You awaken on board a mysterious spaceship, emerging from what seems to be a cryo-sleep chamber, you’ll need to work out who you are and what’s happened.
In this first room, there’s a few obvious puzzles, but you’ll need to start with a small box on the unit in front of you with a numerical lock on the side.
At this early point of d
Palindrome Syndrome, there’s zero hand-holding, no clues, you’ll just have to explore your surroundings for tips. With each successful puzzle unlocking a clue or a vital piece of another puzzle until you finally emerge from the room and hear a voice declare “at least your brain isn’t damaged”.
You move on towards the biolab, where there’s more puzzles to work through as you slowly piece together who you are, what you’re doing on the ship and why you’re alone.
After the biolaboratory, you’ll work through various rooms from the break room, office and then onto the tech lab and finally the infirmary.
As you progress through the game you’ll find a wide range of puzzles, which will provide ample challenge, I’m generally pretty good with this sort of game and always happy to resort to brute-force tactics if the puzzle or pattern isn’t obvious, and while I did brute a few puzzles, most where laid out in a way you’d be able to work out the answer as long as you’ve paid attention to your surroundings, found any relevant clues and at least used a little grey matter in trying to fathom out what to do.
One downside is, unlike most escape rooms, there’s no red herrings, you won’t be wasting your time looking at or collecting clues which prove useless, you’ll need everything you find, so it’s always worth scouting the current room to make sure you’ve got every clue you might need before tackling the puzzles.
Some tasks are locked until you’ve found the relevant piece, such as a slide from a sliding puzzle or test-tubes for another puzzle. While there are a few occasions I’d got ahead of myself, the critical puzzles that progress the game, can’t be “cheated” and will usually require you to complete the previous challenges first. As an extra reward for your puzzle solving skills you’ll unlock the full 1000 gamerscore merely for progression, so while you don’t “need” to search every clue, you’ll want to do that anyway for the benefit of solving the puzzles as some provide vital information to save spending a long time on some puzzles which would take a lifetime to brute-force.
My total playtime was 2 hours and 43 minutes, which I’d guess is about average, seasoned puzzle solvers might be able to work through it in a couple of hours while those less familiar with puzzles and escape rooms might take 3-4 hours.
Graphically it’s pretty impressive, there’s no technical issues at all, everything looks clear, detailed and well made, and while some of the sections do look a little familiar, we’re ultimately within the confines of a single spaceship, so naturally some elements are going to look similar. It all fits together well, and provides ample atmosphere.
Audio isn’t quite such a strong point. the very minimal voice acting isn’t the best, but alongside the clues you’ll come across, it does a good enough job of helping you understand exactly what’s happened and why you’ve awoken with no memory of what you’ve done.
In all I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Palindrome Syndrome and while I wish it’d had a little more meat on the bones, maybe some red herrings to throw you off the scent and a little more exploration between missions to help unravel the mystery of what’s happened, but as it is, it’s well worth checking out for a number of reasons.
Firstly the overall mixture of puzzles is great, most follow simple puzzle logic, but only 1 was really repeated (understandably so as well).
At around the 3 hour mark it is a little short, but for less than £8, (currently £6.39 at the time of writing) there’s just enough value and the ease of obtaining the full 1000 gamerscore will help others along the journey.
I’d avoid looking for any online guides unless you get really stuck, because the price is a little steep if all you want is 1000g, but if you’re looking for a fun, challenging and mostly high-quality puzzle game that’ll fill an evening, it’s well worth the asking price.
Palindrome Syndrome – Review
if you’re looking for a fun, challenging and mostly high-quality puzzle game that’ll fill an evening, it’s well worth the asking price.