Escape from the Tatami Room
Let's just put this out there now: room escapes can seem a little... samey after a while. Although the classic room escape is still logical fun, there's even more fun to be had when things are a little quirky, such as in games like the Dr. Ichie series, where you wake up in a room with a note from the apologetic doctor (why in the world does he keep locking you up?) and then proceed to escape. Whimsy makes everything better. This is why this week's gem is a whimsical entry from Tesshi-e in Escape from the Tatami Room.
The story is told with a note (if you find it) from the staff of the Tesshi-e restaurant. They have locked you in, and will only serve you lunch if you reason your way out. Cool! Why can't I find restaurants like that around here? Oh right, lawsuits. At any rate, your task is then to wander around the space and try to figure out how to unlock the door. Not to escape, mind you, but to get that fabulous promised lunch.
Navigation is the classic bars at the sides, bottom, and occasionally top of the screen. An about item button allows you to examine your inventory items. And as this is classic Tesshi-e, you definitely need to examine the items, manipulate them, and even combine them to reach the amusing conclusion of this particular escape. There is no changing cursor to point out the hot spots, but as the space is sparsely filled, there will not be a lot of pixel hunting involved.
Analysis: Tesshi-e's escapes are, for the most part, a little on the cold, logical side, so it's nice to see this little flight of whimsy. The puzzles are logical and the construction is flat out amusing, making this a very light-hearted, fun escape. Well, not an escape, per se, unless you're talking about an escape from hunger.
Beautifully rendered in 3D, this is a very traditional Japanese space, very reminiscent of a traditional Ryokan; sparse, serene, calm, and almost ethereal. The music is, as usual, something you've probably heard before, so there's always the handy mute button. As always with Tesshi-e, there's more than one escape scenario. Two, in fact; the regular and the obligatory "happy coin" escape. Although the game is in Japanese, you don't need to be able to read it to play. In fact, at key points, English phrases crop up to point the gamer in the right direction.
Escape from the Tatami Room is not the toughest escape out there, but one that hangs together nicely with a mix of use of found objects, construction, and pure logic. Amusing casual gameplay that doesn't take a lot of time but leaves you feeling very satisfied, even if you don't really get to eat that excellent spread that is the final reward. Feeling peckish? Then get moving! Just save me some of that sushi, it looks good enough to eat.