Dinosaurs + Puzzles = Winning!
You are an apprentice palaeontologist based in Kent, working on a top secret project. Extinction Island is a man-made island, near to Mongolia, created especially to breed dinosaurs using old fossilised bones and a whole lot of science!
One day, you wake up to a frantic video message from your mentor, Professor McDougall, who lives and works on-site at Extinction Island. The Dinosaurs have broken loose! He’s the only survivor and he needs you to access secret information, discover his co-ordinates and send help before its too late!
Play at home escape games are all the rage at the moment (unsurprisingly), and ClueCracker are one of the most recent UK companies to join the rest of the cool kids with their own web-based offering. Gord and I loved our last visit to ClueCracker, and had been excited for a possible trip to Tunbridge Wells sometime in April to take on their new room. With that option no longer on the table, after we saw the announcements for a play at home game, we were all too excited to give Extinction Island a try, in the hopes that it would keep our spirits up. Plus, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?
If you want to play in separate locations, Escape from Extinction Island is an excellent option, with two ways to play. The first would be to play the way that we generally do with our extended team: purchase one copy of the game and play together using a video conferencing software (like Zoom) that would allow the user with control of the computer you’re playing from to share the screen. Alternatively, ClueCracker also offers a “Family and Friends” bundle, giving two households access to the game for £14.99 and you can make the choice to play “together,” but separately, and compete for the best time, or play cooperatively, with each team inputting the code at the same time to progress together.
As we’ve come to find with play at home escape options, they vary wildly in concept, with everything from commercial box games, to print and play, from fully browser-based games, to remotely guiding a GM in a physical room, and even a bit of a hybrid of several of these. Escape from Extinction Island is similar to others we’ve played, with video clips and images that all contain clues to what will be coming next, progressing from puzzle to puzzle in a linear fashion, but it was incredibly well executed. It’s not particularly surprising – not only is their live game, Jail Break, excellent and great fun, but the entire team are also actors, so the video clips are well done, both in terms of performance, and quality.
The puzzles throughout Escape from Extinction Island were very typical of the types of tasks you would find in a live escape game – even down to using the information in front of you to open a padlock or two. Everything you need to solve these puzzles is in front of you, with no need to google or recall obscure general knowledge. Just make sure you have your powers of observation switched on, and you’ll be fine.
Like the screens and/or walkie talkies that seem to have become the typical method of clue delivery in live escape games, the method of several clues, each becoming less cryptic and more explicit until you finally reach the solution seems to be the standard for play at home games, and Escape from Extinction Island is no exception. It works for the commercial versions, like ‘Exit! The Game’, and as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Handily, you also won’t be able to click on the button to progress unless your code is correct. We discovered this little feature after taking a clue on one puzzle, as we weren’t sure if the system was having issues with Safari, or if we were just being a bit dim. It turns out it was the latter.
Escape from Extinction Island is a fun play from home game. It was possibly a bit on the easier side, but difficulty is definitely subjective and we may have just clicked with it, finishing in just over 22 minutes. All in all, it’s a great little intro to remote escaping and scratched a little bit of the escape room itch we’ve been feeling – and there was a dinosaur!
- Device (a computer/laptop is best) with an internet connection
- Tools for notetaking may be helpful
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 22:34