White House Escape

by iAdventureGame profile

Slice of life

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Minimal story and puzzles; interesting UI, February 15, 2009

"White House Escape" takes a totally implausible premise (that during an emergency lockdown at the White House, you'd be free to wander around until you found the red telephone to call out) and combines it with basic lock and key puzzles and a vast, mostly empty map. Prose is serviceable at best, with many passages that sound like guidebook parody. Many rooms do not allow interaction with any of their contents, even when it might seem that the scenery would be useful in some way. The stripped-down aesthetic is reminiscent of an amateur work from the 80s -- not a Scott Adams product, but something produced by one of his admirers.

That's not to say that the game is unambitious or careless; it's just that the designer's effort went into other things. The interface has been heavily customized for the iPhone. Room descriptions appear in text, but are kept to a couple of sentences to make for easy on-screen reading. Scrolling verb/noun menus replace a keyboard for input. The inventory is supplemented with images of the objects carried, and there are overhead map views of the White House to aid in navigation. It would look better with a little more attention to graphical design, as the maps are a bit on the garish side, but on the whole it is an interface deliberately tuned for its device.

Clearly some of the emptiness of the map is also dictated by the designer's wish to represent the White House as it really is: the layout appears to be extremely accurate. Nonetheless, the descriptions are too sparse to allow the piece serve as an engaging diorama or educational virtual tour of the building.

It's a pity that the effort and enthusiasm are not in service of a somewhat more compelling, playable game.

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iAdventureGame, March 18, 2009 (updated March 19, 2009) - Reply
(First and foremost, I want to thank Emily for her help in this and all future adventure games. She was terrific in sharing information about the art of adventure gaming in general. While this update will not live up to those standards, it is nonetheless much better for it and gives us a goal to shoot for in the future.)

We have listened to the feedback, and released an updated and expanded version of the game now available on the App Store.
New for White House Escape 2.0

-All rooms now have pictures (as only the items did previously).
-Gameplay is much longer, with more puzzles to solve and challenges to meet.
-Integrated persistent notes within the application - comes in handy for the new game play.
-New Game Start and Ending.
-Use screen now shows pictures of both items used.
-Many more items to use and explore.
-All around a much more robust adventure game experience (It does still take place in the White House Residence itself)
-And yes, it is a Free Update

Thanks Again,
Greg Chaffins
iAdventureGame, February 15, 2009 - Reply
That was a very good review, and I feel it hits exactly on what the game's current shortcomings are.

In the development of White House Escape we were focusing a lot on the mechanical engine in the task of bringing the classic adventures to the given platform (in this case the iPhone). Since its initial release we have had some great feedback from people like this review, and it has given us the valuable (priceless?) information that we need in order to make the games better.

While we have other games currently in development, we want to get this one right before going forward. For that reason, we are very close to releasing a version 2.0 to address the problems (with the game engine in place, we need to focus on the game itself, as well as to take into account that the game moves faster than it would with a keyboard).

(Another point to address in going forward is that a real location needs to have the rooms, etc. in order to make it realistic, but those loctions need to be incorporated into the story - unlike a fictional location where you can include only what you need for the story elements. In short, have the locations AND use them.)

While taking the time for the new (and free to paid customers) update of an existing game may not make the most sense from a business standpoint, iAdventureGame stands to be better situated in the long run by putting forth future efforts of a high quality. In my opinion that starts here.

I have been fond of saying that adventure game players tend to be some of the smartest people you can find, and this experience has only confirmed that. Thanks for this review, and we would love to have the feedback any of the readers would care to give. We sincerely listen to our customers, and I completely believe that our future success depends on it.

Have a Great Day,

Greg Chaffins


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