MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

Game: Samsara’s Room — this is a mobile game that wraps a story around an escape room-style puzzle game. It’s a part of Rusty Lake’s cube escape series.

Mechanics: The mechanics for this are very simple: clicking to move into different rooms, to zoom in/out, to store/use objects, and to interact with puzzles. So the only motion is clicking, although used in different ways, and there’s feedback through a slight vibration when clicking on clickable things. Also, at key moments, maybe after escaping part of the room, there are short animated sequences that continue the story.

Dynamic: The dynamic this creates is that you are fully immersed in the game, as there are no controls you have to remember. The clicking motion means you can (and probably will) try clicking on a lot of different things, especially near the beginning of the game, and the feedback means you will not waste time trying different ways to click on the same thing. Then, as the game progresses, you often use more logic (for example, you have matches in your items list, and here’s a stove that you can light) rather than clicking on everything.

Kind of fun: These mechanics and dynamics makes the fun fall in the sensation, narrative, and challenge categories.

Sensation — the ambiance, created by the consistent, slightly eerie art style and immersive music, creates sense-pleasure.

Narrative — the short animations, the art, and the objects/puzzles used to escape the room all fit into a larger story told through the entire Cube Escape series.

Challenge — the game is very much still an escape room, with hints and objects and puzzles, like an obstacle course you need to overcome to “escape.”


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