I've been making a habit of checking out games that I missed upon release on my YouTube channel. This gives me the opportunity to dip into stuff that I don't have time to complete, and still feel like I'm doing something halfway productive. At the end of these videos, I usually say something positive like "I'm definitely going to continue checking out this game". Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. But I wasn't kidding at the end of my Escape Academy video - I'm obsessed with completing this game.
Last night after my kids were in bed, I tackled the next three puzzles in the game, and they were incredible. Escape Academy challenges me in ways that many video games don't; by setting the levels as individual escape rooms, the game pushes players to visually examine their surroundings and start to piece things together, all while under a ticking clock. I can't tell you how unnerving it is to have that clock tick down to the two minute mark, right as you solve a puzzle that pops open a door, revealing an entire new area. The tension this thing builds just by throwing a timer on the screen and leaving stuff laying around is incredible.
My favorite puzzle so far had me in a flooding chamber, solving puzzles in order to open passage to the next-highest level. The water was steadily rising the entire time, a sloshing reminder that I was under the gun. Stellar video game design.
You can take a look at the first few puzzles here (I've sworn off making videos for this game because I don't want to spoil it any further).
Escape Academy can be played with two players, which is probably a lot of fun. But I'm enjoying the challenge of figuring things out on my own, scurrying around while the time ticks down. I'm playing it on Game Pass, alternating between my PC and my Series S, and having a grand time. If you think this sort of thing is up your alley (and if you like puzzles, it really should be), Escape Academy is now available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.