I remember when I was young, I came across this fascinating genre called escape-the-room games. Honestly, I’m not sure I knew what I was really doing— I was about 10 years old if I recall correctly. It wasn’t hard to randomly click and point around the room and it was oddly satisfying to figure out small puzzles. I later ended up showing my cousins the game and we’d lock ourselves in a room with a desktop during family gatherings and put our brains together to escape these online rooms. Crimson Room was one of the first, and most memorable titles I played, and I cannot believe a sequel is released more than a decade after the original flash game’s release
In Crimson Room Decade, you play as Jean-Jacques Gordot, an inspector who’s looking into the salvaged wreck of a cruise liner called La Crimson which had sunk in 1926. It so happens that Jean-Jacques’ grandfather was aboard the ship when it met its demise and he’s here to piece together what happened. When the game begins, you somehow find yourself trapped in one of the ship’s room— one that gives you a huge wave of nostalgia if you’ve played the original Crimson Room.
As with other games in the escape-the-room genre, you have to point-and-click your way through every nook and cranny to find the objects you’ll need to get you out of your predicament. The biggest difference in terms of mechanics is that instead of pointing arrows to look at different parts of the room, you can now walk around with WASD. You can also crouch too, which took some use getting to. I realize instead of just clicking under the bed, I’d have to press crouch in order to see if there’s anything under it.
The puzzles are not the hardest, but I found myself really stuck at one point in the game. I ended up looking online for help on that one part to make sure I can finish the game and do a proper write-up. It turns out I had overlooked a little bump that looked a little out-of-place. Under it was the thing I was missing. This was a common occurrence that I’d come across when I played this kind of game— it’s frustrating, but you get over it. I’m not sure how many of these escape-the-room games are actually luck-based!
While playing, although you’re pretty much in the same room the whole time, I can tell you that the layout of the room will shift quite a bit. The change will allow you to do a lot more and discover new things. When I first started this, after the first 15-20 minutes of gameplay, I started to feel that the room was impossibly small. I had no idea what else I could do to advance my game. But you’ll eventually figure it out.
I loved how many odes to the original Crimson Room there were in Decade. For example, the sound of finding a new item triggered the same sound as the original game. Of course, there’s also the fact that the room is almost identical but with upgraded 3D graphics.
A lot of these escape games have an eerie mood to it, and this one was no different. I was pretty sure there weren’t going to be jumpscares, but sometimes the music would get ominous and I’d feel myself getting a little panicky. Along the way, you’ll also find letters written by your grandfather to your father. These pieces of paper will help give a bit of background to what went on in the ship and it’s not the most pleasant.
The ending is a little confusing to me, but I think I can maybe theorize what happened. I don’t want to put a spoiler in this article, so if anyone wants to discuss in the comments with me, please do so! I’d love to bounce some ideas around to see what you think happened.
Overall, if you’ve played the old Crimson Room’s series of games, Crimson Room Decade is an excellent tribute and sequel. You’ll definitely be doing some reminiscing. However, I do think it’s a little pricey, given my play time was about one and a half hours (if I wasn’t stuck, it would’ve probably taken an hour). Perhaps get it on sale?
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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