What’s That On Yonder Horizon?
Exit: The Deserted Lighthouse is the latest in the growing Exit: The Game series. The Exit series rose to early acclaim in 2017, winning the Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year) award. A lofty accolade, earned for its first three games: The Abandoned Cabin, The Secret Lab, and The Pharaoh’s Tomb. They've made many more successful games since...
The Exit: The Game series is well-described as being an “escape room in a box”.
A traditional Exit game provides 1-2 hours of playtime and riddle-solving. Here, this is expanded to incorporate four jigsaw puzzles into your odyssey of escape. The additional challenge extends this into a 2–3-hour experience, but it's (arguably) shorter as well as longer. The four jigsaws help compartmentalise the game into a more episodic, instalment-based journey.
The Light’s On But Nobody’s Home?
The Deserted Lighthouse scenario of this Exit game is almost exactly as you’re picturing it. Rather than escaping, you’re attempting to access a deserted lighthouse. This valiant undertaking will rescue a passing ship from the rocky peril nearby. …And might even solve the mystery of the missing lighthouse keeper.
To save the day, you'll be piecing together jigsaws and solving many multi-part riddles. The game has a four out of five for difficulty rating, so don’t expect it to be easy!
A further note. The star rating for difficulty on the cover is a fairly loose guide to the challenge within. We've played several Exits, and lower ratings don't mean you'll breeze through effortlessly. Nor will higher ones leave you consistently stumped. Do expect some headscratchers though!
Surely that’s the fun...
If this is the first Exit game you’re considering, you might want to try a more traditional Exit experience first (perhaps the other Exit jigsaw game – The Sacred
Temple?). Find your footing on familiar territory before testing your sea legs near uncharted waters…
That said, if you’re a keen-to-dive-in-at-the-deep-end sort. If you have a buccaneer’s spirit... Then you may well find yourself equal to the challenge.
(Image blurred to avoid spoilers)
With around twenty games, perhaps it was high tide (sorry, high “time”) the Exit series tried something different?
Our first Exit game (House of Riddles) seeded some reservations about the series. This led us on a segue into the world of Unlock! Games before returning. Since that return, I’ve found the more I’ve tried, the more I’ve been impressed by the Exit series.
The bar for their riddles is high across the board; there are fewer and more forgivable duds. The hint system is generous but not overly revealing. Three nudges, then the solution to any riddle. It’s a well-pitched assist; unintrusive, but available.
I’ll refrain from drawing a more explicit contrast with other escape room series…
High standards already established (for Exit), The Deserted Lighthouse is among their best.
Light In The Darkness
Adding a major element to the existing Exit series formula was always going to be a risky move. One with the smack of ‘novelty’ or the whiff of gimmick. It’s no small delight that such concerns evaporate when solving the puzzles inside.
My concerns were that the two elements wouldn’t marry together. That it’d be like performing two separate tasks at the same time, joined by some loose and spurious thread. One, only a backdrop or distraction from the other; distinct events, happening alongside.
The happiest discovery of this Exit game might be how well the jigsaw integrates. The departure even threatening its greatest triumph.
The effect of solving the jigsaw without any accompanying picture (after short snippets of story) ... Is an immersive step into the world. It yields the first breadcrumb
glimpses of riddles to solve. Completing the jigsaw isn't meaningless busywork. You begin to fathom the setting that surrounds you; uncover details buried therein.
The image you assemble is not merely a pretty picture - it becomes a physical tool for several of the riddles. It's something that needs to be manipulated and interacted with. Several solutions demand it. (Much like using the “strange items” included in other games of the series).
There’s Something Emerging From The Mist…
Just to pierce the fog of positivity here, the game is not without occasional failings. It’s rare to encounter any Exit game where at least one riddle won’t have you grumbling, “How was I ever supposed to get that?”
We encountered one particularly frustrating example early, during the first jigsaw. The code wheel indicated we’d found the correct solution for a puzzle. Yet the instruction for the next riddle was wrong. Thankfully, the hint system provides a good way of out of such issues when encountered. They’re also rare enough that this is the only time that's ever happened to me during an Exit game.
Happily, the remaining riddles and jigsaws offered more satisfaction than shortcomings. (Although we'd suggest you don’t break down some jigsaws too quickly after each puzzle…)
The Deserted Lighthouse is another engaging game from the Exit series. In particular, it’s a pleasant surprise to discover how much the jigsaw adds to the experience. It might have simply existed alongside it. Expect it to avoid sinking failures, navigate jagged rocks and sail fondly over the horizon when it leaves you.
It’s a worthy addition to the series. A considered evolution (or sea-volution?) of its trademark riddles and puzzling.
A word to summarise this seafaring success on Exit?