I usually don’t play games on my mobile phone. Apart from a few puzzle games (like Candy Crush and the likes) the more complex games generally suffer from aggravating touch-screen controls or the small screen they are displayed on. A good example of this are the ports of Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to mobile devices: a technological achievement but in the end not much more than a gimmick. Playing those titles will have you yearning for a controller in no time. Yet a lot of people around me seem to be stuck to their phones when it comes to gaming. Admittedly, gaming on your mobile phone is very accessible and often introduces visual splendor and new experiences. So when asked if I wanted to review a iOS game made by NeonPlay, I wondered if I could review this game from a “casual gamer’s” point of view, rather then the hardcore gamer I am. In this review I try to do just that.
The Digital Escape Room.
The game offered to me was called Escape Hunt: The Lost Temples and was looking to be Yet Another Puzzle Adventure. However in its pitch was an interesting remark. Escape Hunt, a company known to deliver top-notch Escape room experiences all over the world, teamed up with gamestudio NeonPlay to develop this game. Not long before I received the pitch, my colleagues and I have been searching for a location to host our next Team outing. It just happens to be the case that Escape hunt’s Escape room in Maastricht was one of the options. So one could say this game is a digital Escape room experience? Well, yes!
If you’ve ever been locked up in an Escape room, you’ll probably know that each and every one of them are based upon a theme, legend or myth. In The Lost Temples your old friend, Professor Antoine LeBlanc, has gone missing while investigating the legendary city of Karnia in South Asia. As a renowned detective, you have been sent to uncover what happened to him. That’s about as deep as the story goes. The plot is mainly there to somewhat justify the game’s Indiana Jones-inspired atmosphere and puzzles. And for a mobile game that’s completely fine. The only thing that somewhat pulled me out of the atmosphere is that one point the Professor started to leave clues at the end of the puzzles. Now if he really wanted to be found that wouldn’t really make sense now would it? But in light of the Escape room tradition in which one puzzle’s completion leads you on to the next, I could understand this design choice.
” When you enter a new location, one of the first things you should do is to scout the environment for clues…”
Because mobile gaming experience is fairly limited, I can’t really tell how this game graphically holds up to other mobile titles out there. However from my point of view the game features fairly detailed 3D environments that could have been taken straight from one of the earlier Tomb Raider games. When you enter a new location, one of the first things you should do is to scout the environment for clues or usable objects to complete the puzzle in front of you. In the first few levels the game features quite some shadows from trees and buildings. If you are located in an averaged lighted room and if your auto-brightness setting is on, you can have a hard time finding these objects. Of course finding these items is part of the gameplay. However, when playing The Lost Temples, I would advise you to turn your brightness to the max for an overall better experience. However do take note that this might have implications for your battery life, making this game less suitable for longer durations of play while on the go. External battery charging devices might kill that problem immediately though.
Simple, yet fun.
The puzzles featured in the game are fairly challenging and can keep you entertained for hours. If you are feeling stuck, then you can access hints in your notebook to help solve puzzles and move on to the next room. Interacting with objects and puzzles in the game is simple too. The player can double-tap on any location in the world to walk there or on an object to zoom in closer. If you’d like to turn away from the object, you pinch out. Some objects rely on the player to execute certain gestures, like the turning a key or a mirror into the right direction. It all feels rather natural and not in any way an obstruction of the overall experience.
I haven’t found the Professor just yet, but I can tell you I casually enjoy this mobile game. It’s not something I’m playing hours on end but rather something to kill the time. I do believe the more puzzler-oriented (casual) gamers among us could really appreciate this adventure. So if you consider yourself one of them, be sure to give this game a try. It controls and looks great, successfully mimics the escape room concept and contains cleverly designed puzzles.
Escape Hunt: The Lost Temples is out now in the Apple’s App store and on Google Play. The first two levels can be played for free so go ahead and give the game a try. For more screenshots or information about the game you can visit its website by clicking here. Last but not least I embedded a trailer below for your viewing pleasure.