Cube Escape is the rightful heir to Submachine and is so good, we don’t deserve it

With all the Steams and Switches in the world, it’s sometimes hard to remember excellent game areas such as Kongregate. Last night, desperate to shake the unyielding crawl of Fetch Games, I stumbled into their puzzle section and found “Cube Escape: The Cave,” which is the ninth installment of the Rusty Lake series. I now find myself having to go back and play the other eight. The detail of the games atmosphere and puzzles left me bewildered and disturbed, a phantom shadow here, an unfortunate recipe there, and all the while I was wondering how could these puzzles be so challenging without being annoying. There is more than narrative magic in “Cube Escape: The Cave”: there is developer magic as well.

You want so much to feed the doggy. Then you have to feed the doggy. Oh, no doggy, no.

The escape-room genre, recently and not necessarily to its benefit, seen a bump in interest due to the prevalence of IRL escape room games; either permanent locations or pop-up events have become common in the city-scape. Yet, the idea of heading into a room with a group of people (known and unknown) to find the clues and perform the tasks needed to escape seems completely antithetical to the genre. You are alone, in a room, and there are a series of puzzles you must solve to escape and that solitude is what makes solving the puzzles so essential, and urgent. The idea of solving a complicated puzzle with a bunch of buzzed bros from the Bowery feels so much like torture, more akin to the Saw franchise, than a successor to “The Crimson Room.”

My stopping point when I played through. I’ll return to this room when I have the focus it requires. Probably after lunch.

“Cube Escape: The Cave” gives me the same urgency and desperate need for immersion as “Crimson Room” and “Submachine.” I need to solve each riddle and I need to move on, either escaping completely or on to the next adventure. That there are eight other iterations of “Cube Escape” leaves me anxious for a long stretch of time where I can work my way through its labyrinthine story and solve all the puzzles (with the help from a hint or two, not gonna lie). And while playing at Kongregate allows me to save my place, I would have gladly started all over. I highly recommend giving this chapter a try (as it’s the only one I’ve played so far) and let me know if you have a favorite chapter in the series.

Escaping from SBKMan

Continuing the Renaissance of Girl Adventurer’s Casual Reviews, I combed the last few weeks of Weekday Escapes over at JayIsGames.com. Apparently ole “Jay” is looking for writers, and yours truly was dang near ready to log into my Prodigy email account and send over an how-do-ya-do. Buuuut, perhaps let’s wait until I’ve had more than a few reviews spread over a four year period, ya?

SBKThis little gem caught my eye, and while the quick write-up in the original post didn’t make much sense of the SBK escape game, those commenting picked up on its charm. The cliché description would be “escape room inception,” yet, that is also the best description. The gameplay is what you would expect from escape games, but the twist in SBK was delightful. With each, let’s call it an iteration, I found myself smiling at the creator’s cheekiness. Well done.

SBKMan’s other games include: Cat Escape (猫の脱出)- which is adorable and features a cat that shoots invisible lasers (apparently); Charlotte’s Room and Charlotte’s Room 2 (I admit I got stuck on this one) which work as companions to Cat Escape (if not early proof of concept). Desk (机) is frustratingly adorable, yet the only thing you have to escape is your own messy surface. It was nice to discover SBKMan’s games and not suffer through the 400th version of Monkey Go Happy.