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.


New Puzzle Videogame ‘Escape Simulator’ launches this October!


Escape Simulator is a first-person puzzler you can play solo or in an online co-op. Explore a growing set of highly interactive escape rooms. Move furniture, pick up and examine everything, smash pots and break locks! Supports community-made rooms through the level editor.

Set a date for your diary: there’s a new escape room puzzle game in town!

Pine Studio (creators of Cats in Time, and Birdcage) have announced today that Escape Simulator is set to launch on PC next month, on October 19th. If you enjoyed the demo during the Steam Game Festival, you’ll love the full launch with 15 unique interactive escape room scenarios, customisable characters, online co-op, and a fun level-editor to build your own fiendish escape room challenges!

Face ingenuous locks in ancient Egypt. Hack the system in an adrift space shuttle. Decipher mysterious notes in the oddball Victorian library of Edgewood Mansion.

Given the long lockdown of only seeing your friends via a screen, Escape Simulator can’t come soon enough – and just in time for the spooky season no less! With very realistic escape room mechanics and so many puzzle possibilities, it’s the perfect way to get together digitally with a friend from the comfort of your own home. Most importantly, just like in a real escape room… If it’s not nailed down, you can pick it up and move it around!

Play together in the Edgewood Mansion

Create your own Escape Room Games

One of the most exciting aspects of Escape Simulator that we can’t wait for is the escape room level editor. An integration with the Steam Workshop puts power in the hands of players and allows the community to create and share their escape room designs. The possibilities are endless and imagination’s the limit!

If you’ve always wanted to create your own escape room but never before had the tools, Escape Simulator’s creator Tomislav Podhraški sets the following challenge,

The ultimate moment for us will be getting stuck in our own game – thwarted by a player who’s custom-made room is way smarter than us. That’ll be pretty neat.

Tomislav Podhraški

Do you and your buddies have what it takes? 🔎

Be the first to play. Wishlist Escape Simulator now on Steam and Join the Discord.

Goosebumps: The Game | Review


Goosebumps: The Game Review – The walk home from school today is going to be a lot spookier than usual… Your sleepy neighborhood’s been overrun by monsters! Werewolves prowl the woods, Gnomes roam underfoot, and scarecrows walk at midnight. But these aren’t ordinary monsters—they’re R.L.

Developer: WayForward
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch
% Completed: 100%
Time Taken: 6 hours
Recommended For: Fans of Goosebumps!

POV: You’re me and you realise there’s less than 3 months until Halloween but unfortunately it’s way too early to start getting spooky (I mean, summer has barely started). So that means no Halloween candy, or putting up decorations, or snuggling up under a blanket to watch a ghost film… So what’s the next best thing? Reverting to a book series that made me the spooky pumpkin witch I am today. Goosebumps!

But did you know, Goosebumps also have a game out? Goosebumps: The Game was originally created for Nintendo 3DS back in 2015 to tie in to the Goosebumps film. Later, the game was ported over to the Nintendo Switch in time for the Goosebumps 2 movie.

And listen, I don’t know about you, but I really liked those films. In a kind of “oh god this is terrible but also so nostalgic kind of way”. Co-incidentally, that’s exactly the attitude you need to play Goosebumps: The Game. I’ll explain why:

Goosebumps: Taking you back to the 90s

For fans of the original book series, Goosebumps: The Game scratches the itch… But it’s definitely not a game to be taken too seriously. Instead it’s light-hearted, humorous, and reminds you what it’s like to be a kid whilst cramming in as many monsters from the books as possible.

Me: “Mum the house is literally infested with ghosts and there’s a werewolf looking at me and I think the walls might be closing in”
Mum: “You’ll be fine honey, oh dinner is in the fridge.”

In Goosebumps: The Game you play an early teen / late childhood character who, after finishing up school for the day, returns home to find their home has been turned into a spooky haunted house. None of your family are anywhere to be found, and your mobile phone (your source of clues in the game) is fast running out of battery. The terror soon spreads to other parts of the town with malicious monsters popping up in all locations ready to do unspeakable things to you and the other townsfolk. The game comes to a head with Goosebumps’ most iconic character of all – Slappy the Dummy, from Night of the Living Dummy.

Seriously, why does that particular book still make me shiver, 18 years later?

Your world is turned upside down, but your cries for help are mostly unanswered so it’s up to you to save the day.

A Classic Halloween Point and Click Adventure

This game is a classic point and click adventure game. We’ve chosen to feature it on The Escape Roomer largely due to the amount of problem solving you need to do – and if you’ve ever played a game in this genre you’ll know what we’re talking about.

You start out at your high school and as you move about the world, clicking through to each new location, your map grows bigger. Of course, you can trace and retrace your steps as many times as you like. In fact, you’ll probably have to if you missed any hidden items. I found that even the most obscure items I picked up and placed into my backpack has a surprising use at some point in the game. That plastic dinosaur? Yep, you’d better hold onto it!

Whilst it probably isn’t, Goosebumps: The Game feels pretty big! There’s a lot to explore. I spent at least the first 4 hours of the game wandering around just doing my own thing, dying repeatedly. This was a mistake as my core lifeline was my mobile phone which depletes in battery little by little. A few hours in, I’d lost my access to clues. Oops!

At some point however your goal becomes clear – it’s to find out whatever the heck is going on and put a stop to it. Easier said than done, but at least by the time you figure this out, your backpack will be holding a room’s worth of unusual items to help you.

Who are you calling ‘Dummy’, Dummy?

Clue-less, I did find myself using a fair bit of online walkthroughs and realised I’d missed a lot at the start, but the beauty of this game meant that most puzzles have multiple ways to solve them, meaning you’re rarely completely stuck.

Those unwilling to check your mobile phone for clues, or Google an online walkthrough should prepare themselves for a lot of trial and error. Unlike a lot of other games in the genre however, this trial and error was a lot of fun. You don’t really know how to use an item until you do it. I found myself dying A LOT until something stuck. It’s a kind of “wow I had no idea I could use that plastic dinosaur in that way” moment. But never once did I feel bored because at the end of the day, you can always leave and come back later with a fresh perspective.

The Verdict

I think it’s no surprise to say that I loved this game and I’m fairly sure if I were going to make a game, I’d want to make it like this. It’s got everything you could ever possibly want: Mystery, Puzzles, Halloween-Vibes… Assuming you’re like me, and those three things are all you want.

It was also refreshing to see the game ported onto the Nintendo Switch. The developers have done a good job, as the joycons rumble tensely along with the game, and keypad shortcuts bypassed the mouse-click mechanic likely popular with earlier, PC players.

I think returning to Goosebumps at the age of 25, you need to not take these things too seriously and go in with a sense of childhood innocence. It’s a lovely, if slightly predictable game, but one that took me right back to where I wanted to be.

Goosebumps: The Game can be purchased for around £10 on Nintendo Consoles and PC.

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.

Palindrome Syndrome | Review


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?

Developer: mc2games
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch
Touchscreen Compatible: No

Aibohphobia is a fear of palindromes.

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?”

“The Silence.”

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:

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.

The lunchbox operated a traffic light system for some reason….

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:

  1. A light-based puzzle that was used multiple times, with some clever variants.
  2. 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. 
Obviously the first place to head, is the free space bar.

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. 

Fireproof Games: The Room


A mysterious invitation leads to the attic of an abandoned house. In the room is a cast-iron safe laced with strange carvings and on top, a note from your distant companion. It promises something ancient and astonishing concealed in the iron chamber – you need only find a way in.

Time Played: 3.4 hours
Console: PC, Switch, Mobile.
Recommended For: Escape Room Fans

Ask any escape room player with a passing interest in videogames for the quintessential ‘escape room but it’s a videogame’ experience and the chances are you’ll hear the name “The Room” by Fireproof Games tossed around! (No, not YOU Tommy Wiseau!) In fact, I only picked it up (8 years late, yes it came out in 2012!) after seeing it recommended so often on various escape room forums.



Having now clocked the game at 3.4 hours (given some breaks, some conferring, and only a little bit of button mashing), I can happily say it’s about as close to an escape room experience as is possible in a video game and worth all the praise it’s given! That said, the style of escape room is a ‘box on the table’ one. Essentially, whilst you are in a room, you’re actually interacting with a box in front of you. Sure, you can spin it around, move things, push buttons, slide panels and generally interact with everything you possibly like. But if you were hoping of more room to explore, perhaps a traditional escape room might be more appropriate.

With gameplay as absolutely mysterious and atmospheric as the title suggests, The Room will leave you with more questions than answers (in a good way – I’m already itching to get my hands on the sequel!). It’s a steampunk fantasy with just a dash of hieroglyphics and astrology ‘vibes’ woven throughout.



There’s very little in the way of introduction, no. The story instead is told through fragmented slips of paper of an inventor slipping into madness (or towards enlightenment? You decide!). Occasionally, reality bends. That is to say throughout the game you’re given an eyepiece which you can look through to see things which are not visible with the naked eye. The further into the murky depths of this universe you go, the more peculiar the things you’ll see through the eyepiece get. It begs the question – what is real? What isn’t real? Argh! I’m trapped!

The puzzles too are delightfully magical and border on the “impossible to recreate in real life”. But they’re also really clever – there’s almost no repetition and plenty I’d never, ever seen before in any real life experience. Regular readers on this blog will know I give high praise when I come across puzzles I’ve not seen before. The Room is PACKED with them.

There’s a lot of looking and searching (with or without that magic eyepiece). Often you’re hunting for keys, but more often than not the puzzles force you to think drastically outside of the box. If you thought a key was simple – try forging your own key to fit locks with hundreds of combinations, or carefully positioning beams of light to create special effects. There’s even a Rubix cube style puzzle to be solved with a charming solution! I love it!



So here’s where we get into the “okay but why did you put it on your escape room blog, Mairi?” Well… In terms of it’s comparison to an escape room, I’ve named it “as close as one can get”. But! And it’s a big but(t): the videogame format offers so much more than a simple escape room. It’s the same praise I load onto VR escape room experiences. The world of escape rooms are constrained by health and safety and special effects in a way the video game world is not. Puzzles are activated and solved by adjusting shapes in the sky that are not really there. Enormous contraptions unfold in front of you and vast mechanical systems fall into place. I don’t know about you but most escape rooms are built on a budget. I’m happy with a simple lock and key in a real room, but here, in the video game world – the possibilities are endless!

The graphics too are extremely immersive. Although I’m playing this game lazily from my laptop over the Christmas break, once I’m in the game, I’m in. They are remastered from the original, yes. I should also specify my PC runs the game much more beautifully than the mobile counterpart. But however you choose to play The Room – you’ll be impressed! It’s nothing short of beautiful.

Overall, such a highly recommended videogame for a fantastic escape room experience (whilst the real life games are still shut down here in the UK). It’s moody, mysterious, and immersive for a good 4 hours worth of “wow”.

The Room can be downloaded for £3.99 on Steam, £6.99 on Nintendo Switch, or £0.99 on most mobile devices!