Intricate and often intimate, room escapes make up one of the most pleasing genres in modern videogames. They’re the very close sibling of the literary world’s locked room mysteries, and they serve a similar purpose – as a sub-category aimed at connoisseurs who are looking for something extremely focused and specific.
Monitor Post, which is currently doing the rounds of the free game blogs, is one of the most likeable that I’ve played in a while. It’s quick and elegant, and it’s not filled with red herrings or spurious logic. It’s also enormously good looking, with a sharp-edged illustrative style in the manner of the developer Ninja Motion’s previous games, such as Memory Projections.
The object of Monitor Post is to escape from the room you find yourself in by messing around with four computer monitors, each of which contains a puzzle that will help to unlock the door. It’s pretty easy stuff – the hardest part, in fact, is the very first step – but it’s a lovely way to jump-start your brain in the morning, and the pay-off, as with all room escape games, is extremely satisfying: freedom.
Room escapes often feel a little like sketches – places where designers quickly try out new techniques and concepts – and, despite the polished presentation, I suspect there’s a little of that at work here, too. Ninja Motion’s big idea is that the game has two separate endings: a ‘normal’ ending, which is very easy to reach, and another, which takes a lot more thought. It’s a promising approach to difficulty, and it helps to make an effortlessly straightforward adventure wonderfully infuriating at the same time.
You can discover the secret to the alternate ending on the internet in the space of a few seconds, but no matter how annoyed Monitor Post makes you, I urge you not to cheat. It’s very rare to find a puzzler that provides such an unusual end-game gimmick – and when you do come across one, you should really try to enjoy the process as much as you can.
As for a quick hint, the solution comes back to that old Sherlock Holmes adage – a quote that should probably be the shared motto for room escapers everywhere: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”