The Gate Between Worlds is the latest, galaxy-hopping entry in the Exit series and – like its forerunners – is best described as “An Escape Room in a Box”.
All games in the series are standalone, so there’s no need to have played any previous Exit games to enjoy this one. For this review I even put that to the test – trialling the game with two players new to the Exit games (making this their Exit entry-point).
If you’re also new to the series, the two main points to cover are: 95% of what popped into your head on hearing the phrase “Escape Room in a Box” is, likely, accurate.
Exit games are single use. They contain parts designed to be snipped, rearranged, destructed, or otherwise irreversibly altered. It’s worth making your peace with this for long enough to see what (at least) one Exit game has to offer, because – there’s plenty.
The Exit series has made it to over 20 games for good reason; they’re good at what they do, arguably the best. (And that figure doesn’t even count their excellent Advent Calendar or joy-sparking jigsaw adaptations). If you haven’t played an Exit game yet, The Gate Between Worlds is a fine place to jump aboard. Here’s a mini-guide to the usual bits comprising an Exit game before we dive into some spoiler-free specifics about The Gate Between Worlds.
What's In The Box
Each Exit game involves riddles and puzzles you’ll need to solve to make an escape (or complete a similar quest) – typically about 10 puzzles. Each puzzle matches with a symbol, which corresponds in two ways:
In The Box: Help Cards
If you’re stuck, every puzzle has 3 accompanying Help cards:
- A nudge in the right direction
- Greater guidance
- The solution
Much like a real Escape Room, you’re encouraged to complete the experience with as little help as possible and – much like a real Escape Room – there’s a point where you might only be increasing your frustration by refusing to accept that help…
Out Of This World
The Gate Between Worlds evokes a different feel to many other Exit games, mostly by leaning into its Sci-Fi stylings, mostly. The theme supports breaks from the norm which allow for greater transition and movement between locations. In turn this brings more diversity to the environments, varying the tone and feel throughout.
It’s one of the better narratives, embracing its freedom to surprise you with what’s coming next. It also strives to subvert even this, with interruptions evolving into pleasing pop-culture nods and a final puzzle which is one of Exit’s most memorable.
For the record, there’s also an above-average quota of tactile/ physical puzzles in the box, versus more booklet-based ‘pen and paper’ puzzling. Plenty to manipulate and finger; a kinaesthetic delight.
With my usual co-pilot away for this review, I was keen to use them as a sounding board.
My own experience was thrown slightly by feeling that I was playing an excellent Exit game (above-par) but receiving a mixed response/ reception from less familiar players. They were eager to report – also playing with a new player – that they completed this box with zero hints (a first) and both thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not asking them next time.
But it seems The Gate Between Worlds could well be worthy of some of yours…