Getting burgled is not a funny experience, and those who have been know that there is little the police can do about it other than writing a report in three copies. Often I hear people saying that they really wanted to mount a shotgun above the door firing at intruders. Of course this never happens, and most forget about the ordeal once the insurance claims have been settled a couple of months later. That goes for us ordinary people but say for example that you are a ninja, a ninja that god burgled a couple of years ago and lacked a decent home insurance. A ninja used to killing people without hesitation doesn’t have the same limited moral view as us. He has no trouble in setting up traps for any intruder, and all traps he sets are lethal.
Ponder then that you actually sneak into the lair of an enemy ninja to steal his belongings, and secret scrolls at that. You are in a seriously sticky, and somewhat deadly situation. Of course you have to escape but it is not easy to escape when a home has been designed by a homicidal ninja. The lair consists of three rooms you have to logically manoeuvre through.
iEscaper is a room escape game that combines the gameplay of hidden object games and logical puzzle games. You have to assess the situation by tapping on the screen to find objects to pick up or interact with. Often you will get a zoomed in view of a corner of the room, and usually no more than one to two actions to perform. There are also notes giving you hints about how to solve the various puzzles. Strange that a neat and tidy ninja leaves parts of his puzzle designs lying about.
Your inventory plays a huge part in the game, as you have to investigate your objects closely, and at times combine them with other objects in your possession. It is also worth noting that some objects in the game react to tilt/shake motions. For example you can shake a key out of another objects, and clear smoke from billowing.
The puzzles in iEscaper are really good, and at times they put my brain in overdrive. Once you have completed the game once it takes less than ten minutes to run through it again. But when I played it the first time it took me four hours to escape, and a couple of desparate posts on a forum. All puzzles can be completed if you are thouroug and calm. The pacing of iEscaper is slow, really slow. Nothing can hurt you other than assembling some puzzles the wrong way. Time is not important, and I found I quite relaxing to just ponder a single puzzle for fifteen minutes.
The graphics in iEscaper is really good with amazing polish, and attention to detail. Set in ancient Japan the graphics really reflects the era with suiting lighting effects, and all surfaces show wear and imperfection. The sound is also really good with some nice oriental music setting an ambient oriental tone to proceedings. This ninja doesn’t only want to kill you; he also wants you to be relaxed as he does so. You can not play your own music which is a shame as the game music becomes stale after hours of the same stuff. At times there is vibration to signify some events, or puzzles malfunctioning. There is no way to turn it off, and I find that a bit annoying as it is disturbing in a more public setting.
The main shortcoming of iEscaper is the short game life with only three rooms for the main story mode, and one extra room not related to the story. I would love to get more rooms to play around in as I really enjoy playing iEscaper. It is like Mystery Mania times ten when it comes to intricate puzzles.
If you haven’t tried a room escape game before I highly recommend that you give the lite version a go. If you are versed in the game formula don’t hesitate to buy the full version right away. The lite version gives you the entire first room of the game.
iEscaper is a strangely addictive game with great graphics and puzzles. A bit on the short side, and some puzzles might be too frustrating for newcomers to room escape games. I still recommend it as something unique in the App Store that will test your ninja logic skills.