The Escape Game is an online adventure that you play using a digital zip folder full of files and information to help you solve the puzzles and clues to complete your mission. Internet access is required in order to play and the games are recommended for 1-4 players. The great thing about this is that you could easily play this over video message or conference call, just as easily as you could if you were all in the same room because you can share the links to all of the evidence files, and you could screen share the main dashboard.
As the story of the games goes in order it makes sense for me to talk about volume 1 first, but do stick with me right through to the end or my review! The first thing that you will need to do is create an account which is good because the game will store your progress so that any internet issues won't mean having to start over. This also is where I encountered my first issue though, this platform and game is very much designed for people in the USA. For some reason I was asked to provide my zip code, I'm not sure why it was needed for this if I'm honest and I wasn't able to leave it blank. I also couldn't enter mine because being based in the UK I don't have one and my UK one contains letters so wasn't accepted, I just made one up in the end.
Once I was in it was easy to enter my activation codes which allow me to play the games, and then I could get started! It's all really well themed and the dashboard is easy to navigate and looks great. It also flows really well and it's just fun, not taking itself too seriously. There were a couple of minor glitches like the clearing itself when trying to submit to see if you're correct, so we had to remember what answers we'd put to retype the correct ones, and you can't close the suspects ID without refreshing the dashboard, but these really didn't bother me too much.
As for the game itself, I found parts of it pretty challenging near the start and had to use the hints once or twice to be sure of what I was meant to be doing. But once we got into the swing of it and used to the style of the game we began to enjoy it more. I do wish there would have been more puzzle style sections to complete though as a lot of it felt like just looking through the files for the right information, or the right clues to put together and find the answers. I won't give anything away but there was one section in the security camera section where we we needed to use an object outside of the game/files provided but we had to use the hints in order to progress because we weren't in the USA so couldn't actually do it, plus even if I was I probably wouldn't have wanted to do this part (even though it was really clever) and I'd have felt happier with an alternative way to solve this bit. Overall
Volume 2 was brilliant. It's like everything that I felt was missing from or didn't quite work in volume 1 was just there! I did have to log out and then log back in again in order to access it as there was no main menu button from the volume 1 dashboard, but that was a minor hiccup. There were a greater variety of different puzzles to solve and we felt a lot more involved with the story line this time. I guess it felt more immersive. It also kept its fun aspect, again not taking itself too seriously but being difficult enough to make you think hard to solve and complete the tasks. I also felt that volume 2 utilised more different skills so it was more fun when playing it with other people as everyone got a chance to show their strengths. There is meant to be a volume 3 coming soon, and after this I would look forward to joining in on that mission too!
I think that this whole thing is a great idea. It works (unlike some poor excuses for escape room board games that I've tried) and it works well! It's also an excellent alternative to the traditional escape rooms that you can play from the comfort of your own home, and during the current lockdown that is fantastic news. But more than that is the fact that it uses the same fun problem solving skills and teamwork that makes escape rooms fun, so this is great for people who can't take part in the traditional rooms, plus those that just don't fancy being locked in somewhere! But it's of the same style and concept that escape room fans like myself will still really enjoy it. I would definitely recommend The Escape Game and I look forward to seeing the other games that they create.