Palindrome Syndrome: Escape Room
Genre(s): Escape Room, Puzzle, Science
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 21.04.2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Back in 2010, the world first became aware of escape rooms. Or what I like to call, the ultimate bonding experience. Something about locking yourself in a room with significant others while trying to solve puzzles became incredibly popular. In essence, escape rooms are fake location’s where you are locked in as groups of 2 or more.
Included within this, are many challenges dotted around the site. These all come together to assist players in reaching the end of the game. All within an allotted time frame and with minimal hints. But like many other businesses, escape rooms were not very covid friendly during the peak of the pandemic. Quizzes quickly became boring, and many businesses jumped at the opportunity to bring their face to face experiences to life. Online Escape Rooms quickly boomed amongst avid contenders, and today at Rapid Reviews, we are reviewing Palindrome Syndrome Escape Room.
A smart story
The story behind Palindrome begins upon the awakening of a character. It appears to be a doorway to a spaceship. Your memory bank is empty of what brought you here. This beginning immediately throws you into the game by completing puzzles so you can unlock the door. Once unlocked, you are free to explore the next room. As a player, you experience this game all in the first person. This resembles the experience as if you were actually completing a real escape room.
As the game begins, it becomes apparent that each puzzle is in a chain that needs to be solved in the correct order. For example, in the room above, (the lab), you need to unlock the red tube from its case, before you can complete the other test tube challenge. All challenges come from a doctor who speaks to you providing glimpses of further information as to what the game holds. With further information gained as you progress through the game. It becomes apparent as to why you are there and what the doctor is researching. All of which are faintly told on snippets of paper littered throughout the game which you can find in order to learn more about the secrets of the room. The game and story both reflect the ideology behind the game. Both must be executed in the same manner in order to make sense, and achieve the final conclusion.
The story is nice and simple, but it is definitely not the part of the game that kept me going. I did find it bland, but we can argue that it fits with the game well. Palindrome is more about the puzzles and the challenge they provide, so if you aren’t too fussed on a heavy story-based puzzle game, this is not something to worry about.
Fully packed puzzles
The style of this game mirrors that of a real escape room. With this in mind, I was pleased to discover that the puzzles also reflect similar issues you would find in the real-life version. Sometimes it’s a case of putting pictures and colours in the right order, rather than using much of your brain. It is fair to say, escape room puzzles, are their own genre of trials. The developers at mc2games do incorporate this fantastically. I particularly found them pleasantly difficult. Frustrations did arise, as some, which I knew were easy to resolve, I found myself completely ignorant to my environment. This meant some “easy puzzles” were actually the most difficult. It is always the least expected one you will struggle with! In fact, with this happening a few times, it highlighted that this so-called puzzle game definitely has its own unique style of puzzle theme.
This game most definitely does not lack challenging encounters. It includes a wide variety of puzzles, from finding objects, correcting patterns, and simply just scanning your environment. Perfect for every puzzler!
A really important aspect of any game you play, regardless of genre, is the flow of controls. Palindrome Syndrome was initially released on PC before being bought to switch. That is very evident in the lack of movement of the controls from the switch. Using a mouse makes it a very easy point and click method. But dragging pieces of a puzzle or test tubes on the Switch around takes a lot of precision. The joycons do not sit well with this game at all. On many occasions, not only did I feel frustrated because I found the puzzles overly challenging, but I wasn’t motivated to continue trying to resolve them. It felt like it took 10x longer to move around than it should do. This is a great game, but definitely not one I recommend for the switch as its platform of choice.
The whole thing felt very chaotic. The game itself is quite calming, and you can complete it at a slow and steady pace. But the sticky style of controls is difficult to cope with.
Graphically not the best
As a final little note, I also want to comment on the graphics of the game. Considering escape rooms are based on real-life environments, I would have expected better graphics than what we were provided. The design has the qualities of a game produced early 2000’s: old graphics, a bit basic. The colour scheme itself is mundane and did not keep me interested in wanting to continue the story. The reflection of the graphics doesn’t make the game look fun. In fact, when I first saw the trailer, I was put off partially from trying it out, as the game provided a bland and stale aesthetic.
My final thoughts
Palindrome Escape Room has been an experience. I have played it and, even though I enjoyed the puzzles, I lost motivation. The difficulties faced with control issues applies a lot of pressure on getting the puzzle right. Although this is not a direct reflection on the game itself, the developer’s decision to release the game on Switch without any tweaks creates many issues with a handheld experience. Furthermore, the overall aesthetic really lets the game down. With a simple storyline, you need a lot of support from the games features to enable users to feel motivated to want to play. Ultimately, Palindrome includes some fantastic puzzles but, with the disappointingly poor controls provided by the Nintendo Switch version, this is probably a game better played on PC.
If puzzle games are your thing, maybe give it a go. But there’s no rush, and if you decide not to, I’m sure the Nintendo store will have much more to offer soon!
Rapid Reviews Rating
2 out of 5
You can purchase Palindrome Syndrome: Escape Room here for Nintendo Switch.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.