Escape rooms in a box are becoming ever more popular with games like Exit and Unlock bring the escape room genre to our tables. The games often involved a set of puzzles or riddles that you will need to solve to advance through the story. Some of these involve cutting and destroying game components, whilst others can be reset to pass on to someone else. They also use game components in unique and innovative ways. The Wexell Escape Room Kit adds it own spin on the escape room genre providing you with the tools to create your very own escape room in your home.
Without giving away any story spoilers the game revolves around a corrupt corporation called Wexell. You play as Adam Parkinson, a reporter working for the Evening Post, when you suddenly find your self in a life changing situation. Deduction, linguistic and puzzle skills will be needed to work your way through 5 different locations solving over 40 puzzles to uncover the story behind Wexell. You will progress through the narrative, revealing new puzzles to solve puzzles as you progress.
The game is divided in to 5 chapters at 5 different locations so can be played over a number of sessions if needed.
My Thoughts have Escaped
The Wexell Escape Room Kit puts its own spin on the escape room genre. The author of the game James Hamer-Morton is the co-owner of Deadlocked Escape Rooms and Thinking Outside The Box Escape Rooms as well as a consultant for the Escape Room industry. He brings a raft of knowledge and experience in to the game and I think this shows.
The interesting part of this escape room is that there is a puzzle master who holds the story book and guides the other players through the game. The puzzle master tells the story throughout the game, hands out the puzzles when prompted and can offer clues and guidance if needed to help the players through the game. However, the puzzle master can also be involved in solving the clues.
I played it with just me and one other person and we were both involved in solving the puzzles and it worked well. I also think this would be very good for a family (with teenage children) or a group of friends to play (alternative to Murder Mystery night maybe). The game even suggests that the puzzle sheets could be placed around a room to increase immersion in the game. The game really taken the Escape Room game in your in home to an interesting and exciting level.
Locking it Down
The puzzles themselves are varied and interesting with some of them involving cutting and folding. So, unless you photocopy these puzzle sheets in advance this is a one shot game, much like many others in the genre. Depending on how your brain works will determine how easy or hard some of the puzzles are. One particular set we could just not get our heads around and hard to revert to using all the available clues. On the other hand we grasped another set of puzzles with relative ease, to the point of us thinking we had missed something.
There are some clues/puzzles/pieces of information from previous chapters that are used in future chapters which help to connect the story. All in all the puzzles are very well done, they are varied, interesting and at times taxing. But they all feel like they are solvable, maybe with a little hint from the Puzzle Master. They are not too "off the wall" that they would not solvable unless you are a member of Mensa and will appeal to just about anyone.
Story Mode Activated
The story itself was engaging, if not a little far fetched at the end. In fact the ending was probably, for me, my least favourite part of the game. There was nothing inherently bad about it, I just wished it had a different ending. I can't say too much because of spoilers but play it and find out for yourself.
The Wexell Escape Room Kit has a lot of game time in it, we took between 1hr and 1hr30mins for each chapter. So total time was in excess of 5 hours. It involved team work, cooperation and bouncing ideas of each other. Probably better in smaller groups rather than large groups but this is inherent with Escape Room games in general and not a knock on the game at all.
I had a lot of fun with this and can see this being a great game to crack out with a group of friends or family as an evening activity.