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The Room of Eyescape

  • Frogge
  • 03/11/2019 03:43 PM

Room Escape by Healy
Length: ~5 minutes

The limitations Room Escape were made in are extremely tiny. One map, 10 events, 10 switches, 10 variables. With how much that restrains your choices in what you could do, it should be expected that the result is a rather small project. So of course, my expectations for Room Escape were not particularly high. In the end, I was neither disappointed nor surprised. Room Escape is a very plain little adventure game and I don't really think there's much reason to play it in its current state outside of either curiosity on how the limitations were handled or if you're looking for something extremely short. Room escape stars Helen as she finds herself locked in her own home, seemingly by choice, but must leave to take shelter from some sort of attack upon seeing a TV broadcast, even if she does not want to. There's a little premise in the idea, at least, seeing as it's not one of the gazillion "Huh, where am I? I don't remember anything, I have amnesia" stories out there.

Still, don't get your hopes really high for the story either. It's not bad by any means, but it's so simple that it feels more like a concept than a full one. Of course, there's only so much you can do in 5 minutes, but the information I gave above is already half of the game. The only things that might count as spoilers that are still revealed very early on are what the tv broadcast is actually about and the mysterious woman Helen brings up multiple times throughout the game.

As it turns out, the tv broadcast is warning of some sort of alien invasion. The game actually seems to be taking place during an apocalypse. The other woman Helen mentions, presumably a late lover, seems to have become a victim to whatever is invading the planet. It's a good concept, but I just wish it was explored further. The only mention of aliens in the entire game was in that one broadcast, which is a shame, because I feel like that was the main thing that set this game apart from the countless other room escape games.

With that out the way, the game has a few minor issues in terms of its narrative even in just 5 minutes of playtime. My first big issue here is that the tone is kind of confused about what it wants to be. It seems like a sombre, atmospheric game. The feeling it evoked in me the most was sorrow. However, on the other hand, it's also not afraid to throw in some completely off-putting jokes every now and again. Perhaps the best example of this is when the TV gives an emergency broadcast and then immediately goes back to airing a horror movie marathon. It does leave me wondering if maybe this was meant to be some sort of worldbuilding tactic, maybe something like specific cities suffering from the invasion while others don't really give much of a shit and continue their lives normally, but with how short the game is, it's hard to tell really.

The gameplay sort of ties into my next point on the narrative, and that's how it doesn't really make much sense in how to find the key. A lot of it feels like it was there just for the sake of being there, and not much consideration was really spent on making the location of the key a coherent tie into the narrative. In the end, it simply ends up being taped to the inside of the toilet seat, which you only see after completing two other password puzzles. Again, I can sort of understand this is due to the limitations, but I think it's still worth pointing out since Healy seems to be showing interest in remaking this game and I think it's something worth revisiting in the future.

As for the presentation, there's really not much to talk about. There is only one map, and it's one you can literally just see in the screenshots for yourself. The only thing I could point out here is that it could have easily been a bit more squuezed together and there would be much less unused space. It's not a bad map, but when it's the only one your game has, it could probably benefit from looking a little better. The only other thing to catch my interest here is how the shadows seem to be on the right instead of left like in most other rpg maker titles. That being said, the visuals are White Screw, and obviously you can't go particularly wrong with that. As for music and sound, I really don't feel I'm well suited to talk about it. Nothing in particular caught my attention about the soundtrack, so the only thing I can say about it is that it was there. Better than silence, I suppose.

Room Escape doesn't really have much worth playing it for. I feel bad giving it a 2/5, because it's not due to it being a bad game, it's just because it's sort of slightly under average. There's potential here if some ideas are explored further, but I think pretty much every aspect of the game needs reworking before it can be a solid quality product. I give Room Escape two movie posters out of five.