First Thoughts on The Nonary Games

So, while browsing about a week or so ago, I came across “The Nonary Games”, a combination of the first two Zero Escape games. I talked about the philosophical point raised by the second one last week. Here, I want to talk about the game itself and not so much about the deeper issues.

The game combines what is essentially a visual novel with a gameplay system where, essentially, you are doing a series of Escape Rooms, which puts it firmly in the video game genre of Escape the Room. Supposedly, the physical escape rooms were inspired by the video games, but I came to the genre the other way around, which is why when I saw this game I wanted to give it a try as a more accessible version of the physical escape room. At any rate, in both games you wake up trapped in a room by a mysterious, gas-masked character, and you have to both puzzle your way out of the room and puzzle out what is the motive behind your abduction. There are a number of endings — most of the bad — and for the first game, at least, if you get the right endings and make the right choices you might, eventually, get to the true ending where at least most of the secrets are revealed.

I tend to play all games on Easy, and this game is no exception. The first game is much better on Easy, as you seem to get hints pretty much when you need them, while the second game often gives you hints way too early. It also forces you to select it on each room, which is annoying. In both cases, on Easy there is still some challenge to the puzzles while making sure that you don’t get completely stuck on a puzzle for too long. This fits in better with the physical escape rooms that I’ve done, since there you can talk to everyone and everyone can get ideas, so it seems more co-operative. Still, even on Easy, there are times when it is all about you, and times where your companions don’t chime it at all. However, the better rooms in the first one do seem like a collaboration, especially one where one person gets locked in another room and you have to ask her to look for or do things as you try to get her out.

I’m not that fond of the convoluted ways you need to trigger certain events and give certain dialogue options to get different endings. I’d rather it just be path-based instead, and if a dialogue choice drives a difference in the path it happens right where the paths split. The first game, at least, lets you examine the “Flow” of the game (the flowchart of the various rooms and endings) and skip to the right area, thus relieving you of the necessity of clearing rooms you’ve already solved again, which helps.

I liked these two games so much that I went out and bought the third one from Amazon, and I hope to soon get the True Ending in the first and an ending that isn’t “To Be Continued” in the second. They give a good facsimile of the escape room experience while allowing for a stronger story — and one that plays out longer — behind it.

3 Responses to “First Thoughts on The Nonary Games”

  1. Thoughts on “Escape Room” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] brings me to “Escape Room”. As I at least hinted at when talking about “The Nonary Games” I really like escape rooms, even though I’ve only done a physical one twice. So seeing a […]

  2. Thoughts on “The Killing House” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] — there are strong hints of it being an afterlife — with a set-up similar to that of The Nonary Games, with both multiple if not infinite variations on the existing world and also different possible […]

  3. Thoughts on “Escape Room” (Take 2) | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] “The Nonary Games” did that really well, and I think is a model for how other movies could make it work. The escape […]

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