and control reasons, I strongly recommend that you play this on steam instead of switch.

Conversely, there is buckets of potential for a sequel, that has every opportunity to be even more successful. 

Check out the developer’s page for Discolored 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.

The Office Quest | Review


The Office Quest Review | Not all heroes wear capes… some prefer fluffy onesies. The Office Quest is a point & click adventure for all of you people who cannot stay in the office any longer! Solve challenging puzzles and riddles. 

Developer: 11Sheep 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes 

Disclaimer! This review is for console-based versions of the game, and not for mobile. There are some interface differences between the two, that create a slightly different experience. 

Are you bored of your 9-5 office job? Check ✅

Do you wish you could escape – literally? Check ✅

Would you like a new job, where the interview process involves dressing up as a cactus, riding a unicycle and juggling? Check  ✅

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

Just Another Day At The Office… 

The Office Quest involves you controlling an unnamed hero, bored out of their mind at work. Their desk flower suddenly loses its colour, and the colour whooshes away! Astounded, you leave your desk to bring the colour back.  

I know this sounds crazy-odd, but it works so well alongside the Hanna-Barbera type, silent cartoon aesthetics. The character design is also highly intriguing. The majority of NPCs in the game (plus the player character themselves), consist of a human in a comical onesie costume. Additionally, some of the costumes themselves, pave the way for interesting items to be picked up and utilised to advance through certain puzzles.  

Each chapter has its own feel and signatures, which tie the narrative together effectively. The initial concern of chapters being considered disparate and disjoined from one another, was quickly dismissed from the seamlessness of the overarching story.   

Say it with flowers. Or better still, emojis.

“You’re Just A Step On The Bossman’s Ladder…” 

The control works mostly at a consistent level. Player controller movement is either done by analog control; using the left stick to move a pointer around and clicking where you want the player character to go, or touchscreen can be used instead. There are no sensitivity settings for analog control unfortunately. Furthermore, there is a short series of platforming puzzles in chapter 3 that does not allow you to use touchscreen; therefore, if you have been using touchscreen controls exclusively prior, it’s not the most welcome experience.  

Despite that, the control works perfectly well for the majority of the gameplay. You can switch between analog and touchscreen in most cases too, which is useful; especially for the more dexterously challenging puzzles. 

“…But You Got Dreams He’ll Never Take Away” 

The Office Quest has a wide range of puzzle types to solve. These include searching, logic, pattern matching, memory, observation, dexterity and as mentioned previously; platforming. Yes, you heard me right. I hope you’ve had your Sonic/Mario training in for chapter 3. The platforming might put some potential buyers off; however it is relatively short in the grand scheme of things.  

What I really did like about the puzzles in The Office Quest, was the reworking of classic games and conundrums into puzzles. A noughts-and-crosses type game with a twist in chapter 2, alongside the ownership of the Wolf, Goat and Cabbage Problem (google it), in a way that is highly relevant to the game’s characters. 

There is no hints system however, for the console-version of this game, and the guides available online aren’t very refined. There’s no official guide either, so tread carefully when looking for clues, so you don’t mistakenly see the solution! There was one puzzle in particular in chapter 2 (involving a television and changing the channel by aerial), that was not signposted all that well. As a result, I had to tread carefully around the web to find a suitable clue to move forward. 

That being said, the breadth of puzzles on offer is solid and enjoyable for the most part. 

The record deal came with a monkey chauffeur as standard.

I’ll Never Forget That Job Interview! 

Where the Office Quest really shines however, is not the puzzle types, but the execution of the puzzles themselves. Many of the puzzles are presented in a way that is funny, charming and adds real value to the narrative. This is especially commendable when the medium of communication in the game is almost entirely visual. I’m not going to forget anytime soon for example; my character undergoing a job interview, whilst dressed as a cactus, performing on a unicycle and juggling 3 cactus-shaped balls to impress the boss. 

Another highlight comes early on in chapter 1, where you have to sneak past a board meeting involving a pineapple, a rabbit and a carrot. The steps you take to achieve your goal, alongside the unique actions and reactions, are equally funny and memorable.   

Salary Deductions

The Office Quest is priced at around the £9.99 mark for most consoles. An experienced puzzler will probably complete each of the 4 chapters between 30 minutes to an hour. Whereas the lesser experienced puzzler may take double that. I feel this is a very fair price point for an independent games development company. 

For The Office Junior Or The CEO? 

The first chapter of The Office Quest, whilst has its challenges, is well-balanced in difficulty. The following chapters however, are certainly more difficult in areas and will require more patience and determination to see you through. I feel this would be most suitable for puzzlers at an intermediate level.  

One final thought to consider; the game presents no (explicit) vocal and very little reading in terms of signposting. The majority of it is visually presented. This in itself can present an initial learning curve. 


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

Overall –  ⭐️⭐️ (Great) 

This is another great game with a solid price tag. The execution of the puzzles; relating to the game’s immersive qualities I feel, is enough to warrant a playthrough, however there is plenty, plenty more to be enjoyed here. 

You can purchase The Office Quest on your platform of choice here.

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.