Waking up, unaware of your identity or surroundings, is a trope that never gets old. If the intricate mystery fits into a perfect puzzle, solving the riddle can be a gratifying and, at times, terrifying experience. What if all the locked rooms and abstract clues lead to an answer one doesn't want to hear? Although Dying: Sinner Escape infuses its world with a suffocating feeling of existential dread, is this journey worth all that gloom and doom?

Your character awakens on a dusty bed, in the middle of a seemingly barren room. Disoriented and saddled with a headache, he's attempting to put a few clues together and eventually leave his current hellhole. Most of the title uses the touch and tap control mechanic, but certain items that you use to solve a puzzle requires a finger slide/swipe of your device.

The game is broken down into five episodes, with each installment featuring a separate room with its own distinct nightmare. In the first episode, I had to shake and place my iPad upside down for a couple of riddles, and it's a nice change of pace from the constant tapping which is needed to explore every nook and cranny of a room.

Dying: Sinner Escape's greatest asset, aside from its eerie storytelling aesthetic, is its cinematic style. Some of the best stories can simply be told by the moving image, and the juxtaposition of these pictures and sequences determines the effectiveness of a story's visual style. If effectively done, cinematic tools, such as the use of split screen, convey a certain feeling while also moving the story forward. In the following instance, I'm about to solve the first episode's most important puzzle.

What's a mystery without a few journal entries to further deepen the experience? Finding notes in your surroundings will be added to your own personal memo, and instead of having these notes filled with simple words, it also contains a few sketches to add a bit more dimension to this oft used feature. Although my current memo has its share of interesting phrases and notes, I prefer sadly drawn caricatures situated next to an even more depressing title. Moonbeams and rainbows just isn't my style.

Although it's $2.99 to download, you'll probably need to shell out a couple of extra bucks to buy a series of hints that can help you solve the various riddles. After spending over an hour stuck on a piano, I purchased a few hints which eventually helped me progress to the next step. Personally, I would have preferred a higher purchase price and received a ton of hints just to keep things nice and tidy. The idea of shelling out cash after you've already paid for the download still irks me, but that's probably just my own hang up.

Buying a few hints is actually not a bad deal, especially since Dying: Sinner Escape gives us interesting challenges to face. If your escape counted on this clue, could you solve it sans any hints??

One huge reason to check this title out is the episode breakdowns. There is a full meal within each environment, and you'll probably feel emotionally exhausted by the time you move onto the next chapter. Packing as much in with each installment gives gamers more bang for their buck, and if you want to spend at least a couple of hours on your device, Dying: Sinner Escape may be that perfect escape.

Dying: Sinner Escape may have a bleak outlook on humanity, but it's hard not to be drawn into its spellbinding environment. You may want to leave each room with a clear conscience, but no matter how many hints and clues are thrown your way, escaping may not be the best option. Some doors can be too scary to open.


App Store Link: Dying: Sinner Escape for iPhone & iPad | By Nekcom Co., Ltd. | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 167 MB | Rating: 9+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating