“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.” – Alexandre Dumas
Doors: Paradox is a relaxing puzzle escape game in which players must work their way through a series of 3D dioramas, finding clues and hidden objects and solving a plethora of fun conundrums! The Windows/Steam version of this game is an amalgamation of three mobile games that were released previously on iOS and Android where the first 8 levels of each chapter can be tried for free.
Developer: Big Loop Studios
Released: 4th November 2022
Available on: Steam
The game consists of 58 levels across three chapters (awakening, origins and paradox) with each level featuring a locked door that needs to be opened in order to progress. This requires finding hidden objects and clues and solving a vast range of enjoyable puzzles. Each level contains two different coloured gems and a note that must be found and collected. Finding all the gems will unlock the two final levels at the end of each chapter.
The gameplay feels pleasantly tactile using mouse-only controls on PC to drag and rotate objects. It is clear that the game was designed for mobile, however, with tutorial instructions advising the player to ‘swipe’ and a couple of puzzle mechanics feeling a bit cumbersome. Although some puzzles veer on the wrong side of easy, for the most part, the level of challenge is just right to provide a satisfying but relaxing experience. There is not much of a difficulty curve but there is enough variety to keep things fresh and entertaining despite the seeming similarity across the levels.
Narrative and Styling
Doors: Paradox has a loose and surreal narrative that is delivered through the series of notes that need to be found within each level. These are left by a mysterious cat that leads the player from each completed level and tells a story of order, chaos and finding oneself. This is a nice addition and adds an extra layer to the more traditional aspects of puzzle games.
The levels take place in a host of different dioramic settings, from a fairy tale to ancient ruins to a royal observatory and all are depicted in a beautiful 3D art style with bright, vibrant colours and moody lighting that really suits the narrative themes and gameplay. The menu music is a delightful mix of jaunty, mysterious and imposing and does a wonderful job of setting the scene for the rest of the experience. Individual levels have their own music and sound effects that fit the distinct scenes well, for example, there is a lot of metallic clanking and drums in the ‘gears and engines’ level. This really brings each diorama to life and is a wonderful addition to the game.
Overall, Doors: Paradox is a fantastic puzzle game that will keep players entertained without stressing them out! It offers satisfying conundrums, delightfully vibrant visuals and interesting narrative elements. It will take about 5-7 hours to complete (with achievements) and doesn’t offer much in the way of replay value but it does what it aims to very well and is easy to recommend to anyone looking for a calm but gratifying puzzle experience.
David’s review of the mobile version of these games is also available to read:
The Doors Games – Escape Beautiful and Colorful Worlds!