Escape from JIG, Jay Is Games review

I’m not sure if you remember this, but a few months back we asked you guys, “Hey, what are you doing in my kitchen at 3 am eating my Oreos?!!?” Oh wait, that was someone else. We asked you, our illustrious JayIsGames community, tell us what you want, what you really really want… in an escape game that is. And, oh boy, did you answer, all giddy and eager to be locked up again. Not that there was a unified consensus on what should be what, but some repeated refrains did stand out of the chorus. When Littleghost said, “Funny and weird are good,” while JustMe added, “a little creepy, a lot interesting,” a whole bunch of you (Gen, NohWoman, simplynigel, Friar, Shudog, and many others) echoed resoundingly: “Mateusz Skutnik!” You were heard. Escape from Jay Is Games is the result—fan fiction, made by the creator with the players in mind, containing all that wonderful Mateusz vibe, with embellishments from his popular series topping a slice of JayIsGames, and rendered into a single room escape.

Besides being treated to Mateusz Skutnik’s remarkable artwork, his user-friendly and well-tuned interface enhances the thoroughly immersive escaping experience. Click to interact with the environment, navigating the room by clicking the edges of the screen to change angles, dragging objects from the inventory to use on stage or clicking items to view in closer detail. The changing cursor highlights interactive zones to meet the no “wristing-breaking, mouse-mat-burning” pixel hunts criteria requested by rookwings along with the rest of the JIG community. That said, Mateusz’s high quality design makes distinguishing objects worthy of note quite apparent and every detail is so palpable, you’ll want to click everywhere anyhow. Likewise, many of you requested, as did awp81, “logical puzzles that are accessible to all.” Having a game than anyone can play and enjoy is indeed important, and Escape from Jay Is Games is an escape-the-room game in the truest sense, more on scale with Where Is 2014 in terms of difficulty and length. Conversely, if you hold high expectations of epic adventures with labyrinths of rooms, layers of secrets, and cranial-scratching riddles, you face a harder fall into disappointment. Your wish lists are not completely crossed off, yet fortunately that leaves rooms more for future creations and diverts loftier anticipation back toward the next Submachine and Daymare Town installments.

While there’s plenty for fans of those series to recognize, lots of souvenirs of mysteries and mythologies from episodes past, and maybe even winks toward future doings, this is a more humble endeavor in comparison. Although too much narrative would’ve made EFJIG less inclusive, narrowing the possibility of player interpretation, you might also sigh the lack of story beyond a scattered subtext. It’s best to go into it, despite all the ideas you’ve had simmering since the notion was first posed to you, clear of expectation. Then you can take in the unsettling-yet-beautifully surreal scene, heaped with atmosphere and red herrings, without urgency or strain. The art is as striking as ever, giving fans more of what we crave, and it’s remarkable how well some line drawings and color, given a bit of sound and interactivity, can evoke so much mood and enjoyment. Keep the volume on, take your time to explore, smile at allusions, soak in the environment—which Skutnik’s creative imagination leaves us so apt to do—and enjoy what is here. It is truly enjoyable while it lasts. Escape comes quicker than you’d hoped, as both the game’s length and the compelling immersion will likely leave you wanting more and reluctant to leave when the opportunity is given. Come to think of it, I’d better go now, and leave the heftier analysis to you. You know, before I end up like that guy on the bed.

Written by Elle.