The Altas Mystery (VR) | Review

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The Atlas Mystery Review | Explore the haunted halls of the infamous Atlas Theater, a 1940’s era movie palace that played host to a shocking Hollywood tragedy. Solve intricate puzzles, discover startling artifacts, and evade sinister forces to uncover the twisted truth behind the theater’s dark history.

Developer: Top Right Corner
Date Played: April 2022
Console: Oculus Quest 2
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 3 hours

The Atlas Mystery… Just, wow!

This is one of those games that I’ve been aware of for a long time. As frequent readers might know, I’m a game developer in my day job so I spend time on (read as: doom-scroll) “game dev twitter” a lot. Given the overlap with “escape room twitter” it wasn’t long before I spotted The Atlas Mystery. Let’s just say it ticks a lot of boxes for me. Virtual reality, 1940s noire, an old abandoned movie theatre, a grisly murder… And ghosts?! Ugh, a thousand times yes please!

 

 

The Atlas Mystery is a classic escape room game in every sense of the word. Whereas other ‘escape room VR games’ do things in virtual reality that simply would not be possible in real life, The Atlas Mystery takes another approach: it pushes the players to do exactly things they would do in real life, but in a virtual setting. Funnily enough, this style of gameplay was oddly refreshing. I found myself pushed to gently twisting dials with a shaky hand, holding up film negatives to the light, unplugging and rewiring complex panels, and even using a handheld shovel to scoop freshly popped popcorn into a cup. Yes, really!

 

Alone in the Atlas Theatre…

I’ve played many real life escape rooms that don’t even come close to the spooky atmosphere that The Atlas Mystery creates. It’s a vast space, and no matter how much you squint there are certain dark corners that remain eerily shrouded in shadow. In particular, near the start of the game I found myself standing behind a counter faded with a completely dark, unknown space beyond the barrier. Having replayed the game a few times now, I’m sure there’s nothing out there in the dark – but there’s no other feeling quite like it standing there, convinced shadows of bad omens are just inches away if only you reach your fingertips out into the dark.

*shudders*

In particular, I loved being about to run around such a huge space uninhibited. Okay, okay, spooky shadows aside, this video game truly felt like you had an enormous space to play around with. A whole lobby area, plenty of side rooms, a lift taking you to other floors with winding corridors, and film rooms a-plenty. The best part? None of this space felt dead in any way whatsoever. Even the long stretches of corridor felt well placed to build up nerves to a state of heightened tension. Then, at the end, each new room was packed with exciting puzzles and objects to interact with.

 

 

Is that a gun?!

One of the absolute best reasons to play The Atlas Mystery however has a clue in it’s name.

Yes, that’s right… The ATLAS!

No, no, I’m kidding. The MYSTERY.

This game has a really well-thought out storyline in it that, whilst I glazed over at the start, I found myself retracing my steps to pick up every little scrap of paper I found to piece together the story in my head. It’s an eerie sort of murder mystery, and I won’t go into spoilers, but I will say it’s well worth the read. There’s been a terrible and grisly Hollywood tragedy, will you be able to figure it out?

 

 

Crack the Codes, Unlock the Doors

In terms of difficulty, I personally found The Atlas Mystery definitely to be on the hard side. I believe a well-seasoned escapist may solve this in around an hour, but I took well over 3 hours over a couple of days. I found the game so difficult in fact there were a few moments I thought I might put the headset down and call it quits. But no sooner than I’d wake up the next morning, I’d already find myself itching to return to those eerie, empty halls of the film theatre in search of a clue I may have missed.

Some of that ‘difficulty’ comes down to the controls however, which is an issue hard to overcome in virtual reality. On more than one occasion I’d have the correct tool but be unable to ‘place’ it carefully enough that the result would trigger. A good example of this are the keys, and there’s a fair few keys in this game. Encountering these hiccups, I’d assume I’d got the puzzle incorrect, and move on trying many more things before returning to try again. With many interactable objects in this game there’s a certain “sweet spot” to touching them that I found very easy to miss. Despite that, I congratulate the development team on their originality in this space. VR is not an easy medium to create a game in (take it from me, I’ve worked on plenty!) and their commitment to making each object feel real within your hand is fantastic.

Besides, once you get the hang of the little movement quirks in the game, it’s easy enough to pick up.

As a final note on control and movement, since you can move around either by teleportation or with the joystick, I’d probably also put this at the “medium” risk of motion sickness. Remember – teleportation is often a lot more comfortable for new VR users, so if you plan on spending a long time in The Atlas Mystery, it’s best use the teleportation function!

 

The Verdict

For a while, I wasn’t sure where The Atlas Mystery’s dice would fall for this review. It was a slow burning game that took a while to get me hooked on it, but once it did I kept coming back for more. The puzzles were challenging, but immensely satisfying once you finally figure them out and by the end of the game… Could it be… I actually wanted more?! A lot more! More floors, more environments, more story, and most of all more puzzles.

I would say it’s not a perfect game. But I think the developers still did an exemplary job creating a fun and lengthy escape room that felt full of- well, life is the wrong word, but full of unease. I enjoyed spending time in The Atlas Mystery and I definitely think it would appeal to the average escape room enthusiast. With a lack of really good VR escape room games out there, The Atlas Mystery will fit well into the existing catalogue and will be sure to be a cult favourite among enthusiasts.

 

 

The Atlas Mystery can be played on Oculus, and Steam VR. To chose your platform, head to their website here.

LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories | Review

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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.

Ratings

Escape Simulator | Review

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Escape Simulator Review | 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.

Developer: Pine Studio
Console Played On: Steam
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Difficulty: Medium
Number Of Players: 1

Escape Simulator is finally here! And yes, we’re thrilled. After all we’ve been patiently waiting for this game ever since they announced it in September.

*let me innnnn*

We spent a lot of time on The Escape Roomer between us various video game editors deciding if a video game is close enough to an escape room to review it. Is a point-and-click adventure sufficiently puzzle-y? What about unravelling a mystery? Deduction puzzles, are they puzzley enough?

But there’s no mistaking Escape Simulator. The clue is in the name. Escape Simulator is an escape room simulator game. The idea is simple: solve puzzles to escape from the rooms. So lets get into it:

About Escape Simulator

Escape Simulator has three themes of escape room:

  • The Labyrinth of Egypt
  • Adrift in Space
  • Edgewood Manor

Each of these settings has 5 rooms to solve which get steadily more difficult as you progress. There’s a time limit of 15 minutes per room – although these serve as more of a ‘time guidance’ as the only thing that happens if you fail to escape is you miss out on extra achievements.

They’re short fire games at 15 minutes each, and it’s very hard to stop ionce you’ve started! The next level is only 15 minutes… Which is how I found myself still up and playing the game in the dim computer light at 3am one night!

Players can move around the 3D spaces and pick up and examine objects closer in their inventory. There are a number of tokens to find throughout the rooms (again, just for extra achievements though), and many tactile puzzles to uncover and solve throughout the spaces.

Since each escape room has it’s own unique personality and flavour, it’s hard to say which are my favourite – but I probably vibed the best with the Edgewood Manor series. What can I say I love Victoriana! But the early Labyrinth of Egypt games were a lot of fun too, the perfect introduction to the experience.

On the flip side, I would mention that when I played the game there was no hint system. This means it’s very easy to get stuck… And I mean really stuck. But once you get through the first few games you begin to get a feel for it. For example, one tip I realised far too late (after about 11 rooms) is that items related to puzzles are indicated clearly in the inventory, and the rest you can toss away.

Co-Op Escape Room Video Game

One of the coolest things about Escape Simulator is that there’s a co-op mode which I loved! Only a few days before I heard of the game I was lamenting to a friend that most good escape room video games (with one notable exception) are single player.

Escape Simulator makes it really easy to play with a friend. You start a game and share a code and voila – the two of you can move around freely within the escape room together!

There are a few caveats however. Firstly, the rooms you can play in co-op are the same as the single player rooms. If you chose to play the game entirely in single player, you can’t then play co-op as you’ll have solved the rooms already. The same is true in reverse. None of the puzzles (which I encountered) were co-operative puzzles, which means that the co-op mode felt slightly like an add on.

Secondly, there is no in-built voice communication in Escape Simulator, meaning you should fire up a call with the person you’re playing with. The key to solving any good escape room is, afterall, communication.

But still, I’m glad they did include co-op, as it’s more fun to play with your friend than alone!

Create Your Own Escape Room

In truth we received our Escape Simulator code a little early for review purposes which was fantastic. We quickly leapt into the escape room immersivity and worked our way through the exciting scenarios to our heart’s content. But instead of posting this review right away on Day 1, we chose to wait a little longer. Why? The very best thing about Escape Simulator is the build-your-own-room feature, meaning the real gem is the long term longevity of the community creations!

Escape Simulator’s Build-A-Room

Kinda like how Skyrim is a great game and 300 hours later you’re like “huh pretty cool” and then you go and open up the Steam workshop and end up spending 1,000 more hours on the mods to the point you no longer remember what was in the original game and what is the glorious creation of a fan-dev.

Escape Simulator is a little like that.

For sure, it helps that my day job is a Game Designer – but I found the escape room workshop pretty intuitive and accessible. Having now created and played plenty of community creations, there’s an almost endless amount of possibilities when it comes to what you can create. You’re given all the objects from the previous four environments, but can combine them in some creative ways to make entirely new puzzles the game developers hadn’t even though of, which I like.

At the time of writing Escape Simulator has been out for about one week and there’s a fair amount in the workshop already. I expect that as the game matures, even more brilliant rooms will be available to play, giving the game some real longevity. I look forward to picking up my controller in a year or more’s time and losing a lot of time in the wonderful world of Escape Simulator…

Keep an eye out for a “Best Escape Simulator Workshop Games” post in the near future!

So what’s the verdict? I really enjoyed it! No surprises there. But honestly, it’s a well rounded escape room video game that’s been long missing in the video game world. I’ll be recommending this to anyone who wishes to dip their toes into the wonderful world of escape rooms – and doubly recommending it to anyone who wants to have a go at designing their own!

With it’s smooth gameplay, relaxing music and bright, poppy graphics, it’s just a lovely game. My only criticism is that I wish were was more of it out the box – more levels, more puzzles, and more world’s to explore! I also think this would be a fantastic VR game, but hey, a girl can dream!

Escape Simulator can be downloaded on Steam.

Ratings

Do Not Feed the Monkeys | Review

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Do Not Feed the Monkeys Review | A digital voyeur simulator where you watch strangers through surveillance cameras. Invade their privacy and witness their most intimate moments, but don’t interact with the subjects – anything could happen if you dare feed the monkeys!

Developer: Fictiorama Studios
Date Played: August 2021
Console: PC
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 4.1 hours

The first rule of Primate Observation Club is… Do not feed the monkeys! 🙊

You may be surprised to hear that my favourite genre of video game is not escape room video game. Sure, I love them. But there’s something I love even more: “Dystopian, Plate-Spinning, Time Management” games. For example, Arianna Ravioli’s Will Die Alone, or the classic Papers, Please. Do Not Feed the Monkeys fits beautifully into this category. You play a burned out employee tasked with the dystopian task of monitoring lots of CCTV feeds and making notes of what you see. Whilst juggling your new job you must also find a way to earn enough money to pay your rent, keep yourself fed and ensure you get enough sleep. If you don’t keep up with your tasks, you’ll be fired. Shit. Perhaps you should feed the monkeys…?

Welcome to the Primate Observation Club

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a brilliant game of human observation and one that begins with a mysterious invitation to join the Primate Observation Club.

At first, I definitely thought this game would actually be about monkeys… But how wrong I was! It’s instead about you, an un-named member of the mysterious club, watching a host of colourful characters including a man that might actually be Hitler, a janitor trapped in an elevator, a team of writers working for a horrible boss, and a kid that won’t stop crying.

Your goal is to watch them, and learn about them. Armed with a notebook, an in-game search engine, a night vision camera and recording software, it’s really that simple. But let’s not forget that you’re also a living, breathing person. You have to also keep yourself alive, well fed, get enough sleep, pay your rent, and so on. It’s up to you to decide how you spend your time in the game. Can you afford to live, or will you have to go get a day job? Equally, can you really afford to miss even a second away from your computer? What if something important happens?! Argh!

On my first play through of the game, I did not “feed the monkeys” once, and I passed the whole game with flying colours. On the second play through I fed alllll the monkeys and let chaos reign.

What Happens if you Feed the Monkeys?

You CAN risk it and feed the monkeys of course. Let’s get into that.

By “feeding the monkeys” what we really mean is interacting with the humans you’re meant to be watching. Throughout your research you will discover things about them such as their phone numbers, addresses, hopes and dreams. If you want to make contact, you absolutely can. Nobody is off limits. but, you’ll need to be careful as this may lock off certain endings!

For example, in one of my play-throughs I stayed up very late and paid particular attention to one screen and discovered the devil. In a moment of weakness, I got in touch with a priest and we decided to perform an exorcism. Just for a laugh, of course. However for the rest of my game this screen ended up completely blank, and I missed an entire character arc. Instead in it’s place one of the side jobs I was offered was professional exorcism. It paid well. You win some, you lose some.

Conversely, not feeding the monkeys can have disastrous effects. In some of my play throughs I discovered a man trapped in a lift with no hope in sight. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find out enough information as to where he was, and wasn’t able to save him. That screen too eventually went blank. *sobs*

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a dangerous balancing game of morals, with a line drawn in sand.

Each person is an enigma. You’re a puzzle not only to yourself but also to everyone else, and the great mystery of our time is how we penetrate this puzzle.

Theodore Zeldin

For this reason you might be wondering why we’re reviewing Do Not Feed the Monkeys on The Escape Roomer? The truth is, it’s a quirky, indie, mystery game because each and every one of the passing characters is a puzzle to be solved. The tools you’re given are different from a classic escape room game, but it’s no less rewarding when you finally crack the case.

A Life in Pixels

One of our favourite things about Do Not Feed the Monkeys has to be the particular, slightly depressing style of pixel art. This game came out in 2018, but the style throws back to classic 80s and 90s pixel adventure games. In a similar way to Thimbleweed Park, Do Not Feed the Monkeys evokes an era of paranoia, a kind of 1984 played through your computer screen.

For sure, there’s a certain irony to me sitting at home behind a computer screen, playing a character sitting at their computer screen, watching countless characters live their daily lives… Mostly behind computer screens too. The irony is not lost!

The Verdict

From the moment I loaded up Do Not Feed the Monkeys, I was absolutely sucked into the world. In fact, just a few hours before a real life flight I had to take, I was still logged in tapping away and watching those Monkeys, afraid to miss even a single second of voyeuristic fun!

(Thankfully, I didn’t miss my flight, but it was touch and go for a moment)

At the time of writing, I’ve played through Do Not Feed the Monkeys 3 times and I’ve yet to discover all the secrets of the game. I still don’t know how to save the man in the elevator, and I would really like to know more about war veteran from Freedonia. Each new play I discover more things and new, wildly unexpected alternate endings! I’ve read other reviews that describe things happening that I’ve never even been close to. How deep does this game go?

If you consider yourself the kind of person who can track down your friend’s crush on Facebook with just a first name and a vague description… Get this game.

But whatever you do… Do Not Feed the Monkeys.

Check out Do Not Feed the Monkeys yourself by heading to Fictiorama’s Website here.

Colour Zen | Review

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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. 

Rating 

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.

Goosebumps: The Game | Review

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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.