Escape the Hellevator!

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 29th, 2014


Some of the older readers might remember a show called The Twilight Zone. This television show was all about reality going askew, with one aspect of normality being played in a different direction, resulting in some thought-provoking drama. Of course, there were equal parts cheese in the recipe for the program as well, which sometimes resulted in a half-baked thriller that was more amusing than anything else – but the show was always entertaining. Fezziwig Games’ Escape the Hellevator! reminds me a lot of The Twilight Zone on many levels. With an interesting premise (and a fair amount of it’s own kind of cheese), this iOS/Android title will probably keep you entertained – though at the moment that might not be for as long as you might like.

Escape the Hellevator! is the story of Clarence Ridgeway, a man on the brink of death who is being rushed to the Emergency Room to save his life. Along the way, Clarence and the nurse that is wheeling him to the ER are joined by a man who they believe to be a priest. However, after a few seconds of dialogue, it seems that there is more to the priest than meets the eye. They end up in an elevator that is seemingly falling into oblivion, with the priest forcing the struggling Clarence to relive his past and experience all of his prior sins (of which there are many).

Pretty awesome comic book style for the plot-forwarding scenes.

Escape the Hellevator! is a room escape adventure-puzzler in which you examine your surroundings and piece together the clues that will allow you to escape from the confines of the level. At the moment the game consists of five different rooms that you must solve. Each of these rooms reveals a different part of Clarence’s past – and belive me, Clarence has a lot to regret. The story is revealed through the actions of the main character, which you are in charge of.

The game is entirely touched-based, requiring you look around the in-game room (which is three-dimensional) by sliding your finger around the touch-screen. You can swipe horizontally to rotate your position and drag your finger about to look practically in any direction. Certain objects can be interacted with by tapping the screen, which zooms in to give you a closer look. Some objects are added to your inventory, where they can be examined using touch controls to allow you to see all sides of the item in question (though this one control mechanism feels a little awkward and not intuitive at all). In some cases, objects can be combined with each other, resulting in a new way to interact with the environment. Returning to the main exploratory screen is achieved with a “pinching” motion.

For those wondering about difficulty, the game presents a decent challenge. If you’re a seasoned puzzler, you’ll find it difficult enough to enjoy. For those who may not be experienced in the ways of puzzling or room escape, there is a hint button that dispenses clues without giving away the farm. Fezziwig has created a great balance with this game when it comes to skill level, so that anyone playing it will be able to make their way through and not feel inadequate. Plus, the story is pretty entertaining, giving everyone a compelling reason to play through the game.

Super-detailed 3D-rendered environments. Pretty slick!

The visuals for the game mix things up a bit, playing off each other to great effect. The levels are rendered in 3D, and are done in such a way as to appear to be the size of a large elevator car hurtling down to hell. Looking around the various rooms will reveal holes in the wall, windows and ceiling that give the impression of falling. The environment and objects are all quite detailed, and look like PC games from a few years ago (which is a compliment). The in-between story sections look like painted comic book panels. The emotions of each of the characters is quite clear due to the exaggerated expressions and the stylized lettering (which makes use of colour for emphasis).

Escape the Hellevator! is a well-produced room escape game with great graphics, an interesting story (with many tongue-in-cheek elements), and tight controls. Any exceptions (like controls for rotating objects) are quickly forgotten in the face of the overall experience. Currently there are a limited number of chapters (6), with indications that there are more coming soon. I really hope that Fezziwig follows through with this plan. Is the game worth the $2 (Free on Android with $2 unlock)? Given the production value and the great art design? I’d say yes. You can grab Esacape the Hellevator! on iTunes or on Google Play.

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