ReviewsReview: Escape Simulator

Review: Escape Simulator

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Puzzles have fascinated mankind for years, and people set aside hours to complete each problem. It matters not if it’s for work or pleasure, the sense of achievement when we solve each puzzle is rewarding. Recently, the genre has ventured into more dramatic and interactive scenarios, and escape rooms have become big business. Escape Simulator aims to build on this success with its challenging yet fun problem-solving experience.

Developed and published by Pine Studio, this is an escape room sim title. Available to play solo or online with another player, this is a tricky yet fun game to experience. Its simple style, colourful characters, and interesting scenarios capture your attention from the start. Its many logic-based problems will get under your skin and once you begin playing, you’ll struggle to stop.

Escape Simulator has lots to offer and many unique puzzles.

I’m a massive fan of the puzzle genre and have taken part in many escape rooms. Therefore, I was always going to jump at the chance to give Escape Simulator a go. However, I hadn’t prepared for the vast amount of problems and scenarios that were on offer. I was shocked by the level of detail and the complexities surrounding each puzzle.

The game offers four playable areas, including the tutorial. Each of the three main scenarios comprises five stages that match each theme and have unique problems to solve. You’ll explore an Egyptian area, a futuristic space zone, and a Victorian building. Each area attempts to create theme accurate puzzles that require logical thinking and an eye for detail.

You’ll smash vases, twist dials, move pyramids, pick up gems, search for keys, and more. Each room has three main objectives to complete and achieving each one within the time limit is nearly impossible. The objectives are the same throughout and players must search for hidden tokens, complete each room, and get out before the clock reaches zero.

Decipher those hieroglyphics.

Clues, frustration, and a level editor. 

When every object is a possible clue, it’s hard to decipher what is useful and what is not. Luckily, Pine Studio considered this issue and added a handy visual guide to ensure you don’t waste time with junk items. This was a considered and well thought out mechanic that makes the gameplay much more accessible. Yet, this doesn’t make the problems any easier to solve.

Some of the puzzles are frustratingly difficult and a scenario can quickly turn from a fun experience to a nightmare in seconds. With no hint system, you can be stuck on a level for hours. I wish the developers had considered this problem as less skilled gamers will be put off by the complexities of some of the puzzles. 

Where Escape Simulator truly shines is its co-op action and its level editor. Co-op play requires a good level of communication to be successful. However, a good teammate does help to alleviate the aforementioned lack of hints. It was great fun solving problems with a friend and though it got messy quite quickly; it was extremely rewarding when you completed each stage together. 

The level editor allows creative players the chance to design and share their escape rooms with the community. This was a fantastic idea that increases longevity while adding some interesting content.

Space is so lonely.

Escape Simulator has a nice look, but it won’t amaze you.

Thanks to the small stages, the developers have been able to focus on the finer details. This was essential when every item can be a clue. I loved how the surrounding world changed as levers were moved and puzzles were solved. Boxes can be shifted, new paths created, and fresh problems introduced. It was a clever approach that brought the claustrophobic stages to life. However, for all its positives, it won’t amaze you with its aesthetics. Sadly, they are a little dated and the textures are a bit rough in places. Subsequently, this does reduce the final polish.

The clutter-free UI and the ability to inspect every item were a brilliant touch from the developers. Flipping, spinning, and searching every item was a great way to find clues, and it gave the game a real hands-on feeling. I loved how this sucked you into the action, and no matter how obscure the item, you’ll scrutinise it, nonetheless. 

A calm problem-solving title needs a mellow soundtrack. Escape Simulator delivers this and it helps to keep the action going at a steady pace throughout, however, I think this was an oversight by the developers. I’d have liked the countdown clock to be more dominant, as this would have added pressure. This could have been supported further with a mixture of upbeat and more aggressive songs. If these ideas were implemented, it would improve the experience and increase the challenge. In its current build, the music is suitable and pleasant, yet it simply fails to add to the emotion.

Can you solve this Victorian puzzle?

Easy to pick up and play. 

When a game focuses on problem-solving, you don’t want to concentrate on the controls. Fortunately, Escape Simulator has a well-mapped button layout and is easy to play with Mouse and Keyboard. Sadly, though, it doesn’t support a gamepad, and this is something that should be implemented at a later date. The well-designed UI allows you to select items with ease, and moving around the small stages was simple and smooth.

Thanks to the level editor, online co-op, and multiple stages, this will keep you playing. It’s not an easy game, and its lack of hints will sadly put off some gamers. If you can cope with the challenging levels, you’ll experience a moreish game with intelligent puzzles to solve. 

Escape Simulator replicates the atmosphere of every escape room I’ve experienced. 

What makes Escape Simulator fantastic is its ability to replicate the difficulty and claustrophobic nature of every escape room I’ve experienced. The tough puzzles and intertwined problems will challenge the best in the puzzle genre. I enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Every room is full of clues! Can you piece together the information, solve the puzzles, and escape each room? Collect the tokens, search every object, and beat the clock. 

SUMMARY

Escape Simulator is a tough but fun escape room puzzle title. Three locations force you to solve logic-based problems against a ticking clock. Every object can be moved and any item can be a clue.

+ Vibrant graphics.
+ Calm audio.
+ Theme related puzzles.
+ Easy to control.
+ Plenty of stages.
- No hint system.
- The puzzles may be too challenging for some.

(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Currently only available on PC)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]
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