Critical Play: Mysteries | Nox – Amy Lo


Nox is a mobile game created by Everbyte designed for audiences age 12+ who love click-and-point adventures and an escape room mystery.

Formal Elements


In the game, you play as a detective who is wandering around an empty mystery manor with mysterious rooms and objects. As the only player in the game, you learn about your role in the manor with an internal dialogue that shows up on the screen as you interact with the scene. You don’t know much about your identity as the player and have to use the environment to learn more about why you’re locked in the mansion through self-narration.


The key objective is to escape the room and outwit the puzzles that show up. Through the game, you use the rooms to discover new items and learn about their in-game significance. These objects and the environment are often used together to solve puzzles – for example, a painting on the wall may hint at a special unlock sequence, or an object in one room might be helpful for another.


An interesting mechanic of the game is the inventory of objects.

As the player, you can pick up items, keys, and clues to help you solve puzzles.

You also can combine items to use them, which allows for more inventive play and thinking. 

Additionally, an exciting mechanic of Nox is the ability to use the room itself. Unlike other mystery games on mobile, you can turn the entire room and view it in different orientations and angles.

This can create surprising effects, as objects you see in one orientation may not appear in another. This mechanic supports the mystery narrative. First, it makes it more difficult to find clues that heighten the suspense in the game. Second, the rooms themselves are important to the mystery narrative, often being used in the puzzles and players’ self-narration.

Thus, discovering more about the rooms will help the player learn more about the mystery behind the game. 


In Nox, you’re bound to the map and its rooms. As a player, you unlock rooms using keys obtained through puzzles or other methods. The more you unlock, the more rooms appear on your map.

The game creates this boundaries through the floor plan you use to travel between rooms as well as the location-based narrative that folds into the mystery. The more floors you unlock, the more difficult the rooms are to escape, and the more complex the narrative becomes. 

Type of fun

Nox is a challenge game that uses puzzles and the environment to create obstacles and problems for the player.

By the nature of its genre as an escape room game, it utilizes those challenges to build on each other to drive the game forward for the player to escape.

Additionally, Nox is also a narrative game. The mystery is a key part of the puzzle itself that is expertly folded into the gameplay.

By paying attention to the game’s self-narration, you can unlock clues about your identity as the main character in the game. 

Moments of particular success or epic fails

Particular Success

  • I love the mechanics of rotating a room to learn the clues. I think that this was really smooth and well-done by the game creators. 
  • It was really satisfying to finish the game. It took me about two or three days, which was really reasonable. You get a few free hints here and there, which I tried to avoid. 
  • I liked that you didn’t have to pay to play this game. While there are in-app purchases, most of the game is free and accessible without those purchases, which helped improve my user experience. 

Epic Fails

  • I have to admit! One of the puzzles was so tough that I turned to a walkthrough to try to solve it. But then I realized that the gameplay walkthrough wasn’t even finished, so others didn’t even know how to solve it! So I actually had to sit down and wander around for a few hours to try to figure it out. 
  • Some of the puzzles seemed a little arbitrary and finicky. It was sometimes guesswork to try to figure them out. For example, one of the puzzles is knocking down a vase from a stairwell to break it to get a secret item. This was unclear to me at certain points how much interaction you have with the environment. 
  • The ending sequence of this game’s narrative was interesting, but extremely confusing and out of place. Not to spoil it too much, but it has some reference to childhood trauma and abuse. While this is hinted at in some rooms, it was an abrupt shift in mood when the game ended. 

Things you would change to make the game better

  • I would make the puzzles more relevant to the player or easier so that players aren’t getting stuck. I felt that some of the puzzles really were not clear on how to unlock and could have been hinted at more through the narrative. 
  • I would make the connection between the ending and the gameplay stronger so that the ending sequence is more satisfying to the player and less abrupt. 
  • I would use the environment to insert more opportunities for narrative. For example, maybe letters or stories that are not helpful for puzzles but give context to certain rooms. 

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