Clever isn’t always good
A friend brought me to a performance at an Ivy League music conservatory. The performers were all masters students, and among the finest classically trained musicians in the world. What they proceeded to play was a rhythmic nightmare devoid of melody. It sounded abysmal to my untrained ear.
From a music theory and technical performance perspective, their playing was brilliant (or so I was told)… But it wasn’t even remotely enjoyable to listen to.
Fun vs. Clever
Things that are clever are not necessarily fun.
Things that are fun are not necessarily clever.
There’s plenty of pop music that isn’t even remotely clever, but it’s reasonably fun to listen to.
Room escapes must be fun
One of the big challenges of a room escape is that they can only be done once. If a person has a bad time in the room, that’s it.
There’s no extra playthrough. Room escape puzzles will never be that song that you listened to six or seven times before you realize how brilliant it is.
One chance is all you get to challenge, enthrall, mystify, bewilder, and entertain your players.
All of the most unique and clever puzzle mechanics are useless if they aren’t wrapped in a fun game.
Win or lose, a puzzle that isn’t fun is a failure.