There have been escape room style puzzle games around for a while now—hell, I’d even argue games like Myst have escape room type elements. But what these style of games don’t do very well is multiplayer. I’m thrilled that is starting to change, especially with brilliant 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 set up much like one of those. To solve each room you’ll have to look everywhere for clues or interactive objects. Move furniture, take paintings off of the walls, and carefully examine any object for clues. Items can be carefully examined 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 limit, you score a trophy.
I’ve mostly played Escape Simulator with friends, but it can be played solo, too. However, if you want to complete each room within the time limit, it’s probably best to have multiple people working out the puzzles—some of them in the default packs can be pretty difficult. The Steam store page recommends 2-3 players, though you can play with more.
As with any puzzle game, difficulty changes greatly from group to group. We were able to complete some rooms with loads of time to spare, and others with seconds left—however, some of the rooms stumped my group far beyond the time limit.
The puzzles that are possible in Escape Simulator are vast. By default, you’ll have to rearrange pictures, find keys, decipher cryptic notes, and a whole lot more across 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 creators—and there are some genuinely brilliant community creations to escape from.
The community made creations are what make Escape Simulator really fantastic. Not only is the community brilliant at creating escape rooms, but these community maps just have a completely different scope than the (already great) default maps. It’s easy to add rooms via the Steam workshop, and there are consistent community updates that highlight the community’s favorite maps. You can also create your own escape rooms with the in-game editor. There are a couple of in-game tutorials to help you with the editor, but the community also stepped up here and you can find lots of guides from tips and tricks to ways to import your own game textures.
If I had played Escape Simulator when it released, it would have definitely 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 people interested in escape rooms. It would have received a perfect score if we didn’t run into so many bugs—and bugs that make you restart a room are frustrating for a number of reasons. Still, it’s a solidly fun game.
Escape Simulator is available now for PC via Steam.
A set of Steam keys was provided to us for this review.