Panic Room: Masked

By Alec Meer on February 7th, 2012 at 4:51 pm.

I don't get it, why's it called Masked?

Mr Lewis Denby, he of Beefjack, occasional RPS postings and, well, all manner of gaming publications the land over, has made a game. It’s called Masked, it’s a room escape game, but it treads where that odd, deathless genre usually fears to – the realm of emotion. “You’re trapped in a room, for goodness’ sake.” he observes. “That must be one of the most emotional scenarios it’s possible to be in!”

Made in AGS, it constitutes a few haunting point’n'click minutes, it’s a creepy mystery with an all-knowing, all-seeing narrator in the SHODAN/GlaDOS vein (but a rather more human connection to to the player character) and, aside from a couple of stylistic wobbles, it’s a confident first effort from Sir Denby. Grab it here.

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28 Comments »

  1. huw says:

    Oohh, my partner just started playing escape-the-room games with our six-year-old daughter. Is this one suitable for kids? I’d guess not based on that screenshot, but you never know.

  2. huw says:

    Alright, thanks chaps.

    Edit: Gah! That was in reply to Lewie and Mike.

  3. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Download isn’t working for me, apparently. It slows to a crawl trying to load the page (or file?) then gets stuck forever in the page. The download never starts.

    I’m anxious already!

    Also, it’s not Lewis’s first try at game making. He also made Nestlings, I think, which I’m certain I played but also very certain I don’t remember a thing :(

  4. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Also, AGS man. It’s the game engine I’ve had the longest on my HD and the one I’m always trying to get a hang of but never do.

  5. Cooper says:

    Played it last night. I love little bite sized things like this.

    To be honest, the verbose descriptions were at first off-putting. But the dialogue really carried it off in the end. Excellent little piece that does something genuinely interesting with probably the second dullest game genre in existence.

    So, a missing object game next?

  6. Tom OBedlam says:

    Second effort innit?

  7. Bluerps says:

    Huh. I’ll definitely try that, but if that masked person asks me if I want to play a game (which probably involves me having to cut off someones leg), I’ll quit immediately.

  8. CaLe says:

    The monologue seemed more like something someone would type rather than say. Not a very interesting ending either.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Which monologue are you talking about, specifically?

      Also that’s an interesting observation. Obviously all of it is typed, not said, but if it’s dialogue it should read like dialogue. The issue is that dialogue reads differently whether it’s literally read on page, or acted out. Things that sound good in a novel, wouldn’t sound good acted, and vice-verse. You’ve got to write for the format it’s going to be presented it.

      What then to make of something like an unvoiced adventure game? Is having a character on screen “say” the dialogue, even if you’re still reading it, enough to require a more screenplay approach? Or because you’re still reading it, should it remain more literary? Interesting questions.

  9. Neeko says:

    Glad to see you’re still making games Lewis, congrats!

    -Nick, formerly of the Neptune team ;)

  10. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    AAAAAAH what is up with RPS eating away my comments? :’(

  11. Hodge says:

    Very nicely done, and creative use of the AGS engine, too. I take it there’s just the one ending?

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Yeah. I toyed with the idea of multiple, but given that the only meaningful choice would have had to be at the very end, it would have felt forced.

    • TLGAthena says:

      Ish. I suppose the choice would be to use it on her or use it on self. Though ultimately I suppose the ending would have been more or less the same with everything going dark. Could have set up for a big NOOOOO though.

      And yes, that actually was kinda creepy, and put a more human face to such a game, the writing was excellent.

    • wshana says:

      Enjoyed this like a Haiku. I did wonder if I could shoot myself, or possibly (third option) waste the ammo and be left in limbo. Maybe I would have deserved it.

  12. Pie says:

    He also made Nestlings, brilliant!

  13. LTK says:

    I don’t seem to have any sound.

  14. TinKelp says:

    I opened the grate on the floor, dropped a coin in the slot on the wall and I discovered that I can’t save my game.

    Now what?

    • Lewis Denby says:

      That is interesting. I didn’t put a save feature in because the average time testers took was just under 10 minutes. Didn’t cross my mind that anyone would want to not play it through in a single sitting, but then it also obviously wasn’t my intention that people would get stuck. :-)

      The few people who have got stuck have generally done so because they’ve not removed a thing from one of the walls, which is possible. Been interesting to spot this common theme – very useful too. Hope that helps!

    • TinKelp says:

      I actually managed to pass that part before reading your reply. It was in a fit of madness by clicking wildly while jerking my mouse all over the screen instead of methodical observation and puzzle solving but I did move on.

      I can see a lot of people getting stuck with this part. You requiring people to click on a small part of a larger clickable area. Most people will hit the bigger bit, see that nothing happens and move on.

      While I can see now why you wouldn’t include a save feature given how short this is it still would have been useful. Here’s how my experience broke down.

      Stared game
      Sat through the intro
      Interacted with some things
      Clicked the save button and quit for a break
      Started game
      Sat through the unskippable intro
      Failed to load the game
      Quit game
      Restarted game with admin privileges
      Sat through the long, unskippable intro
      Retraced steps, saved, quit
      Restarted game
      Sat though the long, unskippable into that has worn out its welcome
      Failed to load game
      Asked internet for help

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Wait, I left a Save button in there? Oh dear. I did not mean to do that. >.<

  15. nblake42 says:

    Really enjoyed that! Nice to see a story attached to the genre really works. I just wish the whole thing was longer and more involved! Different rooms revealing different parts of the backstory, maybe a tour through an old house they used to live in, or something like that…

  16. Toodlepip says:

    Oooh, I wore that exact mask to a staff party recently!

    http://t.co/Iv0p7pA

  17. the_p says:

    Another vote for ‘got stuck at the same part everyone else got stuck’. It’s not clear it’s an object, and ‘examining’ the bars gives nothing away. I too progressed by clicking on *everything* and clicking on it by chance.

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