escape.exe – The Butterfly Effect [Hivemind Review]

The Butterfly Effect is a point-and-click game created by escape.exe.

An elaborate hall with an invite letter labeled, "You have accepted our invitation."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on-demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen & paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: unlimited, plan on 1.5-2 hours

Price: $10

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are trapped in an art gallery that consists of several rows of paintings. You navigate the gallery using a set of directional buttons, which takes you from painting to painting or from row to row. You can click an “interact” button to interact with some paintings and other objects. When you find clues, you must figure out where and how to enter the information. If you are correct, you trigger various changes in the environment.

You need to play this in one session since it does not save progress. Also, there is no hint system. If you are stuck, you are stuck.

An art gallery like space with installations on walls throughout.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This is point-and-click escape room-style video game. It had some very good graphics and some very challenging puzzles. Some of the challenge was a little bit forced as at times it was hard to tell what to do with answers to certain puzzles. I stopped and restarted the game a couple times as one puzzle was holding me back, but it finally resolved itself. I did not find and do not believe there is a hint system. While most of the game is linear, there are a couple of twists to that, which may leave the player wondering which puzzles fit where. For games of this style, the construction was excellent. The only complaint relates to the inability to freely move from place to place, and that was still ok once I got used to the movement system. Certainly a challenge and better than most of the point-and-click games I have seen, but I hesitate to recommend it fully without some kind of hint system to make sure everyone gets to see the full game.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Butterfly Effect is a browser-based point-and-click game that includes fairly standard escape room-style puzzles and tropes (yes, there is a blacklight). You are tasked with wandering around an art gallery, interacting with the art to solve puzzles. The story is sparse – no introductory story that I’m aware of, and some exposition at the end that was not impactful because I had nothing to connect it to.

The game is linear and the clues you find along the way helpfully indicate that. With no hint system at all, I was glad for linear progression. I wasn’t always certain when I was fully done with an in-game clue card, which caused some frustration until I backtracked and ensured each card was 100% completed. One “puzzle” in particular was a choke point until I tried something that I still don’t think should have worked, but did. But for the most part the puzzles were straightforward and enjoyable.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

I had such high hopes for this game based on the company’s description at the bottom of the website: “Every experience has multiple endings, multiple decisions, and multiple consequences.” That sounded super-interesting in general and super-relevant to a game called “Butterfly Effect.” Sadly, this game was so light on narrative (escape the art gallery?) that I didn’t perceive any decision points at all, and the ending was so inscrutable that it was impossible to understand if and how our actions affected anything. Instead, the game was a series of 5-6 disconnected puzzles that required us to repeatedly cycle through a couple dozen paintings searching for clues to unscramble. It was never clear why we were doing what we were doing, so there was no way to validate the reasonableness of our answers. There was also no hint system, so I wondered multiple times whether we would just have to give up when we were stuck. For that reason, it did feel like a genuine accomplishment and relief when we escaped, but not the kind that I would recommend to someone else.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Butterfly Effect is a point-and-click game set in a gallery with interesting artwork displayed around the room. Your objective is to simply leave by collecting clues and interacting with items around you. What started out as curiosity as I explored the unique space quickly turned to frustration as I became stuck with no idea what to do next. With only vague directions and no hint system, I had no choice but to quit the game and come back to it later. The game doesn’t save progress, so that meant retracing my steps to get to the same point. The movement was limited and a bit tedious as getting to a desired location often meant going the long way around. Once I got past the stuck point, the rest of the puzzles were much more intuitive, and there were even some cool effects along the way. A simple hint guide as well as a storyline would go a long way towards enhancing the player experience.

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