From virtual reality to online escape rooms, we’ve seen some interesting takes on the escape room phenomenon over the past year year. Identity Games has just released a brand new take on the formula with Escape Room The Game: Puzzle Adventures – Secret of the Scientist. It’s quite the mouthful, but how does it play?
Right off the bat, this new game seems like a good fit with the times we live in. Identity Games has previously released entries in their “Escape Room – The Game” franchise, but most were designed as games you ideally play when you have a few friends over – an in-home alternative to the many commercially run escape rooms out there. During a lockdown situation those locations are closed, but it’s also become a lot harder to invite people over for an escape room as home. Enter Puzzle Adventures, which was designed to be played with two players and can even be played solo if you want to.
As with any good escape room, there’s a story setting, and this one involves a murdered woman. You’re the detective who was sent over to her house to investigate an alarm, but upon entering you get trapped inside – kicking off a series of puzzle challenges that will help you figure out the titular secret of the scientist and escape the mansion.
As the full title suggests, this particular take on escape rooms features traditional jigsaw puzzles as a gameplay element – though their shapes can vary wildly from the standard rectangle and completed puzzles eventually also have to be combined, making it less ‘traditional’ than you’d think. Set up in phases, the game big features six compartments that you have to tackle one by one, completing them giving you access to the next one. To do so, you have to combine a bit of jigsaw puzzling with the usual cryptic hints that come in an escape room game – and a decoder should then give you the correct symbol to make you progress.
The mix of jigsaw puzzles and riddles works extremely well when playing with someone else, as it allows for a great division of work if one player if better at riddles than the other, giving you a great sense of cooperation. The estimated game length is two and a half hours as well, so you’re getting a full evening of entertainment – and this is a game that’s being released at a budget price point!
The escape room formula combined with the budget price point led me to believe that Secret of the Scientist wasn’t going to work in terms of replay value, but I was pleasantly surprised in that area. There’s only one attribute that can’t be reused, and you can reprint that one from Identity’s website or just try and solve it without “using” it during your playthrough and using a separate piece of paper instead.
Escape Room The Game: Puzzle Adventures – Secret of the Scientist isn’t the kind of social experience that you normally associate with the genre, but it’s a lot of fun if you want to just stay home and play an escape room game without having a ton of people over. Or, in the times we’re in now, a great alternative to something that’s not possible right now.