Escape the Room
Escape the room, also known as room escape or escape game, is a subgenre of point-and-click adventure game which requires a player to escape from imprisonment by exploiting their surroundings. The room usually consists of a locked door, objects to manipulate, and hidden clues or secret compartments. The player must use the objects to interact with other items in the room to reveal a way to escape. Escape the room games bore out of freeware browser games created in Adobe Flash, but have since become most popular as mobile games for iOS, and Android. Some examples include "Crimson Room", "Viridian Room", "MOTAS", and "Droom". The popularity of these online games has led to the development of real-life escape rooms all around the world.
Elements of escape the room games can be found in other adventure games, such as such as Myst and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, where a complete puzzle is solved by evaluating the elements within a single room. Games like The Room may also present virtual puzzle boxes that are solved in a similar manner to escape games, by finding out how to open the puzzle box using visual clues on the box and around the environment.
Most escape-the-room games play from a first-person perspective, where the player must click on objects to interact with them. Most room escape games offer only token plots, usually a short cut scene consisting only of text to establish how the player got there, and sometimes another when the game is finished. Room escapes usually have a minimalistic interface, ambient soundtrack, and no non-player characters; these elements can enhance the gamer's sense of isolation.
During gameplay the player must click on objects to either interact with them or add them to their inventory. As the player passes the mouse over the game screen, usually the mouse cursor will change shape (e.g. to a hand or different kind of arrow) if the item under the cursor can be used, opened, manipulated, collected, searched or (if an exit) followed, but some games do not provide such hints to the player. If the object cannot be collected, opened, used or manipulated, the player is usually assumed to be inspecting it; in most cases, the player will see a brief text description. The player must collect items and use them with various objects (or other items in the inventory) to find a way to get out of the room. Some games require the player to solve several rooms in succession. Some require significant amounts of pixel hunting (tedious searching for a small clickable area), which can frustrate players. For example, when reviewing the PSP game "Crimson Room Reverse" (a collection of room escape games that were originally free online flash games), critic Brad Gallaway said, "Key items are often hidden behind other items, and the player has no way of knowing these areas exist or that it's possible to search there unless the cursor falls in a very specific location, sometimes a "hot spot" as small as a few pixels."
Escape-the-room games sit well within the sphere of problem solving games, and it is these types of games that can provide a myriad of cognitive benefits. These may include, but are not limited to: memory improvement, enhanced mood, decreased stress levels, an IQ boost, and improved productivity and attention to detail. They have also been used in the field of mental health on Alzheimer's patients to reduce brain cell damage and strengthen brain cell connections.