Developer: Pine Studio
Publisher: Pine Studio
Genre(s): Puzzle, Mystery, Co-Op
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 19.10.21
A code was provided for review purposes
Escape Simulator puts players in a variety of themed environments with one simple goal: escape. With riddles to solve, secrets to uncover and dozens of objects to inspect, did Escape Simulator offer the perfect virtual escape room challenge or was I left stuck and looking for more? Find out in my Rapid Review.
Escape Room Simulator
I should begin by stating that, outside of reviewing, I am also a part-time Gamesmaster for a local escape room, resetting rooms and puzzles several times on a weekly basis. This means that I know the intricacies and general structure of an escape quite well, so I went into this game with high expectations. Fortunately, for a variety of reasons, Escape Simulator met my expectations and then surpassed them.
One Countdown; One Exit
The basic premise of an escape room is that you are locked in a room for a set amount of time and need to solve interconnecting clues in order to unlock a door and escape. Escape Simulator stays true to this formula and provides the player with a less-pressured digital environment. Each room gave me unlimited time to gather information, solve clues and unlock all manner of padlocks, keypads and even coffins! With fifteen rooms across three uniquely themed areas, I loved putting my detective skills to the test in a variety of locations such as an Egyptian tomb, a slightly sinister mansion and even the depths of space.
I will refrain from specific puzzle spoilers within this review but I found much delight in searching through the pages of notepads and books, discovering hidden codes on everyday objects and seeing what hidden compartments I could uncover. With astoundingly detailed assets with a wonderful cartoon art style, I could effortlessly drag my mouse to rotate objects and see what secrets were hidden. Even with the room on a screen in front of me. I still experienced the same slightly overwhelming confusion of walking into a seemingly inescapable room. Yet, when I found my first lead, I was led into a glorious rabbit hole of puzzling discovery!
Break all you Like!
As a video game, Escape Simulator grants plenty of creative liberty to the escape room designs. Without the need for a physical reset after each game, I could cause the room to become a complete mess by the time I had unlocked the final door with a debris of smashed vases, upturned furniture and streams of paper littering the floor. With fantastic object physics, even though I knew there probably wasn’t anything hiding in the Victorian vase I had just picked up, there was a level of exhilaration from dropping varying objects from a height and seeing which would bounce and which would smash.
Additionally, the environments themselves felt wonderfully fantastical with zero-gravity switches and dizzying Egyptian heights not seeming at all out of place. With a helpful pin feature, I was able to organise my clues and store my items in my unlimited inventory. This once again showed how Escape Simulator excelled by providing the player with digital convenience.
Even with experience with escape rooms, I still encountered many puzzling moments within the rooms. The puzzles I encountered were eventually solvable thanks to persistence and the satisfaction of unlocking a particular trouble lock was immense, but a hint feature certainly wouldn’t go amiss, especially for new players. Overall, though, the puzzle design was superb, encouraging me to never ignore any inconspicuous painting or hieroglyph. Even after spending lots of time working on a puzzle, I never felt any frustration after finally discovering the solution which is the perfect balance for a puzzle game.
My time with Escape Simulator was played single-player however I look forward to playing some unsolved rooms in the game’s multiplayer mode in the future. There always seemed to be enough puzzles for a pair to work on at the same time and I think that the unique perspective of a fellow player would come in useful.
Community of Tomorrow
Escape Simulator also offers an impressive level editor which seemed highly advanced and user friendly during my brief time of use. With a plethora of different-themed assets, the level editor offers a wonderfully accessible escape room construction kit and I’m incredibly excited in seeing what the Escape Simulator community will create in the future.
Overall, Escape Simulator provides the definitive digital escape room experience for players both new and familiar with the escape room formula. Full of expertly created puzzles, graphically detailed items and out-of-this-world environments grounded in real puzzle design, Escape Simulator is easily my favourite puzzle game this year.
Rapid Reviews Rating
5 out of 5
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.