I’ve just had the most pleasant evening playing Lost Sock Studio’s cozy escape room game, Escape From Mystwood Mansion, a breath of fresh air in the puzzle genre.
You’re a delivery driver who enters the foyer of Mystwood Mansion to deliver a parcel. To your surprise, the door locks behind you and a note on the table challenges you to solve the mansion’s puzzles to escape – oh, and don’t forget to deliver the parcel to the library!
Escape From Mystwood Mansion does a really good job of making you feel like you’re in an escape room. This is primarily due to the fact that you can pretty much pick up any object in each room – meaning that the first task of any level is to snatch up anything that isn’t nailed down to ensure there’s nothing hidden underneath it or on it. On top of this, you can also put objects down on most surfaces, enabling you to sort what you’ve picked up how you want – which is brilliant for staying organized while trying to work out the room’s puzzle.
What impressed me the most about Escape From Mystwood Mansion was the variety of puzzles and how challenging and creative they are. There is no way to solve these by luck alone and many of them are linked to one another, so you have to gradually make your way around the room, solving each puzzle in order to locate and unlock the exit. No puzzle is the same, meaning there was no point where I got bored or frustrated with having to solve the same puzzle – or type of puzzle – again.
The hint system is also flawless. It constantly updates as you move through the room and solve its puzzles, meaning hints will only be available for the puzzle you’re currently trying to solve. The hint system gives you full control over what you want to see – giving the player the freedom to decide whether they just want a small hint or whether they want the information spoon fed to them. Each puzzle usually has up to three hints to uncover and each one is progressively more detailed, going from just pointing you in the right direction to telling you where and how to find the items or information you need.
Not only does the hint system ensure that the player doesn’t get frustrated during their playthrough, but the vibes created by the graphics and soundtrack are immaculate. Escape From Mystwood Mansion has the perfect style for a cozy puzzle game. The graphics are bright and soft, and the music is subtle enough to not be too noticeable yet offers some soothing background noise to set the tone.
There are five levels in total to work through, which took me around four hours to complete. Although this was quite short, I wouldn’t say Escape From Mystwood Mansion is problematically short. For this type of game, its length offers a pleasant gaming experience which can be completed in one sitting and I really hope it’s extended with DLC in the future.
Up until the final level of the game, Escape From Mystwood Mansion was well on its way to a 9/10 review score and one of my favorite games of the year. But it has one flaw which really let the ending of the game down.
Escape From Mystwood Mansion‘s marketing material alludes to multiple endings, which I thought wouldn’t be so dire as they were. Remember that package the note tells you to take with you to the library? Don’t do what I did and take that as a joke. It’s an instruction on how to gain access to the final level and the true ending of the game. If you forget the package, then you have to go through the whole game again to unlock that level.
In my opinion, this was a massive oversight by the developers. No one enjoys your puzzle game enough to want to play the whole thing again straight away – especially me. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the doors in the mansion stay unlocked after you have opened them so you can simply backtrack and grab what you need or solve the puzzles you missed, but they don’t, forcing you to restart. This can also occur if you did remember to bring the package with you but maybe progressed into another room without it. You can’t return to grab it because the door locks behind you.
This was a massive shame as the bad taste this left in my mouth was enough to ruin the ending for me as I worked to speed run the game again to get the true ending. This only took around 45 minutes while the puzzle solutions were still fresh in my head, but was still thoroughly annoying.
Escape From Mystwood Mansion is a charming escape room puzzle game that offers a perfect, cosy atmosphere to snuggle up to and complete in one sitting. Its one oversight is the way it forces the player to play the game all over again if they forget to bring the package with them on their journey as this is a game that really didn’t need to have multiple endings.
Jess reviewed Escape From Mystwood Mansion on PC with a review code.