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Cube Escape: Paradox review - "Another mystifying adventure from Rusty Lake"

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad
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A room escape attempt that's touched by madness

Product: Cube Escape: Paradox | Publisher: Rusty Lake | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
There's one fact about Cube Escape: Paradox that's, well, impossible to escape. It's much like all the other Cube Escape/Rusty Lake games.

Spooky atmosphere: check. Mysterious story that references a wider mythos: check. Creepy hand-drawn art style: check. Creative yet bizarre puzzles: checkity check.

Fans of the extended series wouldn't have it any other way, of course. Rusty Lake's brand of disquieting room escape mystery has its own distinctive flavour -but it's something of an acquired taste.

Feeling rusty

If you haven't encountered any of the Cube Escape or Rusty Lake game before, imagine The Room series, but with its intricate 3D environments flattened out and traced onto a series of panels so that it resembles an interactive comic book.

In Cube Escape: Paradox, you play the role of detective Dale Vandermeer, who finds himself trapped in a dusty room filled with a mixture of arcane and ostensibly mundane objects.

In true point-and-click adventure style, those various objects can be hoarded and combined with one another to solve fiendishly elaborate cause-and-effect puzzles.

As you progress through these puzzles, strange things will happen to your environment, and hints of a dark deed in the past will start to come to light.

On another plane

The problem with Rusty Lake games in the past has been that many of their puzzles are just too weird for their own good. Only the most twisted mind could follow the train of logic necessary to run through the game without a hefty dose of trial and error.

That problem remains here. At several points I found myself completely flummoxed and resorting to tapping and swiping various elements at random.

Which is a shame, because other puzzles here are smartly conceived and genuinely fun to solve.

There's a great map conundrum that has you plotting out a route by following landmarks, and a puzzle that sees you burning holes in a piece of card to pick out the letters of a key word on a passage of text.

Magical mystery tour

It's these positive light bulb moments, as well as Rusty Lake's effective use of mood and mystery, that keeps you playing through the more laborious stuff.

There's one notable new addition to Cube Escape: Paradox - a short film tie-in that can be viewed on YouTube.

It's well produced and matches the tone of the game surprisingly well, despite being live action. Indeed, sections of the shoot are effectively used within the game to add a further sense of atmosphere and dislocation.

All in all, Cube Escape: Paradox is another slice of moody mystery from Rusty Lake. Fans of previous entries will find it completely intoxicating, while those who can't find their way onto the developer's out-there wavelength will probably remain locked away from its charms.
Cube Escape: Paradox review - "Another mystifying adventure from Rusty Lake"
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 26 September 2018
Cube Escape: Paradox is another beguiling room-escape puzzler from Rusty Lake. It's compellingly atmospheric stuff, yet its puzzles are often frustratingly tangential.
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