As we step into the second half of the Cube Escape series, the Rusty Lake world expands in depth now. A lot of the questions before are slowly falling into place with these next few games as The Woman, Dale Vandermeer and how Rusty Lake and its mysterious Mr. Owl and Mr. Crow all come together to create this time travel, fate changing sort of deal.
Cube Escape: The Mill
The sixth game of Cube Escape is set in The Mill which is starts off as one of the more complex games of the series. The Mill has multiple levels which open up through the main level where it all starts. It has the normal puzzles of point and click adventure with picking up items initially but also give little additional games like its memory game as well as some other formats. The Mill itself overlaps a section of the story that was shared before and this time is reflected also as the other side of the story, which gives it such a clever play at this point. At the same time, The Mill is the center of the link between Rusty Lake and how it works and something of the operation between Mr. Owl and Mr. Crow and how they use their victims and their memories and such, giving a deeper glimpse of this own Rusty Lake world.
Cube Escape: The Mill is a nice addition in terms of story as it gives a much clearer look at how water is processed through the mill into Rusty Lake and how this lady that we’ve seen and investigated the death of up to this point called The Woman (from the beginning few games) plays into the story. However, the games itself sometimes take a stretch of imagination and also the memory game is a bit hard (for those with limited memory like myself) which turned out to be slightly tedious and frustrating. However, all the elements are well laid out and just takes a little connecting the dots and perseverance to put it all together. What’s a game without a little challenge, right?
Cube Escape: Birthday
What we could only assume is that the elevator that take Dale Vandermeer in Case 23 is what leads to these various memory points where he goes back to change the course of events. The first stop is at Birthday which is his 9th birthday (if I remember correctly) and things go way bad and he gets the opportunity to rewind it and change the outcome. Birthday is a solid entry with a pretty decent twist. The puzzles itself are a little crazy at times but its all about noticing the details and knowing where to find the pieces back when they are needed (something that I’m not too good at). Birthday also marks a little more interaction with actual other characters who do direct the clues and what needs to be solved to unlock another part of the escape.
Cube Escape: Theatre
Cube Escape: Theatre keeps on with the whole down memory lane as it changes to another year in the life of Dale Vandermeer. Theatre has a lot of depth as it takes place at a bar with a stage for the whole program. There are puzzles around the entire room but the big piece of the puzzle is in finding the pieces to complete the entire program of the performing show with a lot of the familiar faces played by the actor. It has a lot of little fun bits from connecting pipes to make certain things happen to balancing out different items to the same weight or even mixing drinks to get more clues. There is a lot of detail and yet so much intrigue bits. Its actually much more grounded in the last few games as the NPCs are interactable and give a direction to what needs to be done next. It might feel a bit like hand-holding for some but with the depth and complexity of some of these puzzles and where to even find the objects to combine together, it sometimes feels rather necessary. Cube Escape: Theatre is a very complete experience of point and click and room escape meshed together and adds some depth to the whole Rusty Lake world as a lot of past elements are thrown in here.
Cube Escape: The Cave
Cube Escape: The Cave is definitely one of the longer games in the entire series. It has two different parts in the whole game. It starts off in the cave where we solve a series of puzzles in a multi-layer 4 part (ish). There are multiple components that link to the story of the premium game, Rusty Lake Roots a little. After this area, it goes deeper into the cave to this underground mechanical room of sorts where there is a multi-layer puzzle which is about 4 parts or so to solve through. There are some tedious puzzles and others where its a point and click style similar to the previous games. The Cave is a fairly complete experience and one of the more fleshed out ones but does take a little stretch of imagination at times to link the clues together. There’s a great effort to link the pieces of the story of both the characters of Rusty Lake story so far (especially since we finally know the name of The Woman) as well as the premium games.
Cube Escape: Paradox
And we are at the last game (unless more get released) of Cube Escape series, although it does feel like a somewhat wrapped up version. Cube Escape: Paradox is separated in 2 chapters. The first is available for free and the second is a DLC purchase (or in-game purchase if you are on mobile). A little side info that I had backed the Kickstarter project so I got the game that way. On top of the two games, there is also a short film paired with it that you can watch HERE.
Paradox is a much more complex and deeper version than any of its previous games. It links to a lot of the elements that had been seen in the previous games and brings the characters together. One of the main reasons is that there are other premium games that help add to the story with Rusty Lake Hotel, Rusty Lake Roots and Rusty Lake Paradise all happening during these last 5 games which add a lot of depth to the world and link everything together. Its not necessary to play them but it does help to perhaps piece it better together. Review for those will be coming up.
With that said, Paradox at times is a bit far-fetched and a little too complex. Some puzzles once figured out are also a tad repetitive. Its a very odd feeling that there is a lot of mystery wrapped up both Chapter 1 and 2. The first being much more fleshed out as the story leads us to why Chapter 2 is a very similar room escape scenario but with some modifications to further sink the character that is trying to escape, Detective Dale Vandermeer further into confusion. While the puzzles here is more on the complicated side, the story does put itself together really well. There’s a lot to appreciate in something more fleshed out. In comparison to the games, the movie is an absolute treat that reenacts the game and gives it some more live action depth.
That’s it for the Cube Escape games (unless more gets released)!
Have you played any of the Cube Escape games? If so, share your thoughts on it in the comments below!
As I keep going through the rest of the Rusty Lake games, more reviews coming up!