Review by: Jillian Schmett
Hey Everyone! This week I got to play Escape Team, a print & play, interactive escape game designed and self-published by Sarah-Carina and Fabian Hemmert. I love, love, love escape games and was excited to get the opportunity to play and review this one. So far I’ve played all of the Exit series, 2 of the Unlock series, 2 of the Escape the Room games, Escape Room the Game, and 1 real-life escape room (like I said, I just love them!). So how does Escape Team hold up? Read on to find out! *This review is SPOILER FREE*
To play Escape Team, you will need to visit their website (I will provide a link at the end of the review, in case you want to check it out) and print the PDF files for the missions you wish to complete. You will also need to download the Escape Team app which is available on Google Play and the App Store, and other materials from your home such as paper, pens, and scissors. Everything required to complete the puzzles were all common household items we had at home already and we didn’t run into anything that we needed but didn’t have (mostly found in our junk drawer, but really what isn’t in there? If you have one like mine and have about a bajillion things you understand. If you don’t, please leave me a comment and tell me where I’m supposed to be keeping these 1,000 rubber bands and 4,200 pencils ranging in size from unsharpened to “nub”.)
Once you’ve printed the files and downloaded the app, you will be able to play the training mission and Mission 1 for free. There are 4 more missions available after that which each cost $0.99 to download. According to their website, more missions will be added soon.
Each page in mission packets are numbered so it is easy to prepare the pages you will be using and set aside other missions for later. The items needed to solve the puzzles in each mission are listed on the first page (i.e. “For this mission you will need: paper, pens, scissors, tape.”) and instructions tell you to lay out all materials and papers in front of you before starting the mission on the app. Once you press play, a short audio message will play for you, setting up the scenario. I will say that although this game is called Escape Team, it is not actually about escaping, but will leave the rest of the information for you to find out if you choose to play it yourself. I do think that the reasoning behind using escape in the name was to portray the style of play, which is very much like other escape games in the market, so it’s not really that misleading.
After listening to the audio message, your screen will change to a timer with a keypad and space to enter a code. Each mission has different phases which will require different codes to be entered in order to move on to the next phase. Clues are accumulated as time passes that you can use if you are stuck by pressing the clue button, which will play an audio clue if you have any available.
We played the training mission through Mission 2 with a group of three, and Missions 3-5 with just two of us. I found the experience equally enjoyable at both counts. The puzzles varied in difficulty and were true to escape style games, but that’s all I will say to avoid spoiling any of the fun. One player did mention in our group that there were some parts of the puzzle that were a little bit difficult to cut as they were small and we actually ended up using an exacto blade instead of scissors, but we didn’t really need to do that, it could be solved with the only the listed materials. With the exception of Mission 1, we beat all of the missions with generous time to spare. I’m not sure if that means that the puzzles were easy, or that we have a bit of advantage because we have played so many of this style game in the past. There were still some puzzles that we got stuck on and had to use clues.
Normally, I am "one of those" people who does not like app integration in my board games. I can understand why some people do, my personal preference is just that I would rather never use them. Even while playing the Unlock escape games, I felt that having the app took away from my experience and I didn't enjoy it.
However, I did not feel that way with this game. Perhaps because it was a print and play and not something I bought from a store in a box, or because the app is so simplistic and streamlined. I didn't mind using it at all.
Overall this game was a fun experience. The designers state on their website that it was their goal to create a tactile experience for players that would encourage teamwork. I believe this game accomplishes that. There weren’t any missions that last longer than approximately 30 minutes so we were able to play them when we had a few free moments which was nice. This was a first experience with an escape game for one of the players and he said that it was fun and easy to pick up. The fact that you can buy individual missions for only $0.99 and play them is a big positive for me. If you have been debating trying this style game but aren’t sure if you’ll enjoy them, this is a perfect way to try one and see how you like it. If you’ve played a lot of escape games like I have, I still think this is worth trying, as I enjoyed them and for this price point and play time, there really isn’t much to lose.
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