The digital escape room genre has grown to be quite populated over the years. There are tons of generic ones on PC, but it’s a much less common genre on consoles – and Skybound Games’ Escape Academy happens to both be available on consoles and be a standout game as well. Here’s our review, done on a PlayStation 4.
As with most escape room-inspired games, Escape Academy is played from a first person perspective. But where most escape rooms throw you in at the deep end and thus provide a hit and miss scenario when it comes to your abilities, Escape Academy has a well designed learning curve, with puzzles that increase in complexity as you journey forward.
There’s a bit of a meta-journey as well, with an escape room inside an escape room game – making for a fun narrative twist, complete with memorable characters. You see, you start off in an actual escape room, only to find that it’s located inside a larger (locked) building once you complete and exit it. This is when you’re introduced to the Escape Academy, which is a full campus with a variety of challenges to overcome.
There’s even a twist to the usual time limit that comes with an escape room when you’re at the academy, because if you fail then a special gas will erase your memory of the place, Men in Black-style. We can’t have any students failing, right? Bad for the school’s reputation. The rooms themselves are divided into multiple stages, which are often interconnected in terms of the clues they provide. There’s a ton of puzzle variety too, so it pays to play this one together – either locally or online. If you’re good at numbers and your partner has great visual insights or word puzzle skills, you’ll be able to help each other out here.
Puzzles are usually tied into the personalities of the person running/introducing the specific escape room, which is a great idea in making the challenges themselves feel like they have character to them as well. Obviously puzzle types and escape room mechanics are going to feel familiar, but the developers at Coin Crew Games have done an admirable job at keeping things fresh here. It’s the extremely well designed puzzles that make the game stand out more than anything though, especially because they encourage cooperation – even if one person is just on board to take notes and enjoy the company.
The visuals are nothing special from a technical perspective and we wondered why we weren’t able to run this on PSVR for an even more immersive experience (when playing solo), but the visual and audio design more than make up for it with tons of characters and personality, which includes voiceover work. If you’re been looking for a good Escape Room-type game to play on your console, look no further.