Exit: The Game – Dead Man on the Orient Express (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-2

Price: $14.99

Night at the Museum

Theme:

From the Thames and Kosmos website:

A classic tale of murder on the Orient Express, reimagined. The culprit of a grisly crime is still on board your train. It’s a race against time to piece the clues together before the train reaches its destination. The case is perplexing, and you must solve it quickly so the assailant does not escape.

First Impressions:

Exit: The Game is such a great series of at home escape games, and years after diving into the many at home escape series that are available from your friendly local game store, it remains my favorite to crack open and play. It doesn’t hurt that this one is based off the work of my favorite mystery author, Agatha Christie! Of course, after Unlock’s ill-designed Scheherazade’s Last Tale, I made sure to keep my expectations tempered, just in case.

High Points:

There was no need to temper my expectations, as this game easily blew them out of the water! Taking heavy inspiration, but not ripping off, the Agatha Christie classic, Murder on the Orient Express, this game packs a lot of great nods to the source material in while remaining it’s own experience. Another thing this adventure is chock full of is clever puzzles and interactions. Though the usual ten are set up via the puzzle dial, there is an overarching meta puzzle that you’ll need to solve to truly catch the murderer, so a keen eye and attention to the many details placed within the game will be required in order to reach the best ending. This excellently added sleuthing portion really ratcheted up the fun and intensity of the experience, as well as the story. Although older Exit games tended to focus more on puzzles rather than storylines, these most recent entries have definitely stepped up the quality of the mysterious stories while ensuring the puzzle quality stays high!

The experience is fairly linear, but this is not a bad thing as it allows a small group to stay focused on the task and clues at hand, while gating the story fantastically. Clues that belong to the overall murder mystery as well as the individual puzzles will need to be identified and sorted out as you go, and everything is meted out more effectively in this linear manner. New rooms and items are presented excellently, ensuring that each new step deeper into the investigation remains integrated into its place in the story. Further, the move from just opening new journal pages to revealing all new rooms after most solves makes each successful interaction all the more satisfying. Every puzzle is wonderfully tactile, and Exit continues to find glorious ways to integrate interactions into the most unlikely places while still ensuring that each enigma is intuitive and well balanced. The difficulty of this game is higher than most Exit boxes, but it never felt unfair, ensuring that each and every solve provided some superb moments of revelation. The game also serves a wide range of puzzle types, which will engage and satisfy all members of the team, allowing everyone a moment to shine. The climactic puzzle is involved and very satisfying to solve, and depending on your answer, can lead to one of two different conclusions, offering a great finale to an amazing at home escape adventure!

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Diamonds, Cryptic Wheels, and Prescient Help Cards that will help you bust the case wide open!

Low Points:

I have no real complaints. One puzzle can be easily circumvented with what I believe to be a completely valid work around, but it didn’t feel like a let down, and we solved the puzzle we were missing as well, so the experience wasn’t diminished.

Verdict:

Dead Man on the Orient Express is easily my favorite new mystery from Exit: The Game, and I certainly recommend giving it a shot! Only one caveat, however, as though this is absolutely the best entry into the Exit series, it’s definitely one of the most challenging as well, so I wouldn’t recommend starting out with it. Pick it up along with one of the easier entries so you can get a handle on how the games tend to work first, but absolutely get this one as well. Buy your copy from your friendly local game store today! We recommend checking out Atomic Empire in Durham, NC, check out their online store here!

10/10 (Phenomenal)

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