“Preparation can only take you so far”
You’ve been locked up for unspecified crimes in a high security prison. But today is your lucky day – you’ve just been moved to Cell 126, the cell from which a successful escape attempt was made by the notorious criminal Dr Xavier Scape just one week earlier!
Can you follow the clues left by the Dr in order to break out too?
It seems like every day new companies are appearing online offering online escape room experiences (some good, some bad), so when we came across ESC The Game we really didn’t know what to expect. I’m a firm believer that first impressions matter, and their website gave a very good first impression. One of the first things you see on their website is ‘These games were born out of desire to build a better online escape room experience. This isn’t just a few password protected web pages.’ – bold claims.
Loading into the game, it looked like their claims were in fact true, there were no Google Forms here! We entered our team name, and once we entered the game our on-screen timer began. The game’s interface was easy to use and we instantly knew where we needed to focus our attention to get started, so we started working on our escape.
We played this game as a team of two on separate devices and it worked well. Before you start you are given two options for multiple locations; Option 1: Screenshare, Option 2: Everyone logs in. We went for option two as this enabled us both to interact with the interface and solve puzzles.
Normally we find little glitches here and there that show that an experience was rushed out, but this game appeared to be flawless in its execution. When one team member solves a puzzle, all other team members are notified, and if someone requests a hint it is shown to everyone.
The game played out in a self-contained interface that worked well in Chrome. Everything we needed for the game was contained within it. Saying that, they also had a ‘backpack’ option that you could use. This enabled you to scan a QR code and view your puzzles/findings on your phone – I’d imagine this works if you’re playing on a smaller screen or have multiple team members.
A nice touch with this game was that you didn’t just receive a password and enter it in a box, ok sometimes you did that, but a number of the puzzles had more intricate mechanisms built around them which kept us on our toes every time we unlocked a new puzzle.
When you finish the game, you get a nice little end screen that shows your team name, how long you took (you can take as long as you like), and how many hints you took. Perfect for those of you who like to show off to family and friends. Another feature worth pointing out is that if you leave the game or get disconnected, you can rejoin by following your original link and it will take you back to where you were.
For some reason (let’s blame the heat) we struggled on a lot of these puzzles, mostly because we yet again tried to over complicate them. In hindsight, they weren’t particularly challenging, but you just had to know where you look in order to get the information you needed – and we certainly struggled to see today!
The puzzles were a mixed bag of logic, decoding, and observation but all of them were related to the theme. Like most online escape games, this game played out in a linear fashion and you would be given the information you needed to unlock the puzzles in front of you, which would then unlock more items and new puzzles. Once an item was used it was crossed out so you knew you didn’t need to use it again.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the attitude of ESC The Game when it comes to clues, as they have opted for a tried and tested system. If you need a hint, there is a very clear button you can push on the puzzle and it will reveal a cryptic sentence to try and get you back on track, if you still aren’t getting it you can get another two ‘nudges’, and if you’re really not getting you can get the solution. This is our favourite system for a clue system as sometimes you just need that little push in the right direction to get you going.
A really enjoyable game that kept us occupied for longer than it probably should have. A good interface, decent puzzles, and generally just a fun game.
- Device with an Internet connection
- Mobile phone capable of scanning QR codes (optional)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 50 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.