Smile (your computer won’t)
Breaking news detectives: We have two new homicide cases in town. Everything seems to indicate that it was Smile. Don’t you know Smile …? Do you know what emojis are? This psychopath is characterized by crowding his disgusting acts with emojis. He even usually draws the faces of the corpses with emojis, memes or whatever the hell it is. Psychologists believe that it is a manifestation of his bipolarity. To hell with them, I only care about having that lunatic behind the bars.
Detectives, this is where you break up. Each of you will head to a crime scene and do their best to catch it. Stay alert… Smile is very cunning. He has already mocked several of our best agents. Apparently he likes to play with them. Get ready! You don’t want to be the next meme to go viral…
Smile was the second game that we have played by Sinapsis and it has the same ‘laptop-killing’ feel as their first game, Diabolic Escape. Diabolic Escape really gave the fans on our computer a workout but this time we were prepared for Smile and made sure our laptops were fully charged (and plugged in) before we got started.
The games by Sinapsis are designed to be played by at least two people, where each person enters a different ‘side’ of the game and as part of that you will need to communicate well to succeed. Although Smile is an escape game, thanks to the heavy graphics and how you interact with everything, it plays more like a video game.
So with our laptops charged and additional fans at the ready we clicked ‘go’ and entered our sides of the game, ready to see what Smile had in store…
If you’ve ever played video games on a PC/Laptop then you’ll probably be quite comfortable with the gameplay in Smile. It uses the traditional controls such as W, A, S, D for navigating around the game and clicking for interacting with them. We struggled a little with this as we both use macs (without an external Mouse), and have never really got on with W, A, S, D for controls. Eventually we did get used to the controls but it did take a while and there were some ongoing frustrations with working out how to interact with items in the game.
If you can get over the controls and the processor-killing graphics, then you should find a challenging game that will push you and your communication skills. When you start the game you will see that you are given a 90 minute in game timer, I’m not sure what happens if you go over that but I’d imagine it will let you continue until you complete it (or have had enough).
One player starts in what looks like a grand old house, while the other starts in what looks like some form of warehouse. Even though the two locations sound very different, they share similarities in their puzzles which you need to communicate between your team.
For me, one of the main puzzles was working out how to navigate around this game, second to that was working out what actually was a puzzle and what was just set dressing. To solve certain puzzles you will have everything you need in your ‘side’ but for others you will need information from your team-mates ‘side’ – the trick is knowing which is which.
Most of the puzzles rely on observation, communication, wordplay, maths, or logic (the usual really). In terms of difficulty I’d say this game was probably on the harder side and certainly felt harder than their other game.
We found the puzzles were solvable but some felt like they were a bit more of a stretch than others. One puzzle in particular we really just couldn’t see so had to check out the hint system to get us moving again. Saying that, there was one puzzle that I actually quite enjoyed and for me it was the highlight of the game, it involved communication and logic and the way it was solved was satisfying.
The clue system was divided into two sections, one for player one and then the other for player two. Each side was then further broken down into a granular system so you only needed to open the clues for the room you were in, and then for the puzzle you were on.
The clue system worked ok, but it would have been nice to see a little more detail and explanations behind the clues. If you did get really stuck the puzzle solution was in there too so you’d still be able to progress and complete the game. One word of advice, don’t go too far ahead on your side as you may find yourself waiting a while for your teammate to catch up.
This game further blurs the line between video games and escape rooms, probably swaying more to the former rather than the latter. If you want a laptop killing and challenging communication heavy game, then this one could be worth a try – plus it’s really rather cheap ($4 at time of writing).
- Computer /Laptop (probably powerful)
- Implements for note taking
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 65 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.