Please, Don’t Touch Anything VR | Review

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Please, Don’t Touch Anything VR Review | Covering for a colleague taking a bathroom break, you find yourself in front of a mysterious console with a green screen monitor showing a pixelated live image of an unknown city. Also present is an ominous red button with the simple instruction to not touch anything! Push the red button once or press it many times. Your choices and actions will lead to outrageous consequences and over 30 unique puzzle endings.

Developer: Four Squares, BulkyPix
Date Played: June 2022
Console: Oculus
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: ~2 hours

Every time I saw a warning on this game that read “Not for the faint hearted” I thought “Hah! How bad can this be?! It’s just a game where you’re sitting in front of a console pressing buttons.” Then I found myself worshipping Satan, being scared out my mind by demon standing behind me, and watching the human race get wiped out… Repeatedly.

That said, I still wouldn’t describe it as a horror game. I’d describe it as a fixed perspective escape room game. Which is a fancy say of saying “button pushing simulator”. It’s just you and the console, and a lot of different outcomes. Where most escape rooms just have one (you escape), this has multiple. But the idea is the same, you’re solving puzzles and performing actions in a small 2x2m room to achieve them all. And let me just say… It was some of the most fun I’ve had in VR in a long time!

 

 

About Please, Don’t Touch Anything

The original “Please Don’t Touch Anything” was a short pixel art game released by a Russian indie studio Four Squares for PC way back in 2015. It received a large amount of praise and the studio, in collaboration with Escalation Studios then went on to release a 3D version of the experience just a year later with virtual reality support. Later the game was launched on Nintendo Switch, and has continued to be met with praise for many years since.

Skip forward to 2022, and I’m idly scrolling through the Oculus store with a 30% off voucher in hand looking for a new title to try out. I wanted something short, fun, puzzley, a little bit creepy. After punching those filters into the search engine, there was one title that kept coming back to me: Please, Don’t Touch Anything. Well, of course I wanted to immediately touch it.

 

 

“I’ll be right back, don’t touch anything!”

The game begins with you in a small room with a large console in front of you. Your colleague appears at the door and says he’s popping out for a quick bathroom break and for the love of god, he implores you not to touch anything on the console. With a wave, he’s gone. It’s just you and the room. Oh, and a giant red button.

Amusingly, on my first playthrough I didn’t touch anything. My colleague appeared back from the bathroom and thanked me for being so diligent, and the game ended. I was immediately respawned into the room and it begun again. This time, I hit the big red button and triggered a nuclear apocalypse…

So far so good.

If you can tell from that brief description, Please, Don’t Touch Anything is a game of many many endings. Thirty endings to be exact. It’s best played with no expectations – you walk in, you press buttons, or you don’t, and you get a curious ending. The game restarts and you’re immediately hooked on a need to uncover every single one. What happens if you push this button? How do you get the hammer? Is that a UV blacklight? With each playthrough a new facet of the world reveals itself. How will you destroy civilisation this time? Or will you simply press a switch 50 times and nothing will happen. Perhaps you’ll make it your mission to clean up this (very messy) room. All valid game choices all with unique endings.

It’s also a game packed with many pop culture references. From TV, from films, and from other video games. Delightful nods to puzzlers past and some very creepy moments I’d only seen on the silver screen suddenly brought to live in VR. I love it!

 

 

Button Pushing Simulator Now in VR!

If you’re familiar with the original 2D version, there are enough changes in the VR/3D version to make the game feel innovative and fresh. Endings are different and things have been added. For the whole part, it’s a game that works well in both 2D and 3D but as a big fan of virtual reality I think it works really, really well in this medium. For starters, you’re pushing buttons and toggling switches and this feels extra immersive in virtual reality. Want to pick something up? You can simply bend down in real life and pick it up and manipulate it in real life.

In terms of controls, it’s not perfect, but that’s to be expected for an early VR experience. My hands in the game didn’t always move to where I wanted them to be and I found it was often quite tricky to stretch over objects and reach things. For the best gameplay, you need a large space to play in at home so that you can move around freely. You can play this standing up or sitting down. It might be slightly more immersive (and easy on your legs) to sit down, but I played it largely standing up. If you don’t have a large space, you can stay rooted to one spot and use the in-game mechanic to teleport around fairly easily too. No motion sickness here!

 

 

Where are the Puzzles?

Like any good puzzle game the primary ‘puzzle’ is figuring out what to do. Then figuring out how to do it to get the output you want. For sure, there are plenty of ‘classic’ puzzle mechanics the escape room enthusiast will recognise, like Morse Code or binary inputs, but it’s largely a game of sequence memorizing and inputting a variety of data pieces into your console creatively. You might find a 4 digit code on one playthrough that you suddenly remember 10 playthroughs later and input it. You might spot a symbol which ends up being a map to guide you around a grid of buttons. There are a few ciphers, and some very fun uses of black-light, and so on and so on.

In short, I think it’s a fantastic game for the escape room enthusiast to play. It’ll push everything you know about solving escape rooms to the limit, and then some. A unique game that doesn’t quit fit into any category box, but definitely one I think you, dear reader, will enjoy. Puzzles a-plenty.

 

 

The Verdict

I really, really enjoyed playing Please, Don’t Touch Anything. It’s tongue in cheek humour was the perfect setting for a quirky little puzzle game like this. When writing about any VR game I like to consider whether such an experience would be possible in any other medium other than VR. There’s nothing in it that wouldn’t necessarily be possible in another medium – the example being that it’s also available as a non-VR title, but it’s so much better in VR.

I’d not hesitate to recommend this to any other escape room enthusiast and I think it’s got a rightful place in the Oculus catalogue as a game puzzle fans should definitely check out.

Please, Don’t Touch Anything can be purchased for Oculus Quest 2 on the Oculus store page here.

A Fisherman’s Tale | Review

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A Fisherman’s Tale Review | Playing as a tiny fisherman puppet, you live alone in your tiny cabin, oblivious to the world outside. When your radio broadcasts a storm alert, you have to climb the lighthouse to turn on the light! As you leave your cabin with the help of some uncanny sidekicks, you realize what’s waiting outside is not at all what you expected…

Developer: Innerspace VR
Date Played: December 2021
Console: Oculus
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 2 hours

In my day job, talking about VR comes up a lot. Big words like “the metaverse” are thrown around, but really what people want to know is what is VR and what kind of thing can you do with it. When these conversations come up, there’s one game I return to over and over again.

“If you want to see what VR can do, play the puzzle game A Fisherman’s Tale”

It’s a phrase I say a lot when talking about video games versus real life brick and mortar escape rooms, but Fisherman’s Tale is a fantastic example of something that simply would not be possible in any other medium. You shrink down and look up at a giant version of yourself in an infinite tessellation of wooden fishermen solving puzzles in synchronised movements. And let me tell you: It… Is… Wild!

Tiny Fisherman Lighthouse Inception

A Fisherman’s Tale is a classic escape room game. You’re quite literally, in a room. Your goal is quite simply to escape. Beyond this, the rest is purely details. But oh what delicious details they are!

The game begins with a lighthouse keeper who wakes up every day and does the same thing. He brushes his teeth, washes his face, and then he sits down at his desk and carves a tiny wooden version of himself and puts it in a tiny wooden version of the lighthouse. That tiny wooden lighthouse keeper wakes up, brushes his teeth, washes his face, and then he sits down at his desk and carves a tiny wooden version of himself.

It’s like Inception, but better.

The whole game’s mechanics from that moment onward centre around the central premise that whatever action you’re doing in your lighthouse, there is a tiny model in the middle of the lighthouse with a model fisherman doing the exact same thing. And, if you look outside your window, there is a giant model version of yourself performing the same actions.

The puzzles are therefore solved with some clever thinking outside of the box. If an object is too small, hand it to your tiny doppelganger, and your giant self will hand it to you. Need water? Flood your model and your own room will become flooded, and so on.

Reality is bended, and to be honest, so is my mind as I play.

Small Actions, Big Consequences

But what’s the hurry little fisherman? Well, there’s a ship stuck in the storm outside and if you don’t get your lighthouse lit in time it could crash into the waves. But what can you do as a tiny wooden lighthouse keeper? Well, you’ll find out just how powerful your small actions can be!

The puzzles in A Fisherman’s Tale were just delightful and the whole experience was made all the better for existing in virtual reality. You have the ability to walk around your space, open cupboards, unlock boxes, and hand things back and forth to the infinite versions of yourself. For the 4 hours you play, you forget it’s a game (until your hip bumps into the edge of a table in real life – OW!).

Like a lot of video games and unlike a lot of escape rooms, although the goal is to escape the puzzles are quite search-and-find. In VR this is a lot of fun and works well, but ultimately you’re rushing around and looking for the correct equipment to achieve your goal. Whether that be opening a can of tuna, building a boat, or reaching a high up shelf.

It Feels Like A Modern Fairy Tale

My favourite thing about A Fisherman’s Tale are the vibes. Or, in common English, the atmosphere and general feeling. There’s something about the game that is so indescribably magical and engrossing, like you’re the main character of your own whimsical fairy tale.

The whole game is a beautifully coloured cell-shaded experience. This is both to be comfortable in VR and to look ‘wooden’ – you are after all made of wood. Each level in the game is structured like a chapter – Chapter 1, the beginning and so on through to beginning, middle and end. Along the way you meet other characters and you even made friends with the gentle, French voice over narrator of the story.

The Verdict

Despite my gushing about the game, A Fisherman’s Tale has one major problem. A huge huge problem…

It’s not long enough.

At around 3, maybe 4 hours if you take your time, it’s over all too quickly. I could happily play this game for months and emerge with a scraggly beard down to my ankles having not encountered a real human being in a lifetime and still be beaming with happiness.

The company is rightfully named “Vertigo” and that’s a little of the feeling you get playing the game. Looking down upon a tiny version of yourself who is also looking down on an even tinier version of himself is a wild feeling. It’s like falling, but falling over and over into a world you very much want to be in.

Once the novelty of sticking your giant head through the roof of your own cabin wears off, what’s left is a beautiful and whimsical tale of a little fisherman in his lighthouse trying to save a bot stuck at sea. I cried, I laughed, and I regret it ending too soon.

A Fisherman’s Tale can be purchased on the Oculus shop here.

Retrospective Holiday Special: Portal | Review

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Portal Review | Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, the game is designed to change the way players approach, manipulate, and surmise the possibilities in a given environment. Players must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals to manoeuvring objects, and themselves, through space.

Developer: Valve
Console Played On: Steam
Number Of Players: 1

Disclaimer! This is a retrospective review. This means it is reviewed based on the gaming expectations of the present day and the relevancy for escape room enthusiasts.

Do you enjoy silent protagonists? Check ✅

Are you enticed by mind-bending physics? Check ✅

Do you prefer your comedy to skirt the line between hilariousness and existential dread? Check ✅

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

Well, You Found Me. Congratulations. Was It Worth It?

If you saw my introductory interview with Mairi, I mentioned Portal 2 as being one of my favourite puzzle games. After playing it, I spoke to friends about how much I enjoyed it. My “PC gaming” friends often responded something along the lines of…

“It’s good…but not as good as the original”.

After many, many of these encounters; I vowed to find a copy of The Orange Box (a Valve compilation of games including Portal), on the PS3 (I didn’t own a decent PC at the time); however it was sold out everywhere. When I eventually found a copy, it was at an extortionate price. That was in 2011.

10 years later I still find myself, never having played the original title. Well dear TER friends, that ends today – it can be bought on steam; on it’s own.

So welcome, to my retrospective holiday special.

A Complimentary Escape Hatch Will Open In 3… 2… 1…

You play as Chell, a silent protagonist who is a test subject for Aperture Laboratories. You wake up from your isolation pod and are instructed by GLaDOS, a dry, shade-throwing AI system, to undergo various physics based puzzles using the portal gun, an experimental tool used to create two portals through which objects can pass. As a concept, the theming is simple but still to this day, highly effective. Furthermore, it can’t be ignored that it has inspired the theming and narrative of many other games; puzzle and non-puzzle alike. We owe a lot to this.

The visuals are simple but polished, and successfully project the image of a cleansed, futuristic dystopian world. There are no other human characters to interact with, just a series of mechanisms and a sassy AI with a frenemy attitude. There were many times where I found myself chuckling away at GLaDOS’s insults via deadpan delivery as I progressed further and further.

Let’s Be Honest. Neither One Of Us Knows What That Thing Does.

Is Portal an immersive experience? I’d be inclined to say yes. Its not hugely story-rich, there isn’t any narrative to initially invest you and the character dialogue is one-sided. But the theming and puzzle-depth allow the player on many occasions to forget themselves and subconciously dive into the minimalistic elements presented.

Do Not Submerge The Device In Liquid, Even Partially

You’ve really got to hand it to Portal for their puzzles and overall innovative contributions via Valve’s physics mechanics; through the use of the famous portal gun. It blew player’s minds back then, and even now it’s still very strong in both areas. The learning curve is brilliant and wholly organic, each puzzle set piece has thematic, visual signposting (see below) to help you progress and the puzzles themselves are still impressively innovative and satisfying to complete. During the back half of the game, there are puzzles that involve the player to be dexterous with their control input. This can be frustrating for some, but because there is no penalty for trying and trying again, once you do accomplish a tricky set piece, you are rewarded not only by the accomplishment, but the visual stimuli of gracefully flying through the air in the first-person.

Quit Now And Cake Will Be Served Immediately

I’ve noticed that if a game from the 2000s is remastered/re-released for present day, it’s highly likely that the controls require some from of standardisation. This can be the ultimate difference between a playable, nostalgic dream vs an unplayable mess and waste of money. Thankfully, Portal utilises a keyboard and mouse set up that is futureproof and still allows great playability in 2021. I am disappointed however, that considering how popular and iconic this game is; gamepad compatibility has not been patched in. Especially, when I can believe that many players including myself, was introduced to the series via the sequel on a console that would use a gamepad, subsequently love the experience, and then be forced to use a different control method when playing the original.

When The Testing Is Over, You Will Be Missed

Originally, Portal was only available as part of Valve’s The Orange Box; available on PC and 7th generation consoles such as Xbox 360. Now it can be bought on steam by itself for £7.19. For that, you will get around 2 to 5 hours of game time plus bonus maps outside of the main campaign. Valve are one of the biggest game development companies out there, therefore I’d argue that this is at just about the right price.

Rating

Initially, Valve considered Portal to be merely filler for The Orange Box; unexpectedly gaining wide spread popularity and acclaim when released in 2007. Fast forward to 2021 and its still a highly playable, engrossing puzzle challenge that is poignant and comedic. It’s a shame there isn’t gamepad compatibility, but there is more than enough here for escape room enthusiasts to get stuck into, during this holiday (or any) period.

Portal can be purchased on steam here.

Doors: Paradox | Review

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Doors: Paradox | Review | For as long as we can remember we’ve been walking on the thin edge between chaos and order. Until one day a mysterious portal was opened and chaos prevailed. Now it’s up to you to bring back order…but it is not that simple!

Developer: Snapbreak Games
Console Played On: Mobile
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number Of Players: 1

Doors: Paradox had no business being this good of a game! And of course, I mean that in the Gen-Z way of saying “damn, this game was brilliant”.

For a few months now I’ve not really had any mobiles games to get me excited. Usually I’ve got a couple on the go, and besides one game from about a decade ago which I have to use an emulator for, my ‘game’ folder on my phone has been severely lacking!

Then along came Doors: Paradox, with it’s intriguing trailer, bright poppy graphics, and mysterious undercurrent of a story. Oooh… Tell me more!

Chaos and Order

In Doors Paradox, vast space with a floating island in front of you. Each island is built around a door, but piled high with puzzles to solve before that door will open. You can rotate your camera around the island and tap into almost anything for a closer look, all while collecting objects and combining curious things to reach a puzzle’s solution.

It sounds simple, but the reason why introduces an arcing narrative of chaos and order told through the medium of small scrolls hidden in each level, and a mysterious black cat who beckons you into each doorway and transports you to a new world. It’s a tale as old as time: Chaos versus Order, and somehow your presence in this dimension, following the cat and solving puzzles, will save everyone. At the end of the game you’re presented with a choice and a powerful final puzzle to solve. I have no idea if I made the right choices, but I had a lot of fun doing them.

Doors: Paradox

Puzzlescapes and Floating Islands

I suspend my disbelief on the story, because Doors: Paradox’s strength isn’t really in the narrative, it’s in the puzzlescapes each level presents. Escape room enthusiasts will be familiar with some of the themes – there’s a pirate episode, a haunted house episode, a cyberpunk style episode – even some strong steampunk elements running all the way through. But the developers manage to inject a feeling of freshness to each world they create to create visually impressive graphics and a brilliant soundtrack to boot.

Each of these little worlds is a whole escape room in of itself. You can expect about 5 – 10 minutes of gameplay for each, with a few stand out levels which really got my brain cogs whirring to solve. There’s a huge mix of puzzles in this game and the feel of each new world is so unique that each time I picked up my phone (whilst waiting for the bus, or waiting for some pasta to cook) I felt a sense of familiarity and surprise at what the next level presented.

For sure, there were a few puzzles I recognised from other video games and escape room games, but that likely comes with the territory of their only being a finite number of types of puzzles out there. In particular there were a few I recognised from The Room series, and one or two from old platformers I grew up with. but then, there were also many I’d never seen before which were fantastic. Some stand outs include fixing a motorbike in a cyberpunk future world, casino slots, fighting a cat over a box of sushi and angling the sun’s rays to destroy a vampire.

The majority of the puzzles are solved by tapping your finger to find, combine and use objects, but occasionally a more complex puzzle presents itself where a series of rotating dials must be tweaked to the rigth angle, some reflex action as you fire objects through small spaces, or a classic connecting wires puzzle. In any case, the breadth of what types of puzzles you’ll encounter is vast, so expect to be kept on your toes!

As well as solving the puzzles, there are gemstones to collect and scrolls to discover if you wish to follow the narrative. These are offered as collectables, but play an important role as you’ll need the gemstones to unlock the final, Epilogue levels too.

An Immersive Atmosphere… In Your Pocket!

No review of Doors: Paradox would be complete without mentioning the sound. I almost never play mobile games with the volume up – mostly because I’m playing on the go, in public, or listening to something else in the background. But Doors: Paradox is one of those games worth taking the extra effort to listen as you play. From moody sound scapes to relaxing music and satisfying jingles when a correct answer is inputted… The developers have done a brilliant job in bringing their world’s to life with sound!

Combined with the graphics, this makes Doors: Paradox an unexpectedly relaxing game. Like watching an escape room themed “lofi beats” on repeat for hours on Youtube, Doors: Paradox manages to create a perfect zen atmosphere. The puzzles can be tricky, but there’s nothing taxing in this game. It’s more about your journey through the worlds.

Of course, if you get stuck you can skip a puzzle with no detriment to the game at all – another nod to the fact the developers want you to really take your time and enjoy yourself here.

The Verdict

The first 8 levels in Doors: Paradox are free, after which you can pay a small amount to upgrade to the full game. For me, it’s well worth upgrading. If you enjoy the first 8 levels, then the whole game offers more of the same (and then some).

I personally really enjoyed playing it, and if I had just one criticism it would be that there isn’t more of it. I could have played 100 more levels and wouldn’t have been bored for a single moment. If you’re looking for a visually gorgeous, ‘pick up and play’ any time style mobile game that scratches that escape room itch, look no further.

If you want to play Doors: Paradox for yourself, download it for free on the Google Play Store or Apple Store here.

Inspector Waffles | Review

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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.

WE ARE THE LIONS!

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.

Ratings

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.

Between Time: Escape Room | Review

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Between Time: Escape Room Review | You are going to steal a time machine. In this escape room, you have to travel through time, explore mysterious places and solve puzzles to get priceless treasures. Will you be able to make it back alive?

Developer: mc2games
Console Played On: Steam
Number of Players: 1

Do you aspire to time travel? Check ✅

Do you like playing as an anti-hero or bad-guy? Check ✅

Are you in awe of the zones of The Crystal Maze? Check ✅

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

We’ve Been Here Before…

Some of you may remember that my first ever review for The Escape Roomer, was mc2games’s sci-fi escape room Palindrome Syndrome. I had a good time with it; it was short, but it was fun and I enjoyed the risks they took from a narrative perspective. There also were some aspects I wanted to see improved for their future games roster, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Between Time has in store.

Between Time has you control a character known only as Robert, who aside from having deep bassy, George Clooney-type vocal tones, is looking to steal a time machine to go back in time and nab priceless treasures to become rich. The Time Machine itself is a talking AI called AITMA (Artificial Intelligence Time Machine Assistant) who guides you between each time zone.

BRB Changing My Name To Richard O’Brien…

From a narrative perspective, there isn’t much to go from at the beginning. You start in a futuristic laboratory immediately tasked with unlocking access to the time machine after Robert chortles to himself, bragging about the lack of security to gain entry. Bragging over, the eerie synth music comes within earshot and signifies it’s time to start playing the game.

The core game loop is essentially; you’re in a time period, solve the puzzles, grab the treasure and move to the next zone. This sounds like The Crystal Maze doesn’t it? Well, Crystal Maze fans, you’ll be pleased to know that 3 of the 4 original zones from the show are represented here; Futuristic, Aztec and Medieval. The only outlier being a Wild West zone in place of the Industrial (or Ocean) zones we were accustomed to.

Visually the game is polished with some lovely idiomatic touches, just like The Crystal Maze has. The Aztec zone in particular, looked very good with its fire torches and hieroglyphic-influenced puzzles.

Am I Doing This Right?

Speaking of the puzzles, there is a sizable amount of them during the game to keep players engaged. That being said, I feel the puzzles in Between Time are its weakest component. I came across the following issues; puzzles that could be solved in more than one way having only one solution to advance, puzzles that require more signposting to solve legitimately or puzzles that are not clearly instructed.

There was even one puzzle I couldn’t work out during the Medieval zone so I moved on to another puzzle. Before I knew it, I was leaving the zone with the treasure; with that puzzle still unsolved! In terms of the ratio of puzzles that work, to puzzles that need improvement, its not a large amount; however it does degrade the playing experience quite significantly. As a result of this, the fun factor is unfortunately reduced too. It’s something I would like to see the developers look at improving should there be any version updates planned in future.

Another puzzle-based consideration is that a larger proportion of puzzles (especially during the final third of the game) are maths-based; just like in Palindrome Syndrome. I’ll be repeating myself once again in saying that I don’t mind this personally, but I’m aware many escape room fans are adverse to an abundance of math conundrums.

There is a hints system however! Each puzzle has one visual hint that can be looked at, for further solving assistance. This is a feature that didn’t exist in Palindrome Syndrome and is a welcome addition. Of course, there are plenty of walkthroughs and the official guides to all mc2 games are here.

Take Control Of Your Journey

I’m aware that I played Palindrome Syndrome on the switch and Between Time on steam, so there is no direct comparison of controls. However my experience with steam controls for Between Time was a massive improvement. The controls do what they need to do and provide good customisation for both keyboard/mouse and gamepad setups.

It was initially confusing in two ways however, when trying to set up my gamepad; the gamepad controls are labelled joystick – not a huge issue but from a user experience perspective its not the most intuitive description. The other being that one more than one occasion, I had to unplug my gamepad at the start of a loaded save, because the game wanted to default to a keyboard/mouse setup and didn’t recognise my preferred method of controller. That being said, these were minor issues at worst and I stress again, was a huge improvement upon my previous experiences.

An Ending Kubrick May Well Be Proud Of

The main aspect I was hoping to be improved upon, was the immersive elements through the presented narrative. Don’t get me wrong, the time travel aspect with its different zones created some positive aspects of immersion. However if you look at my comments on the ending of Palindrome Syndrome, I applauded them for taking the risk of making an unconventional escape room ending, albeit it was lacking overall depth and as a result, had a lot more potential to give.

So…

Does Between Time have an unconventional escape room ending? Yes.
Do I applaud the risks taken to do that? Yes.

Was the depth of the narrative’s end improved and invited into the whole story on a deeper and more meaningful level? …Afraid not.

Unfortunately, I had the same feelings from the ending of Between Time as I do from Palindrome Syndrome; great ideas, not executed thoroughly enough and thus, leaving the immersive experience once again looking for more.

Trading Treasures In Time

Between Time as a price-tag of around £8.50 for all consoles. For this you get around 2-6 hours worth of gameplay. This is between two and three times lengthier than Palindrome Syndrome, therefore the value is arguably higher than previously. It is to also be noted that mc2games is a two-person development team (plus one musician) and producing a game of this length for that price warrants at least, some form of commendation.

It’s a bigger game, with more to do than previous entries. However aside from the newly-featured hints system, the core components that needed improving I feel, haven’t been worked upon enough. It’s still a good experience however and this should not put you off from considering this as a cost-effective escape game purchase, especially if you enjoyed the mc2games formula from previous instalments.

To play Between Time on your platform of choice, head to MC2Games’s website here.

Ratings

A Rogue Escape (VR) | Review

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A Rogue Escape Review | Your plan was simple: steal a giant, crawling mech, also known as a Nauticrawl, evade capture, and make a break for freedom. Find clues to unravel your whereabouts, but know – this is only the first of your many problems…

Developer: Spare Parts Oasis
Console Played On: Oculus Quest
Time Taken: 6 Hours +
Difficulty: Hard
Number Of Players: 1

Escape the Planet… Or Die (and Die, and Die) Trying

When trying to describe A Rogue Escape to friends and family, I settled on the following anecdote:

“You know when you start a new job and they load up some shiny new software on your computer and you’re like “Sure I know how to use this, how hard can it be?” and it turns out very hard indeed. You spend your first few weeks at the new job sweating at your desk pushing buttons on the software and hoping for the best.”

…Yeah, that’s kinda how A Rogue Escape went, and that’s exactly what the developer’s intended! You find yourself lost on a completely alien planet, and so in order to escape you take control of the Nauticrawl, a machine designed for traversing the foreign landscape. Except, you have no idea how it works. It’s built for an alien creature that looks nothing like you, and there’s an overwhelming amount of buttons and levels to push, dials to balance, and screens to keep an eye on. The game is trial and error. You will die, and you will die a lot. But heck, what do you expect? This is alien technology we’re dealing with and nobody is an expert at anything the first time they pick it up.

In some ways, it’s less of an escape room and more of an alien submarine simulator. On the other hand it’s the truest and most raw form of an escape room I’ve ever encountered. The developers have created a punishing and brilliant experience that would not be possible in real life. Like nothing else you’ll ever play.

The Evolution of A Rogue Escape

A Rogue Escape didn’t always start as a VR game however, the idea has gone through a lot of iterations in the past few years.

In September 2019, Spare Parts Oasis launched a PC game called Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres on Steam which was met with wide praise. Essentially, the concept was the same – pilot an alien Nauticrawl machine and escape from the inhospitable planet.

Last month in September 2021, Nauticrawl made it’s debut on iOS with another iteration of the puzzle game.

However, neither the PC nor iOS versions of the game are a direct port of one another. For sure, the idea and some of the puzzles are the same, but the games are different enough to give a whole new experience each time. The VR version in particular has been rebuilt from the ground up with a series of virtual, 3D environments to explore.

Mercilessly Difficult, Immensely Rewarding

So what exactly is A Rogue Escape? It’s an hour long escape room experience designed to challenge even the most veteran escapists! I say ‘an hour long’, then in truth I took around six hours to ‘complete the experience’, but this is mis-leading as each time you die you return to the beginning and must start again. From start, to finish, with skill and practise you’ll take no more than an hour… It’s the weeks (and months) of frustration learning the ropes and getting to that point that is at the core of A Rogue Escape.

Escape room players who are looking for pure puzzles may be slightly disappointed with A Rogue Escape. Put simply: the puzzle is figuring out what to do. If you enjoy this, you’ll be in your element, but if you prefer a little more signposting then the game may feel very frustrating.

One of the core gameplay loops is actually one of my favourite game mechanics ever, and I call it “plate spinning”. Some other games loosely in this genre include Don’t Feed the Monkeys, Papers, Please and Will Die Alone. Here, this takes the form of the sheer number of dials and meters you’ll need to keep an eye on. The visual clue of a dial slipping into red is followed by blaring alarms and, quite often, death. So as well as figuring out how to pilot the machine, players are also expected to keep a close eye on everything. One wrong move and it’s game over!

For sure, there are pros and cons with a game like this. On the one hand it’s realistic and tough like escape rooms typically aren’t. Your average escape room often contains irrelevant puzzles like “solve this cipher to give you a digit code to unlock a cupboard”. When was the last time you locked a cupboard shut with a 4 digit code, eh? A Rogue Escape’s puzzle experience is closer to what I’d actually expect a real alien submarine to be like. You never once need to break immersion, you’re just pushing and poking things and ‘solving’ the game without ever coming across anything like a traditional puzzle.

The downside is, it’s hard and I did struggle! I imagine a lot of people would not complete the game- and I only just managed it by spacing out my gameplay over weeks and months. This means it pitches at a more patient, forgiving, and enthusiast player – but that may not be a bad thing!

The Nauticrawl: A Virtual, Alien Space

A Rogue Escape uses Oculus’s roomscale settings to create a rather large, 3D space to play in. Quite literally, your living room is converted into an escape room, so you’ll need to be standing up and able to move freely around! Those levers and buttons aren’t going to push themselves.

Despite the large play area you’ll need, the experience is very claustrophobic. From the moment you don your headset you’ll be utterly immersed in the alien world, without a single porthole to look through. It’s anxiety-fuelling, sweaty, and oppressive. Everything beyond your Nauticrawl was left up to the imagination and I love that!

All you know is that you’re running for your life from aliens… But what do they look like? What did they do to you and your people? What even is this world?

The Verdict

I’m scoring it low on puzzles, but very high on immersion. In fact, so high we’ve decided to award A Rogue Escape our “I Believe” award for being outstandingly immersive. Every time I donned the headset on I was transported to this creepy, eerie and very tense world. I’d emerge 30 minutes later sweating, and occasionally shaking, doubting what was real and not. It’s so true to what a ‘real’ escape room should be, it almost goes beyond the genre entirely and for that we’re impressed!

Personally, I think the game might have been a little easier. Yes, yes, it turns out I am one of those people who prefers more signposting in my escape room experiences. But if you take a step back and take the game for what it actually is and not by the standards of what we’re used to, it’s clear it’s something special!

The Eyes Of Ara | Review

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The Eyes of Ara Review | The Eyes of Ara invites you to escape to another place. Become enthralled in a stunning Adventure-Puzzle game set in a gorgeous 3D environment. Explore a vast and ancient castle riddled with secret vaults and hidden rooms. Solve elaborate puzzles, locate lost treasures, and unravel an ancient mystery. 

Developer: 100 Stones Interactive 
Console Played On: Steam 
Number Of Players: 1 

Do you like abandoned castles? Check ✅

Do you yearn to relive the mid 90s? Check ✅

Does a plethora of puzzles and secret passages get you giddy? Check ✅ 

Well if so, this point-and-click game might just be for you. 

One Man Did It Alone… 

The Eyes of Ara is a point-and-click game that harks back to the mid 1990s, influenced by games such as Myst, Broken Sword and Medievil. It involves, you; a radio technician assigned to shut down the dominant broadcast coming from the castle you arrive at via boat in the opening of the game. Of course, as expected, it is not going to be as simple as shutting off a switch and picking up your paycheck! 

The first thing that needs to be mentioned, is that the developer, 100 Stones Interactive; is just one person – an Australian games industry veteran called Ben Droste. The fact that this entire game was developed by one person absolutely blows my mind.

Take Me Back… 

The theming of the game is very much on point (sorry, poor pun) and is idiomatic to the times of the mid 1990s; right down to the bulky computers and tacky futuristic elements like simple LCD graphics screens. The music places itself more towards the historical thematics of the castle, and from time to time, the score would transcend me back to the 1998 PS1 game Medievil; both having similar musical textures and arrangements. I also found myself being drawn to the SFX – clicking on walls, doors and other materials rewarded you with some satisfying foley. 

Visually, the games aesthetics are not anything ground-breaking, but everything serves their purpose well; be it a secret passage or a mechanism that signifies a puzzle solved. I don’t know if I was all that immersed however. There is a narrative which progresses as you pick up books and diaries throughout the game, but its entirely static; ie: words on a page; which don’t bring anything story-based, convincingly to life. I found myself often not willing to read anything thoroughly that wasn’t pertinent to solving any of the puzzles.   

I had the same desktop background on my Windows 95!

A Puzzling Affair! 

The puzzles. There are lots of puzzles. It’s a really meaty experience for anyone wanting their solving itch scratched. There are a wide range of puzzles and again, the style of them hark back to games like Myst and even the earlier games of the Resident Evil series. Not the shooty-zombie bits of those games, but the stop-and-think, work-this-connundrum-out parts.  

Despite the solid range of puzzles presented however, there is a lot of searching involved. If you like searching for items in escape rooms and other puzzle-based games; this might be heaven for you. For others however (and especially if you have a non-performant PC running the game, where the graphics can cause certain items to blend in with the background), search fatigue can set in quickly. 

A Bonus Or A Burden? 

Another thing to mention, are the “bonus” items that can be collected throughout the game. There are a lot of these items, however they serve no greater purpose in progressing. Many of them involve solving puzzle sets that are much, much harder than the main puzzle pathway. I could very easily imagine escape room fans getting quite frustrated at solving one of these challenging puzzles, only to be rewarded with an item that is optional to acquire. I know red herrings are a touchy subject with the escape room industry and I’d be inclined to say similar strong feelings with these bonus items, could very much be a thing. 

There is a small hints mechanic in the game. If you are wondering around aimlessly for too long, the game might point to an (already acquired) item you could use in the room that you are in. Aside from that you’ll have to hit the internet for text or video walkthroughs. No major issue here however, there are plenty of spoiler-free walkthroughs available, should you need them. 

A galaxy’s worth of puzzles await…

Just Point… And Click… 

Control-wise on steam, all you need is a mouse with a roller. It’s simple, but effective and works perfectly well. My only consideration for improvement is that there is no compatibility for gamepads, for differentiation purposes. Aside from that, it’s a minor consideration. The mouse controls do exactly what they need to do. 

How Much Guv’nor? 

The price point, is around the £12 mark for all consoles. I estimate that The Eyes Of Ara will keep players busy for 7-12 hours based on a single playthrough without guides. I’m not sure if there is much replay value aside from walking around the castle’s pleasing environment. That being said, a £12 game of this calibre made by a single person, is highly reasonable. 

This poster has serious Mairi vibes….

For The Apprentice Or Master Technician? 

If you love to search to your hearts content, this game may be easier for you; otherwise, it will probably serve as a difficult challenge for the majority of the game’s lifespan. I’d say that the initial puzzles start off quite easy to get you hooked in, then the difficulty ramps up quite swiftly; especially with the acquisition of the bonus items. 

Rating

Considering this is the efforts of a single person, there are many elements of this game that are outstanding. However, from an escape roomer’s point of view, it falls a little short on a couple of issues. That aside, it’s a super game that has a ridiculous amount of puzzles to get stuck into, alongside it being a visual love letter to three decades past.

The Eyes of Ara can be downloaded on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and most mobile devices.

Superliminal | Review

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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.   

Rating 

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

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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. 

Rating 

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.