“Claustrophobium: In Four Steps From Death” Is a Clever Puzzle With a Steep Learning Curve
Ever wonder if your boss really cares about you? Claustrophobium: In Four Steps From Death is a puzzle game that proves how terrible life can be if he doesn’t. Most of us won’t literally die at our jobs, but we can nevertheless sympathize with the plight of our happy little worker whose life is interrupted by the demands of his snarling evil boss who kicks him into the warehouse. To make matters worse, every four moves and the walls shrink further, causing our claustrophobic little worker to panic…not to mention that the deeper you go, the more monsters there are.
The mechanics of Claustrophobium take a bit of time to master, but once you understand how to play, the game reveals itself as a ridiculously clever little thing. It’s unclear whether the walls are actually closing in or if it’s the worker’s claustrophobia kicking in, but either way, it’s game over if the teeth get to you. Are the monsters and spike traps real or are they products of your panic?
Despite my ponderings, Claustrophobium really isn’t all that cerebral. The character sprite is clean and shiny, sort of like what you might see in an emoticon, standing in contrast to the more standard grim pixel art. Weirdly appealing to look at and ridiculously difficult, Claustrophobium is a lesson in why you should probably just get another job.