This game was gifted, and the link is an affiliate, but the opinions are all mine baby!
I’m bossy and competitive, so of course escape rooms are my ideal way to spend an hour. I have wanted to go to one irl for ages, and finally got the chance a few weeks ago. We got out, of course (although with a fewwwww tiny hints…) and I’ve got the bug now. So when I got the chance to review Escape Room: The Game, a boardgames version of an escape room, I jumped at the chance.
I won’t lie, Steven and I don’t get a lot of time to do fun stuff together, but as this was technically work, we managed to carve out an evening, while the baby was in bed and try out the first game – it was a blast!
The way it works is that you are sent the Chrono Decoder, which is where you input the code/keys, as well as 3 sealed games (Prison Break, Virus and Nuclear Countdown – in order of difficulty!), with everything you need in them to play a full escape room game, from the comfort of your kitchen table, or in our case, the yellow rug on the floor in the living room.
One thing I did notice almost right away, is that the Chrono Decoder felt a little cheap. There are a few stickers stuck on (a little wonkily in one instance) and I expected a few more moving parts. However, when we started, I realised it was a little more useful than the glorified timer I originally thought it was – it also plays music (and sounds so you know when you can look at a hint), as well as having some codes on the side, and being the place you input the keys to see if you can break out. So although it does serve a few purposes, it doesn’t seem as well-made as the rest of the game.
We played the first game, Prison Break and considering we were just finding out feet with the whole concept, and there was only two of us (plus we had to run upstairs once or twice to settle a baby who did not care that we were playing a game and escaping!), we did pretty well! You get a main envelope with a storyline on the back which then contains various bits you need for the whole game, separated into 3 parts. As you solve each section, you are sent to the next one to carry on. It sounds complicated but it actually worked well.
The real saviour are the hint cards! They are encrypted so you can’t “accidentally” sneak a peek, and when the Chrono Decoder tells you it’s time for a hint (around every 10 minutes it seems) you slide it into the Hint Decoder and you can read the clue. If the clue is something you’ve already done, it can be frustrating but you know you’re on the right track and the right timing so that’s really handy.
Some of the clues were a lot easier than others, which was frustrating at the time, but is obviously important to the game. It felt challenging but not impossible and wasn’t too far off a normal escape room, but without having to move things around.
They keys have different shapes, numbers, and symbols on them, so there are a whole load of options. They need to be used for each game, so keep them nice and safe!
This is such a fun idea for a games night with a group of friends and I’m buzzing to play the other games, but I do have one gripe: each game is only really playable once, as once you’ve found out all the secrets, the game is over and would be hard to play again. This is a shame as it means that the game is null and void once you’ve played them all. We will probably gift it to our friends after playing them all, as long as we remember to put all the bits back in the right envelopes! Otherwise, I am hoping they offer expansion packs to carry on the fun.
The game retails at £29.99 which is great value for 3 games as this is roughly the price for one game in an irl escape room. The experience is definitely different, but I would recommend this as a fun way to scratch that itch of wanting to do an escape room. You can play with up to 5 players (it says 3-5 but Steven and I managed okay) and the recommended age is over 16, so it’s one for when the kids are in bed on Christmas Day. It’s really good fun and the pressure feels real which is part of the thrill. I’m already excited to beat the rest of the games with a whole group of friends – let’s hope our relationships can take the pressure!