Escape room-style puzzle games have been around for a while now – heck, I’d even say games like Myst have escape room type elements. But what these styles of games don’t do very well is multiplayer. I’m glad that’s starting to change, especially with shiny titles like Escape Simulator.
Escape Simulator is a first-person puzzle game that can be played solo or cooperatively with friends. The base game comes with escape rooms in five different themes: “Labyrinth of Egypt”, “Adrift in Space”, “Edgewood Mansion”, and “Omega Corporation”. Based on their names, you can probably already get an idea of what to expect in each of these level packs.
If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you’ll find Escape Simulator is configured much like one of those. To solve each room, you will have to search everywhere for clues or interactive objects. Move furniture, remove paintings from walls, and carefully examine any objects for clues. Items can be carefully considered and even combined with other items to give you what you need to progress. Each room also has a time limit – if you complete the room within that time, you’ll earn a trophy.
I mostly played Escape Simulator with friends, but it can also be played solo. However, if you want to complete each piece within the time limit, it’s probably best to have multiple people solving the puzzles. Some of them in the default packs can be quite difficult. The Steam store page recommends 2-3 players, although you can play with more.
As with any puzzle game, the difficulty varies greatly from group to group. We were able to finish some rooms with lots of time to spare, and others with seconds left – however, some rooms locked my party well past the time limit.
Possible puzzles in Escape Simulator are vast. By default, you’ll have to rearrange pictures, find keys, decipher cryptic notes, and more in the five different themed level packs. Unfortunately, escape rooms don’t really offer too much replayability – and that’s the case for Escape Simulator, too. However, Escape Simulator has an active community of level builders – and there are some really brilliant community builders to escape to.
The creations made by the community are what makes Escape Simulator really fantastic. Not only is the community brilliant at creating escape rooms, but these community maps just have a completely different range than the (already great) default maps. It’s easy to add rooms through the Steam Workshop, and there are consistent community updates that highlight community favorite maps. You can also create your own escape rooms with the in-game editor. There are a few in-game tutorials to help you with the editor, but the community has also intensified here and you can find plenty of guides ranging from tips and tricks on how to import your own game textures.
If I had played Escape Simulator when released, it would definitely have been in my top games of 2021. Not only are its initial puzzles fun, but the endless community content makes it a must-have for anyone interested in escape rooms. It would have received a perfect score if we hadn’t encountered so many bugs – and bugs that cause you to restart a room are frustrating for a number of reasons. Still, it’s a solidly fun game.
Escape Simulator is now available for PC via Steam.
A set of Steam keys was provided to us for this review.