Exit: The Game – The Sinister Mansion (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-2

Price: $14.99

Guess who’s back, back again?

Theme:

From the Thames and Kosmos website:

You are invited to be a guest at a palatial mansion, but upon arrival, you find yourselves forced to take part in a macabre game. The clock is ticking, and there is not much time left to solve the puzzles. Can you escape the mansion before it’s too late?

First Impressions:

Exit: The Game is easily my favorite at home escape game series, as none of their products have yet to disappoint. When I bought the newest set of games, none excited me quite as much as The Sinister Mansion, as I can’t resist an old, spooky, possibly haunted setting!

High Points:

Exit games always appear to have only a few props, but explode into giant adventures as you progress, and The Sinister Mansion is no exception. Utilizing almost every item in the box in increasingly clever ways, there is much more than meets the eye to this game. Per usual, the mystery involves around ten puzzles of varying difficulty, and for the most part, each one is clearly solvable using the items as presented, though some may take a fair bit more pondering than others. The initial puzzle is a great start, and provides a perfect moment of revelation as part of the solve, without being so simplistic that it feels like a gimme. From there, the puzzles continue to be fairly devious, challenging the players to think outside the box during every step of the way. The game flow is astounding, and involves a lot of tactile steps, keeping everyone engaged with the mystery. Though it is linear, at points, we had to ensure we knew what exactly we needed to be working on at any given time, adding to the challenge as we parsed through what we had been given.

While the storyline isn’t quite at the forefront as in The Sunken Treasure, this game is a sequel to previous games, The Abandoned Cabin and The Forbidden Castle. While those are not required to play this game, I recommend giving those a try first to keep chronology in order. (And they’re great fun to boot!) However, if you decide to Tarantino the storyline, you won’t miss anything super important. There are also nice little callbacks to other Exit games, and it’s always fun to think back to previous adventures. The revelation about your mysterious captor is an enjoyable payoff to years of Exit games, and keeping with tradition, the adventure ends on another cliffhanger that teases another sequel!

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Your ever spooky captor has given you another set of props! He’s too kind.

Low Points:

One early stage puzzle doesn’t quite give enough hints to remove the guess and check elements from the game, requiring us to fiddle around to figure out which answer is the most correct. This feels like either a puzzle that hasn’t been tested quite enough, or a cheap way to pad the play time. For new players, there’s also fairly little to clue one into some of the more eccentric ways an Exit game is tackled, so this may end up being much more difficult for folks who aren’t used to the way these games are played. Playing through an earlier game or two should alleviate this problem, but the barrier to entry is a mite bit higher than usual for The Sinister Mansion. Finally, the linearity of play may limit how many players you’ll want to have around the table, and since this experience can only be played once, that could diminish the value for people that like to play with a larger group.

Verdict:

The Sinister Mansion is a great addition to the Exit series, and I look forward to meeting the evil escape room master behind these stories again soon! Veterans of the Exit series will absolutely love this entry, though newer players should be warned that this one does rely on a fair familiarity with some of the more unconventional solving methods of Exit games, so a run with another game might be helpful. 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!

8.5/10 (Great)

Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-2

Price: $14.99

Treasure in the Waters

Theme:

From the Thames and Kosmos website:

Setting sail for dangerous waters, you embark on a treacherous quest for the legendary treasure of the Santa Maria. While investigating a mysterious shipwreck, something goes terribly wrong and you are trapped deep underwater! Can you solve the riddles of the wreck and recover the treasure before your time is up?

First Impressions:

I’ve always loved Exit: The Game’s highly interactive puzzles, and it’s actually pretty surprising I haven’t gotten around to reviewing their products just yet. When the newest set of games arrived, however, I knew I’d have to work it into the review schedule! The Sunken Treasure seemed right up my alley, boasting a nautical theme and interesting box art, so we started the next run of Exit games there.

High Points:

As always with Exit games, The Sunken Treasure had loads of really stand out moments that took us by surprise! At first, I thought there were relatively few props and wasn’t sure how involved this experience would be, but I was glad to see that this game continued to hold to the standard of using absolutely every prop to it’s fullest to deliver an extremely tactile game. Even though this was my seventh foray into the Exit universe, and I had an idea of what to expect, I found that many of the revelations included within the box were still cleverly hidden from perceptive players. A more beginner level experience, we still found some puzzles to be challenging, but the simpler ones were still a fun solve, with several leading us to exclaim how clever we found the puzzle to be. The game also didn’t disappoint content wise, as it still took us a good 56 minutes to complete, longer than some great escape rooms we’ve broken out of!

This was the first Exit game we’d played that was a one hundred percent linear experience, and while that could serve to bottleneck everything, I felt that linearity served this particular experience well. Though you cannot jump between puzzles, the overall experience isn’t obtuse at all, and each step just takes some thought and a fair measure of outside, (and sometimes inside,) the box thinking. The experience held tighter to the storyline than some other Exit games have, and the linear nature really helped make sure that each step progressed the story as well as the game flow. Tight is one word that can absolutely describe the experience playing The Sunken Treasure, and not in the 90’s sense. Each facet of the game feels like it has been tested to ensure that the puzzles, logical flow, and story are tightly crafted and serve to keep the adventure trucking along nicely. Though there were points we needed to stop and think, or set up a solution, we never felt as though we had become mired or thrust into tedium.

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So much puzzling treasure is hidden within these few props!

Low Points:

The linear nature of the game does mean that it cannot handle more than two players especially well. Those with a lot of experience will want to cap things at two, definitely, and newer players may find they have more fun and will get to be more involved with fewer players as well. A particular puzzle becomes somewhat more difficult due to the vague and possibly misleading wording, but on the whole the experience does not stray from the tighter logic presented in the rest of the enigmas. The game itself is a lot easier than other Exit games, and while this isn’t really that bad of a thing, veteran players may feel they’re being led by the hand a bit too much.

Verdict:

A simpler adventure, I still recommend that anyone interested in Exit: The Game try out The Sunken Treasure. Newcomers will get an awesome and tightly plotted introduction to the game series, and long time players will find a lot of new and engaging content to enjoy within the box. You can pick this one up from your friendly local games store now! We recommend checking out Atomic Empire in Durham, NC, check out their online store here!

8.5/10 (Great)