Blue Prince is an escape room roguelike of mystery

Raw Fury and Dogubomb welcome players to a mysterious manor where the layout is never the same from day-to-day.

Raw Fury

Over the last several years, it's been amazing to look at the progression of the roguelike and see how many other gaming genres it has helped enhance. Now imagine taking roguelike principles and applying them to a nonviolent puzzle game. It's hard to picture this concept working, but Raw Fury and developer Dogubomb have put together something relaxing, fascinating, and intriguing with the upcoming Blue Prince. Shacknews recently traveled to this year's Game Developers Conference and took a first look.

The story of Blue Prince involves the death of a rich tycoon, one who never married and bore no children. He wants to leave his vast fortune to his grandnephew and he's willing to do so on one condition. The key to the fortune sits in his Mt. Holly manor's Antechamber, located in Room 46... of a 45-room mansion. As one might imagine from this setup, this is a mansion of mystery, where answers only come through exploration, one day at a time.

The drafting pool in Blue Prince

Source: Raw Fury

The best way to describe Blue Prince is that it mixes the best parts of escape rooms with several roguelike ideas. Players will not be aware of Mt. Holly's layout upon entering. As they go from room to room, they'll draft out of an available pool of floor plans. They must make the selection that will best help them find Room 46, whether it's by making the most of a room's contents or by selecting a room with multiple doors. Every room has its advantages and drawbacks. For example, a Kitchen can sometimes contain coins while a closet can offer some resources, such as keys for locked doors, but lead to a dead end.

What makes Blue Prince so intriguing is its core rule: Each player will get 50 steps per day to explore the manor. Entering a room will consume one step and that does include backtracking, which means players must chart their path carefully. Drafting, as noted, is the key to making progress. It sounds easy on the surface, but if all steps all used up, players must then call it a day. The will stipulates that the prospective heir is not allowed to stay overnight, so when players leave and return to Mt. Holly the next day, the floor plan will be totally wiped. That means players will have to start the drafting process all over again.

Searching for clues with a magnifying glass in Blue Prince

Source: Raw Fury

To make more permanent progress, players must pay attention to any clues they find inside the rooms they draft. Nearly every room will have a clue of some sort that unlocks something inside or will help with a puzzle in a different area. This can be a visual puzzle, a mathematical equation, or a lateral-thinking puzzle. The manor's interior may also contain tools, like shovels, to help further explore the house's various rooms.

It's important to note that the will states that the layout of the house will change, but that does not apply to the manor's exterior. Yes, there's an entire outside area to explore and this is where players will uncover more permanent upgrades, which can include extra resources like additional steps. The last thing to point out is that in my brief time with the game, I was able to reach the Antechamber that would lead to Room 46... sort of. My findings here instead led to even more questions, which I doubt I'll find the answers to until the full game releases.

If you're a puzzle fanatic, Blue Prince is a game to watch. Between exploring rooms, staying conscious of the house's floor plan, and keeping track of clues that progress from day to day, this is the type of game that encourages the usage of pen and paper to plan ahead. Ok, you can use screenshots if you're some sort of heathen. "Unique" is a word that can be overused in this line of work, but Blue Prince feels like a genuinely unique puzzle game and I'm excited to see more of it. It's coming soon to PC. We checked out several other games in the past week, so be sure to check out the GDC 2024 topic page for more previews like this one.

This preview is based on an early PC version played during a private meeting with the publisher. The final product is subject to change.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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