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Escape Room: The Game Review

Board Game Review by: :
Tony Mastrangeli

Reviewed by:
On Oct 6, 2017
Last modified:Oct 6, 2017


We review Escape Room: The Game, a new entry into the puzzle solving board game genre from SpinMaster Games. Escape Room: The Game not only comes with a unique Chrono Decoder, but also includes 4 different missions in the box.

Note: This will be a spoiler free review of Escape Room: The Game.

Chrono DecoderBy now you are probably familiar with the Escape Room craze in tabletop gaming. What was once a tiny niche is quickly reaching a saturation point with plenty of options for the puzzle solving gamer to choose from. However, as I love exercising those mental muscles, I’m always happy to check out a newcomer. That brings us to today’s review of Escape Room: The Game. This is the third escape room game we’ve reviewed on BGQ, so let’s find out what makes this one different.

Escape Room: The Game is a puzzle solving game for 3-5 players that takes about 60 minutes to play. Escape Room: The Game plays well at all player counts.

Gameplay Overview:

If you’ve played an escape room before, you know the basics. The goal is to solve the mission (or escape the room) in 60 minutes. Each mission of Escape Room: The Game has three parts, and to finish each part, you need to insert 4 keys into the “Chrono Decoder”. The large device comes with the game (batteries not included) that acts as the timer, puzzle decoder, and also checks your key solution.

Escape Room: The Game Keys
There are plenty of keys in the box, making numerous combinations for puzzle solving.

You start the game by opening the first envelope. A series of puzzles will be inside, which will eventually lead you to using 4 specific keys to insert into the Chrono Decoder. If you are correct, you will hear a chime and can then open the second envelope. Make a mistake and you are deducted time and must keep trying.

Some puzzles are also marked with an ER and require you to use one of the decoders on the side of the Chrono Decoder. Finally, the game will give you hints at certain timed intervals. These are through cards that are slid into a red film holder to show the hint (think the old Password game from the 60s). If you run out of time, the decoder will start counting up, showing you how much you went over.

Escape Room: The Game Experience
Four different missions come with the game, each increasing in complexity.

Game Experience:

The main thing that sets Escape Room: The Game apart from the other games in the genre has to be the Chrono Decoder. This little contraption will count down from 60 when you start the game, and will check your work once you insert 4 keys into it. While I think the decoder box is neat, I also think it’s a pure gimmick. The game could have worked just as well (probably better) with a digital phone/tablet app.

Escape Room: The Game Chrono Decoder
Players will need to insert 4 keys into the Chrono Decoder at each step of the puzzle.

That being said, my only real qualm with the Chrono Decoder is that there is no way to pause the game. I know you don’t get a pause in real escape rooms, but sometimes life gets in the way. Doorbells ring, kids do stupid stuff, questions about the rules arise, etc… It would have been nice for a way to stop the timer should the need arise, but that’s really minor quibble.

The real star of these games though are the puzzles, and I think that Escape Room: The Game has a solid batch. They range from easy to hard to absurdly out of left field. But that also seems to be the norm in this genre. However I was pleasantly surprised with the variety in the puzzles. Some you can do just by looking at them, while others will have you destroying components.

Escape Room: The Game Hint Cards
Players will have the chance to view hints at timed intervals.

Yet publishers Spinmaster wisely only had you writing on components that you can easily reprint. In fact, they have files on their website where you can print out anything you may have marked up. All those puzzles are marked with a printer icon, letting you know that it’s OK to ruin the components. I like this approach MUCH better than EXIT: The Game, that has you throwing the whole game in the trash after you’ve played it. Now I can safely write on parts of this game, knowing I can still share it with friends later.

Another feather in the cap of Escape Room: The Game is that it comes with 4 puzzles. With a price point of about $30, that makes this game much cheaper than the competition (whose price is ally around $11-$15 per puzzle) on a per puzzle ratio. The missions in the game also gradually increase in difficulty and complexity. This lets players get used to the game without throwing them right into the deep end.

Final Thoughts:

Escape Room: The Game ended up being a solid entry into this fast growing genre. I really liked their hybrid approach to puzzles, where you could still write on the ones you needed to and then reprint them later. While the Chrono Decoder itself was neat, it wasn’t really much more than a gimmick that could have been better used as a digital app.

That being said, we’ve still enjoyed the game and found the puzzles to be mostly clever and engaging (other than a few outliers). Escape Room: The Game also boasts the best price point compared vs gameplay of any of the games in the genre, so if that’s a concern, this one is your best bet. I really don’t have much to complain about with Escape Room: The Game, it’s a solid puzzle solving game and if you are a fan of the genre, then you will enjoy this one.

Final Score: 4 Stars – A nice take on the escape room genre, that has a great price point and expansions already lined up.

4 StarsHits:
• 4 missions included in the box
• Nice variety in the puzzles
• Able to reprint components you destroyed

• Chrono Decoder feels like a gimmick
• No way to pause the decoder

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  1. We hated this game. Try playing with 5 people, cramming heads arounf the prison break part 3 scene…or when the clue is wrong (even on the walkthrough 602:D is not the same as 602/D). 4 of us had headaches after playing…need 4×4 boardboards to play as team. You can play alone but what’s the fun of that.

    • Yes, any of these escape room games would not be much fun with 5 people. You just can’t see all the pieces. Almost universally these games are best with 2-3 players (4 is sometimes OK).

  2. We asked ourselves how the game knew the difference between which games we were playing. That said, all the codes for every “part” corrospond with the “parts” in every other scenario. In other words, it’s the same set of codes every time… waste of $40z

  3. We got one of these games for Xmas having been through a couple of physical escape rooms which we enjoyed.
    This game is chalk and cheese. It’s nothing like a real escape room. At best play it with one person you can’t effectively play with more that one person. We found some bugs with the clues(misleading) and also there were bits that didn’t appear to have logic to it just guesswork.
    This style of game doesn’t lend itself to a team effort you just can’t play it like that.
    In a real escape room your senses do a lot of work with this game it’s reading bits over again to make sure you’ve read it right which burns your time.
    There was a clue reader that had a red see through windows to read the clues. Minor problem it was really big enough to read the clues cards if they were lengthy. We missed the end of one clue because of that.
    In summary if you like escape rooms go to a real one. With a real one they can target your clues and it’s a real person that’s helping you when you need it.
    The timer buzzing every 5-10 minutes with a new clue is distracting but you can’t disable that.
    In fact the timer in general is distracting.

  4. I was thinking about buying the game but then I decided to read the reviews so that I can know what to expect. You have given me high expectations with such a review.

  5. Bought this for my grandson and we had trouble with the Demo game. There are instructions that need to be added as they are inadequate even for the demo. Very disappointing considering the price and the fact they can’t be re-used.

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