Red Crow Mysteries: Legion

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion is a mystery hidden-object game by Cateia Games. I finished the game today and frankly I still don’t know what the game is about. I do expect some of these hidden-object/mystery games not to take their plots seriously but this one is on a completely different league of its own. The narrative is so rushed, you forget what’s going on. It tries to deliver a serious tone and then it turns slang.

RedCrow3

Its navigation system is probably the worst of its kind. Instead of simply giving you an arrow to indicate backtracking, it shows you weird symbol of footprints that has to be triggered clicking on a specific angle on the screen otherwise it won’t work. It’s also hard figuring out what’s clickable and what isn’t. Usually that’s intended to make a game difficult, but in this one it’s beyond workable. I had to switch to Easy mode to see hint sparks on my screen to figure out what I need to click. There are also several glitches in the game that made solving some of the puzzles a total nuisance. Also did I mention how much I really hate games with inventories that hide their inventories?

RedCrow2

Putting aside all of the bad, the thing I DID like about this game is the difficulty of the puzzles. The hidden objects are kept to a minimum and more than half the puzzles in the game actually demand thinking. That came as a surprise. Although a couple were repetitive, I didn’t mind that. I think the puzzles alone were what kept me motivated to play.

As for the ending, it’s safe to say it’s laughable and there’s going to be a sequel.

RedCrow4

Would I recommend the game? Probably not. There are plenty of games out there far better. I’m giving it 3 stars though because I actually stuck with it and it kept me company when I’m not feeling well.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 1/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 2/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): Mac.

Game link

Game trailer

True Fear: Forsaken Souls II

Just completed Forsaken Souls II; a sequel of True Fear Forsaken Souls I, which I reviewed last week. The game is a huge improvement from its prequel! I didn’t expect to like it this much but I was really blown away.

The story took its steady time to unfold and so much has happened since FSI. New characters, new events, and new leads. I love how things are not rushed and the main character lets the player know what she thinks about everything. For once there’s actually a good use for the diary in these games.

Forsaken Souls II-2

It’s very refreshing not to hinge the entire game on hidden objects. And I have to say the mini games in this installment were absolutely WONDERFUL! Some are straight forward mini-games and some others are very inventive like the use of night vision goggles in various places, swapping items through a time machine, and using a library cart to retrieve books with an RFID-like mechanism. You’re never bored!

Forsaken Souls II-3

I also absolutely love how items picked up at the beginning of the game stay with you for a very long time, which is unusual with this genre of games. Your inventory grow, which lets you think about how to use the items at your disposal. Some of them can be reused many times before disposing them.

The graphics are superb. The music and sound effects are also top notch. Some find the sequel to be less spooky than the prequel. I personally found this one scarier (that basement part!).

The game is surprisingly massive and there’s a lot to uncover. Using the map to fast travel is definitely a good option.

Forsaken Souls II-4

Overall I’m super hyped about this installment and I really can’t wait for the third part to come out. I really hope it won’t be too long. Based on the rumors I’ve read online it’s not promising but definitely worth the wait.

This game is part of a trilogy and they’re closely tied. Playing the first part is a must. If you can tolerate the clunkiness of the prequel then you’re in for a treat for the sequel. I bet the third will even be better!

My final score is 4.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 4/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Game link

Game trailer

Related Post: Game Review: True Fear, Forsaken Souls I 

Our new addition to the escape room series is the Escape Hunt franchise company. I probably passed it a dozen times and didn’t realize it was an escape room company. Located on the first floor of the Al-Bida’a restaurant strip.

According to their brochure and website there are 3 rooms available only: Mystery of the Silk Cottage, Steel Mill Meltdown, and The Elemental Dragon. When we got there; however, we were told there’s no dragon but there’s a vampire instead. Frankly I wanted the dragon, but in the end we went into the Steel Mill Meltdown.

Escape Hunt 2

The reception area looks like Rococo style on steroids. Too many colors and embellishments for my taste but the staff was really friendly and the seating area was surprisingly comfortable. Before entering, we were asked to put our things in our lockers and remove our digital watches. Unlike the other rooms I’ve tried, this one you need to flash a CLUE card at the camera when you need to and they’re nice enough to give you a note pad and a pencil before entering.

Escape Hunt 1

The puzzle room itself was really small which opens into further smaller rooms. We were only four people and it was a little uncomfortable rummaging through the place. I can’t imagine how it would be if we were in our full group of seven. The music was too loud and distracting but perhaps that’s intentional.

Escape Hunt 5

Escape Hunt 4

We found ourselves locked into a 1960s US steel workshop or warehouse by a looney employee. He sets the place on fire and it’s our job to escape within 60 minutes before the meltdown. The puzzles were average and we escaped in 28 minutes.

Everyone was impressed with us. We’re experts after all. We decided to impress them even more by going into their most difficult room- their Vampire.

We went in and we SUCKED!

Similar to the previous room, the space was really limited which made it seriously frustrating to focus on anything. If you’re claustrophobic this is the worst place to be in. It was also dark and the sound effects were eerie. I don’t usually get scared in spooky themes unless there’s a real person/actor inside the room then it’s a completely different story for me. In that room; however, I was at the edge of my seat and I think it’s because of the narrow space. I felt suffocated.

As for the puzzles, that’s a different issue. I think there’s a clear distinction between a puzzle being ‘difficult’ and ‘absurd’. The puzzles in the Vampire room were absurd. I noticed whenever the room is not a franchise, they try to be too inventive for their own good. The puzzles were mostly riddles and they made absolutely no sense. It wasn’t fun, it was annoying.

I believe that a good puzzle game is well thought out and strategized to strike a good balance for the player. If the theme of the game is horror, then usually the difficulty is lowered a tad bit in order to facilitate playability without being too distracted or feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, the sequence of how clues are laid out in a well designed puzzle fluctuates. It doesn’t always maintain the same tempo to avoid boring players. This is especially common in difficult rooms. It’s player-friendly. It portrays the message that, “yes the puzzles are difficult but achievable”. I felt there was no balance in Vampire. It’s like a mixing pot with so many things thrown at you and you need to figure it out. I felt the objective of the room was to convince you it’s hard and that’s it.

Having said that, we did enjoy our time in the first room. I would definitely go again for their third room but I wouldn’t recommend the vampire room.

If there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do it’s to go into an escape room alone. I guess I was curious to see how far I could reach on my own since a big part of solving these rooms depends on cooperation and team play.

One day I finished my workout at the gym and I was on my way home when I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to just do it. The center was just opening up early in the morning and the reception was empty. It’s the perfect time, I thought. I had tried calling them several times prior to that in order to ask if it was possible to play these games solo and I was told numerous times the minimum number of players should be 2. I think they were on a good mood that day or they just felt sorry for me and they let me in. The downside though I had to pay a ticket for 2 people. I didn’t mind because it’s something I really really wanted to do.

I dropped my gym bag at my car and went back to them 30 minutes later at the time given to me. They made me sit in the waiting room until the game master arrived. He walked in and we both stood in front of the escape room door. He explained the basics and I was told there was some fantastic hidden buried treasure inside one of the room’s pyramids. Something is cursed inside this room; however, and it’s my job to get inside and find the treasure otherwise some lunatic Pharoah will come and get me. I tied my shoe laces, zipped up my parka and went in. I was READY FOR WAR! All those years playing puzzles games were definitely not going to waste. How hard can it be, right?

As soon as I walked in, the door locked behind me, and I felt my heart sinking in my stomach. Crap! What did I get myself into! I felt slightly cluster phobic inside a small room with some giant mean looking Pharoa staring down at me on a high pedestal.

The screen flashed a number in front of me and the countdown began. I immediately started running in every direction trying to find every item I could get my hands on. The first few puzzles were easy, except for a partially mathematical one, which I completely sucked at. I made sure I gave my back to the camera so no one sees me counting with my fingers.

For the first room I used up two hints but overall I was doing great. Then, I discovered I had to literally JUMP on the high pedestal above me in order to reach something. No, that can’t be right, can it?! Did they really expect you to do physical labor like this in an escape room? I tried finding an alternative way but eventually I got yelled at from the microphone that yes, in fact, I had to jump up. Luckily I was in my gym clothes.

Not only did I have to jump on the pedestal, I had to pull and carry around 10 or 15 plaster poles that are bigger than my size. By the time I was done I was seriously exhausted. I didn’t have time to rest though. I solved the next puzzles and managed to reach the final room and that’s when I seriously freaked out.

The room was so small and narrow and almost completely dark. I felt my heart racing and I seriously contemplated just giving up right there. What made it worse was this room had no screen. I couldn’t see how much time was left and I couldn’t read any hints to help me escape this tiny space.

The final puzzle was tedious and involved a bunch of symbols and hieroglyphs. I knew what I had to do but the code wasn’t working for some reason. I tried it over and over with no luck. Finally I heard something in the other room and I realized my time was up. The screen went blank and I stood waiting for them to open the door for me and tell me I failed, only the door didn’t open and I felt myself panicking. I started signaling to the camera that I needed to get out- no answer. I asked for help- no answer. I waited… again- no answer. What the hell was happening? Why aren’t they letting me out? I finally ran back to the dark room and thought my only hope is to try and get that last code working somehow to get the hell out.

After some time, it finally worked. Not sure how and not sure I really care. All I wanted at that moment was to finally step foot out of that room. When the door opened, the game master was standing behind the door waiting for me. Apparently he left the navigation room when my time was up and they all decided to give me an extra 5 minutes because I was so close to the exit. It would have been nice if they told me that though instead of making me feel like I was completely cut off!

I wasn’t happy that I didn’t solve that last puzzle on time but considering that I managed to finish the entire room alone was an achievement in itself. I felt so proud of myself, but would I do it again? Probably not!

Although you’re obviously playing with people watching and helping you along the way from start to end, there’s just something seriously crazy about being locked up in a room alone. Not to mention the amount of work that had to be done to move things around. I never felt the value of team-play in those games until that day.

Overall it was a memorable and funny experience that I definitely would not do again or recommend to anyone.

 

We pretty much finished all escape rooms from Escapeland. The only one left was The Crypt which we got to play recently.

We usually go in as a big group (7 players in total) but this time we were only three. It was most fitting to be honest since the room was less challenging the others.

The story goes that there’s a vampire hidden somewhere inside the crypt. Many adventurers before you has attempted to kill him but failed. One hour before sunset you find yourself locked inside the crypt yourself following a journal entry a person has left behind. You will need to follow the clues and find the vampire before he finds you.

The Crypt 1

There are about 3 rooms in total to unlock. I realized that almost all of the escape rooms in Avenues are much smaller than the Symphony mall branch. That didn’t compromise the nice decorations though. Almost all of their games are pretty well done.

The Crypt 2

The puzzles were straight forward and a lot easier than what we anticipated except for the last puzzle, which we had an issue with. There was nothing special about this particular room. We got accustomed to have that one fun twist each room presented, but not this one.

Frankly, I didn’t overly enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the other ones. In terms of how scary it was, atmospherically it gives you a spooky vibe but doesn’t include any jump scares, nor does it have any person inside to interact with you, which is perfectly fine with me. I usually avoid the ones with human actors. I find them seriously distracting.

I obviously couldn’t take pictures but I’m planning to find a way to see how I can review escape rooms better in the future as I’m a huge fan and would like to collect my memories of them in an archive.

The Crypt 4

All photos posted here are taken from the escape room supplier’s website. The items are an exact replica except for some minor changes in the way they’re laid out in the room.

My final score is 2/5 ★★

  • 3/5 for decorations
  • 3/5 for story/lore
  • 2/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 2/5 for overall experience

Location: Escapeland (Avenues Mall)