Today’s Game I Beat In 2014 doesn’t have a 100% accurate title. Like much of the manual for The Magic of Scheherazade, the title is, I believe, technically correct English, while also being written in a way no native speaker would write such a title.
Released by an outfit called Games 2 Rule, Escape the Tied Girls is actually part of a subset of the “Escape the Room” genre of puzzle games. The difference here is that the room, while locked according to the intro, would be easy to escape…except that the characters you’re supposed to help are all bound and gagged inside the room.
While “Escape the Tied Girls” is, if a stretch, correct English, there are a few issues here. Ignoring that women regardless of age tend to get called “girls” much more often than men get called “boys”, there’s no tying involved here–the three women you’re trying to help escape are all hog-cuffed, for lack of a more concise term. A more accurate title would be “Help the Cuffed Women Escape”–as written, the title reads to me like you’re trying to get away from the women, which is not the case.
My issues with grammar aside, the game is a Flash game, and looks like it. Flash games, for the most part, have a distinctive, cartoony look to them, and this is no different.
Of course, the graphics aren’t the main reason you would play an Escape the Room-type game. To help the women escape, you point and click at various points in the room. Important stuff will either zoom in when you click it, or follow your cursor, at which point you can place it in your inventory or try to use it elsewhere. And at this point, I should state that this is the only game of this type I can remember completing offhand, so it’s possible that my complaints are just an accepted part of the genre.
First, a general complaint that I had about the game is that freeing the three women amounts to three separate sequences. That’s fine, but the sequences themselves are rigid. There’s at least one point where you have to use items in a certain, specific order, even when the order shouldn’t matter in concept. From a speedrunning perspective, one major annoyance is the fact that you can’t use information you gained in prior playthroughs in subsequent ones. Put another way, there are combinations in the game that never change. Even if you know the correct combinations, though, entering them won’t unlock anything until you actually get the combination in the game. Finally, I’ll grant that I don’t know much about handcuffs and their locks, but each key only unlocks one specific woman’s cuffs–and again, you have to unlock that woman in a specific order.
In terms of the challenge of the puzzles themselves, this is one of those “try everything” games. Freeing two of the three women isn’t too difficult, stringent enforcement of arbitary order of item use aside, but the third took me a bit. Once I did figure out the solution, I wondered how such a thing could possibly work, but my issue wasn’t so much “finding the solution” as “finding the item to kick it off in the first place”.
Being an Escape the Room game, this isn’t a very long game. Even with my issues, I think I spent about an hour trying to solve it, and once you know the three mini-sequences, beating the game in well under 5 minutes is trivial.
Still, Escape the Tied Girls is a fun, quick diversion. It’s also free, which is hard to argue against. You can play it here in any Flash-supported web browser.