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Doors: Paradox – Review

I have been loving the slow drip feed of escape room puzzle games over the last few years. Doors: Paradox takes the idea of an escape room and translates it into unlocking doors in 3D dioramas. You can spin them, zoom in and out and interact with lots of tiny and often interconnected puzzles to unlock the door in the centre of them. It is a fantastic distillation of the escape room concept and a game that I couldn’t get enough of.

Each door looks beautiful and stylised – and the puzzles play right into the theme of each level.

Over 60 doors are included for you to open and they all have unique visual designs from barns to steampunk to horror to ancient tombs and ethereal trippy dreams. Each one looks beautiful and contains a scroll for some story context and two hidden gems to find. Poke and prod everything is my tip here as if it looks like it could move, it likely does. However, its the ease of which you pick up cues for puzzles which makes Doors: Paradox so appealing, inviting and engrossing to play. Symbols on one part may need to be rotated into a pattern elsewhere, releasing a jug to fill with water that then triggers a booby trap to knock a wall over and give you a key to a chest… for more things to do. Puzzles are petite but all interlink to give the player a constant trickle of dopamine for solving something and moving on. A door can take 3 minutes to clear if clicks with you perfectly but most will be around 8-10 minutes because part of the game plan is to explore everything and work out what needs doing next.

Each level is rotatable, zoomable and it pays to look everywhere for collectables and story scrolls.

I was slightly worried after the first few levels that Doors: Paradox might run out of steam as the early levels seemed to be quite varied and/or were rethemed in such a way it didn’t feel repetitive. Delightfully this level of diversity in theming means the game has true staying power. You’ll get syphons, circuit connectors, sliders, colour matching, light, mirror and code puzzles as standard but then each door will usually have a few very unique elements that make each door stand out. Load and fire a cannon to blast a guard out the way, move a marble through a pyramid maze, twist gravity like Alice in Wonderland – there’s just so much and it works charmingly with the doors theme too. Whilst the puzzles are rarely absolutely hardcore, there is a hint system to point you in the right direction if you need it and a skip puzzle option if you are stuck solving a mini-puzzle in a level too. You’ll also have an inventory to pick up objects and then drop them into slots, keyholes or use the item in some way. This largely works perfectly. My only minor niggle was that occasionally I just didn’t spot a lever could be moved and sometimes latches to open boxes seemed to not work first time around. It was very rare though.

The variety of puzzles keeps you engaged, seeing what’s coming next is part of the games’ appeal.

Doors: Paradox is a puzzle game that had me engrossed and enthralled. Each puzzle looked and felt unique and there is a hint of a dramatic story drip fed to you over the game which you can dip in or out of to suit your tastes. This is the perfect “I’ve got 15 minutes” puzzle game because you’ll be able to clear one or two doors, nothing carries over or is lost and you can dip out again. However, if you want that extended gaming session, you might find yourself like I was, glued to my screen feeling very pleased with myself solving a trail of puzzles leading to a cat running through the paradox to the next door. I couldn’t help but follow it and I’m sure many of you will feel the same. Superb.

Doors: Paradox is out now on Steam.

Doors: Paradox
Final Thoughts
One of my favourite puzzle games I've played in the last 5 years. Doors: Paradox is addictive and rewarding without being overly taxing either.
Every level looks, feels, sounds and plays uniquely.
All the mini-puzzles give you tiny dopamine hits for rewarding your skill, keeping you ever moving forward.
Puzzle variety is strong.
You can play any level, in any order you want so if you get stuck somewhere, you can try something else!
Easy controls and optional hint system helps players out.
Sometimes open chests and boxes doesn't seem to work the first time.

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