It’s no secret that escape games are hugely popular with VR developers. Whether the same can be said for the rest of the VR community is largely unknown. Either way, I’m going to keep trying out and writing about escape games until I’m finally so adept at escaping rooms that I can do it in my sleep.
The latest escape game from Sourcenity GmbH, who made their VR debut with Escape!VR – The Basement, is called Escape!VR – Above the Clouds. In a complete turnaround from their previous underground adventure, Escape!VR – Above the Clouds takes you to a penthouse in a mile-high building. Guess the term ‘mile-high club’ just got a little broader.
Escape!VR – Above the Clouds is now available on Steam for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality at a $11.99 price tag. There’s also a bundle sale going where you can get both Escape! Titles for $18.88. I tried the game using a Vive and it didn’t disappoint. Escape!VR – Above the Clouds mixes clean, polished visuals with simple but logical puzzles to make for a predictable, but still fun escape experience.
Check out the trailer below:
When I first opened my eyes, I found myself in the walk-in closet of the Penthouse. A quick text message on a nearby mobile phone told me that I have to get out quickly. I didn’t really understand what the rush was or why I’m stuck in here, but I quickly started searching through the purses, boxes, and shoes for a key. Until I realized that the door handle was on the outside and there was no keyhole. Then I looked at a nearby wire hanger and it clicked. The door latch I mean.
I won’t go into too much detail on the puzzles in Escape!VR – Above the Clouds since they are its main selling point after all and giving too much away would just defeat the point. However, using a wire hanger to push up the handle of the closet door is a perfect example of the types of puzzles you can expect in this game.
A certain mix of ingenuity and logical thinking is all you need to progress in the game, though it also has a hint system for those unavoidable times when you get a little stuck. What I liked about the hinting system though, is that it does actually just give you a carefully worded hint instead of outright telling you what you’re supposed to do. Which is what a ‘hint’ is supposed to do in my opinion.
Taking A Walk On The Clouds
So even though there’s no spoon feeding in the game, it wasn’t that much of a challenge either. Some parts were much more challenging than others of course, but I always felt like I kept progressing through the challenges at a steady pace. Sure, there were a couple of frustrating moments, but these were much less prevalent than they usually are when I’m playing a puzzle/escape VR game. So either the devs at Sourcenity GmbH are really good at designing puzzles that people can understand and interact with in a meaningful way, or my grasp of puzzle games has finally evolved to such a level that I can breeze through them faster than usual.
Then I also need to mention the visuals in Escape!VR – Above the Clouds of course, which is nothing short of spectacular. While minimalistic, the visual fidelity in this game is of a very high quality – which makes sense in a way since the environment plays such a strong role in the gameplay. I can’t really say the same for the audio quality, though, which wasn’t bad for the most part. But some of the audio, especially the verbal cues from the character I played, was downright hilarious. Honestly, though, the only major complaint that I have with this game is that it felt a little short. On the other hand, no one wants to be stuck in an abandoned building that’s still under construction for hours on end. Not even in VR.
In the end, whether this game appeals to you or not will fall upon your preferences. If you’re looking for a fun escape the room game then this is one of the best ones around. But if you’re more into action-orientated games then you might want to keep looking.