ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas (Switch) Review – Classic Escapism
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Publisher: D3 Publisher Inc.
Release: 15th February 2018
During the last few months, D3 Publisher sneakily released some of their games on the Switch, complete with English localization. Sadly even I didn´t know of it until recently and just had to check out (probably) the only Escape Room game for Switch. Packing two whole games with 35 rooms combined, it packs a whole lot of content for genre fans, actually pretty decent one at that!
The first game of ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas circles around a son searching for his disappeared father, who left him only a key. Naturally, on the way, he will encounter more than a few murders and strange coincidences. In the second one, the player is trapped in a room together with a strange woman and has to cooperate, in order to escape.
Well, if someone expects a good story here though, they will be unpleasantly surprised, as the first one, in particular, doesn´t offer anything too interesting. Consisting of a few lines or events between each room, only the most rudimentary plot can be told. Lacking many surprises except the finale, it´s enough to keep you interested in them while providing a nice little break between the puzzles.
The second one, however, is surprisingly solid, since it consists of two main characters now, which are written pretty good. I´m always a fan of duo dynamics and how two persons can evolve by supporting each other. Given, the extent of both their development and tension factor is nothing special but actually way more solid than many other Escape Room games I played. Of course, nothing could challenge the Zero Escape series here but what game can? Initially, you might expect horribly written translations, mixed with boring, cliché-y plots but ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas offers a way more refined experience – luckily.
Gameplay-wise, there´s nothing too out of the ordinary for fans, to be honest. In case you never played an Escape Room game, they´re basically all about escaping a room without any help, simply by exploring the environments, finding items, combining or using them in the right place. Puzzles can range from simply finding paper cuts with numbers to extracting useful information from hints and combining the various objects of a room.
ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas isn´t different, both games offer a total of 35 rooms, almost all consisting of a single space, navigated by the classic arrow buttons on the sides. Yet, be warned, they can be tough, really tough. I played a decent number of those games and struggled far often than normally, due to the fact, there´s absolutely no hint system. If you´re stuck, you´re stuck and the game won´t help, at least in the Zero Escape series, characters tend to give a little bit help. This can especially be frustrating once you reached the later, bigger, more overloaded places, where the nit-picky nature of its interaction system becomes quite a hassle. Early on it´s not hard to notice how you need to tap exactly in the right area to interact with an object, for example, to see the key hidden between two books, it´s necessary to tap exactly on these two books. As a result, I encountered a few places where I was stuck simply because I didn´t tap 2 millimetres to the right.
Otherwise, the puzzles and rooms are actually pretty good, every one of the 35 features some sort of unique design, structure, idea or alike, making them feel more diverse than the concept. Especially early levels try to guide the player along the very steep learning curve as best as they can, often delivering working tutorials without text.
So, last but not least, the presentation. First of all, it´s an amazing move to make the game touchscreen compatible, even though the two games are probably mobile ports, regardless, you never know with Japanese devs. The graphics though can be quite a mixed bag, ranging from alright looking interiors to almost scary character models, looking like ripped directly from a bad Unity game. Since most objects lack shadows as well, they never gain a real sense of depth. It runs smooth, which it better has to with these graphics, but isn´t up to standards even for a mobile Escape Room game.
All in all, ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas may be a sometimes really clumsy, nit-picky experience but delivers a solid Escape Room experience nonetheless. With diverse rooms and good overall plots to connect them, the many hours of challenging puzzles can be a real treat if you´re familiar with the genre and not easily frustrated.
[A Review Code was provided by D3 Publisher]