Escape Boats: SOS & Convicts | Review

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You and your team are trapped on an abandoned, crippled boat. Your mission is to gather information, repair the boat and escape – before it’s too late! // You and your team are convicts, imprisoned on the good ship Zorg Ella. Using your wits, intelligence, and teamwork, can you work together to escape before the ship departs for the colonies?

Completion Time: 30 mins // 62 mins (out of 90)
Date Played:
March 2023
Party Size:
2
Difficulty:
Easy

Whenever I go to a new country, or even city, I love to find a local escape room to do, as it’s often very different from what is available near me. Usually, this involves a lot of research on blogs, travel sites, and Facebook, but for our recent trip to Dublin, I immediately knew where I was going to book – Escape Boats. It has been on my list for a while as I’d heard it was an escape room…on a boat…that really utilised the fact it was on the boat.

Luckily for me, since first learning of ‘Escape Boats’ they’ve introduced a second room, so we booked both for the same morning.

 

Escape Boats Escape Room review

 

SOS

We started with their original room, the one I heard so much about. We were first lead to the steering cabin (probably not it’s technical name), which is where the GMs monitor the games from, before a door was revealed, leading us to the belly of the ship. This is where we began the game, so right from the start you are fully immersed in ‘boat’ aspect. The concept of ‘SOS’ is that you wake up on a sinking ship, so it was particularly cool that we started next to the actual engine of the boat!

From there we really raced through the room (completing it in half an hour!), as it was totally linear (one puzzle led to the next). For the pair of us this was absolutely fine – we worked on everything together, but for a larger team I can see this being a little frustrating. However, the puzzles were all well thought out and fun to solve, and fit in perfectly with the theme and story. The room really did feel like it was progressing throughout in a natural way – first we had to turn on the electricity, then find a way to communicate and send an SOS message, and then find a way out. It also felt pretty spacious given we were just on a boat, which actually fit two separate escape rooms – they’ve done a really good job of giving you the impression of size via clever tricks and sparse (but still relevant) set dressing.

It’s the final room that really sets this experience apart though. If you don’t want a spoiler I’ll just say…think boat. For those of you who do…

think boat?

To solve the final room you have to flick a lever…which starts filling the room with water! Luckily I had already spotted a couple of pairs of wellies conveniently placed as we had progressed through the room, and made sure we put them on before entering this room!
I was actually very impressed and excited by how quickly the water came in – the room is probably larger than it seems, as although the water appeared to flow very quickly it only made it up to our ankles before we managed to stop it.

Not only was this every exciting (and the reason I had heard about this room in the first place), but it just shows how well this company have designed the room and taken on feedback. Apparently, many early teams had managed to solve the puzzle before, or just after, flicking the lever to trigger the excitement, so didn’t get the full experience. They have therefore modified the puzzle to stop it to only be ‘active’ once it has been triggered, and completely randomised so you can’t figure it out beforehand!

Overall, although this room was a very quick experience for us, we enjoyed it a lot. It was on the easier side, as we didn’t need help at all and only used half the time, but this also meant we were never frustrated. All the puzzles made logical sense and were fun to do, and the room itself was fantastic.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Convicts

It was only natural to book both rooms at the same time, so after a quick coffee break at a nearby cafe we returned for their newer game. This is designed to be a head-to-head game, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do 1-v-1 as I had hoped due to the nature of a couple of the puzzles, so instead we did both sides…one after another. I think this is fairly unique – most head-to-head rooms tend to be mirror copies of one another, but in ‘convicts’ the two sides were similar, with a couple of the same mechanisms used for a different puzzle, but different in a lot of ways. We didn’t feel like we were repeating ourselves at all when we were into the second half – we were still experiencing new things and having to think how to solve certain puzzles. This was also a fairly unique aspect – rather than playing one side through, then the other, the first half lead to the second half before leading to the common final room.

Once more, this room does a fantastic job of feeling big and spacious, when actually it covers any space at all. This was partly achieved via the small rooms packed with puzzles, but also the method of moving between rooms – tunnels. These were great fun for us, but I can see this being a real issue for anyone with mobility issues or spacial concerns. However, I thought it was a really novel idea that meant the rooms themselves could capitalise on more space, and surprise you with your route to the next step.

This room was definitely harder than the last, and we were stuck a few times. There were more puzzles, which were a little trickier but this also meant they were more interesting. Once again, everything was themed really well, and there was less linearity at the start.

We escaped in 61 minutes – I believe we had 90mins available as we were playing both rooms. Technical issues hampered the ending slightly, but this is easily forgiven and explained by a very quick turn around to get us in early after the previous team had finished.

Overall, I’d probably still recommend ‘SOS’ over ‘Convicts’ for the novelty aspect, but why not do both?!

Rating: 4/5

 

Accessibility

Minor spoilers

Vision: Convicts starts in the dark, with near to no light until you complete the first puzzle. There are also a couple of puzzles that are done in low lighting, and one requiring colour recognition. SOS is a little dim, due to the nature of the room.

Sound: Hints are delivered via a speaker, so there will need to be someone who is able to hear to utilise this. There is an audio puzzle in SOS, and a puzzle requiring communication between two (or more) teammates in Convicts.

Physical: This may be one of the least accessible rooms I’ve done! The spaces are very small – it felt crowded at times for even two of us. I could see it easily becoming too cramped and warm with more! There was climbing required for all teammates in both rooms, as well as crawling required for Convicts (for all teammates). Convicts also starts with very low headroom (I am 5ft3 and had to crouch to start), and to access and exit both rooms you need to climb up/down ladders.  I would advise against doing this room if you have claustrophobia, mobility issues, or are unable to fit into small spaces for any other reason.

Location and overall verdict

The location was fairly easy to get to from central Dublin, although we got a bit lost trying to find the boat itself (both

Google and Apple Maps were sending us to the wrong part of the canal). It is based just over the bridge from a handy Caffè Nero and independent cafe, which also have toilets for use.

I think this was a fantastic pair of rooms, clearly designed and ran by people who care. Our GM was really friendly and welcoming, and did a great job of hosting us. We had a lot of fun, and I highly recommend you visit if you are going to Dublin! I am also awarding this our ‘Wow award’ as a I think what they’ve created for both room is very unique and innovative!

SOS and Convicts can be booked on the Escape Boats website here

 

The Complete Guide to Tulley’s Escape Rooms Sussex

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The Escape Room Adventures take you on a journey of discovery as you puzzle your way through the gameplay and unlock the many secrets within. The easiest room is Mutiny, our pirate-themed room, which is ideal for beginners, families, or a group with mixed experience. Our most challenging adventure room is Nethercott Manor – our haunted manor, which is a fast-paced challenge. We would recommend Dodge City, The Outfitters & our newest room SpellCraft for teams that have some previous escape room experience.

Date Played: December 2022
Number of Players: 5
Time Taken: ~40 Minutes each
Difficulty: Expert!

Tulley’s gained its reputation for being one of the best companies in the country a few years ago and has managed to retain it when many others failed to move with the times, or unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. It had long been on my to-do list, but I had been prevented from trying any of their 5 games for a number of factors – namely location, cost, and the necessity to have an expert team to even attempt the rooms!

Luckily for me, the stars aligned at Christmas (well, boxing day) last year – my parter was gifted the day as part of a brand deal, my mum happened to be visiting us (as it was Christmas) and had a car, making transport that much easier, and I had confirmed the availability of the final two members to make us up to a team of 5 experienced players! It may not have been most people’s choice for how to spend their boxing day, but for us it was magical…

Tulley’s has 5 rooms, ranging in theme and complexity, so this is really going to be a whistlestop tour! I also want to highlight their amazing GMs who looked after us throughout the day – Adam, Dan, Ellie, Ed, Jamie, and Tyler – and of course their boss – Sooty the cat.

 

Dodge City

Dodge City in 2127 remains a stronghold of the wild west. The constant tussle between the Sheriff and local gunslingers means there’s opportunity abound for some creative bank robbery for those with wits and courage. As a member of the Notorious ‘Barn Door’ Gang you’ve been caught by the local sheriff breaking into the bank. Locked away with little hope, hired by an unnamed outlaw and facing the ruthless justice of the old west you’re left with only one option. As the sun sets the race is on to break out, reclaim your supplies, pull off the bank job of the century and get out of Dodge City.

Dodge City was our first room…and one of their hardest! Immediately on entering it’s obvious how Tulley’s have earned their reputation – the set design is amazing and extremely immersive, and there are surprises throughout the game. Even as a hardened spotter of fake doors and moving bookshelves, I soon gave up trying to anticipate what was coming next.

This room started with one of my favorite tropes – being separated! We were placed in separate cells, and this obviously required good communication from our newly assembled team, as well as a neat form of contact between us. We then progressed to all things cowboy and outlaw related. I don’t want to give away too much, but the set design and theming were amazing and definitely felt like you were progressing through Dodge City as you progressed through the room. There was only one point in which we were truly stuck, and this was largely due to a breakdown in communication and confusion over who a hint was intended for. Otherwise, this room was one of the most fun rooms we did all day, with some unique puzzles I’ve not seen before (or seen used in a different way), really appealing to different skills. As a team of 5, we only made it out with 4 minutes to spare, which was a great way to get the adrenaline going for the rest of the day!

Rating: 4/5

 

The Outfitters

It’s 1926 here in Chicago, and depression is still rife. Jobs are few and far between and the Prohibition has been in force for six years now. Everyone still drinks, nothin’ has changed. But now the mob control the streets, the supply and the money. The influence of the Outfit is far-reaching. Most of the cops are even under their control. Who can put them in the joint? You can, that’s who. The Commissioner has put together a special task force of straight, trusted cops and you’re on the team. You’ve spent the last few months infiltrating their network and now tonight is the night to get the evidence you need to put them away forever. But it won’t be easy, your cover might be blown! Do you have what it takes?

The natural progression from ‘cowboy’ is ‘mobster’, right? We moved almost straight from the Wild West into a mafia front in Chicago. We entered into an unassuming tailors shop, before discovering all was not what it seemed… The use of space at Tulley’s continued to be a lovely surprise, although the set felt a little more tired and rough around the edges in this room. That’s not to say it wasn’t good though – hidden information was the name of the game for Outfitters (what more could you expect from Gangsters), with themed puzzles and ’20s mechanisms running the room.

In this room, there were a few moments where mechanisms didn’t trigger or triggered when they shouldn’t have, and we were much less active than we had been in Dodge, with only a couple of us solving puzzles at a time. We managed to escape with a respectable 19mins remaining and an eagerness to sink our teeth into the next one (after lunch). Although this wasn’t a bad room, I’d say it was fairly average, and if this was the only room we’d done…I would have been disappointed.

Rating: 3/5

 

Spellcraft

The SpellCraft twins, Evilinda & Spellinda, two witches, two paths, two shops, two worlds, two journeys, their two magical worlds collide, and you find yourself in the middle of their story. SpellCraft will take you on a magical adventure, you’ll need to work together, but in the end there’s always a battle, will you escape and who will win?

Our next room was the newest room at Tulley’s, and the room that has quickly become a favourite of most players (myself included) – Spellcraft! When I first heard it was a magic-themed room my reaction was probably similar to many other enthusiasts – “not another one!”, “How is this going to be any different from all the other magic rooms?” , “why do people love this so much? What’s so good about magic?”

However, it was unlike any magic room I’ve done before, and has truly earned its place at the top of many lists. Firstly, you can tell from the waiting area that the set and story are going to be completely different from any other magic room. There are no “wizard school” or 4 “magical houses” that happen to be primary colours…

Instead, we were once more split into teams – this time “good” and “evil” – and given wands, which stayed with us and were used throughout the game. We were also given cauldrons to collect/carry things with us, which was a nice touch I’ve not experienced anywhere else. Inside the room, the set design was once more delightful and surprising. The set is huge, but of course, you don’t realise this at first. However, there is a truly magical mechanism within the room and we were transported again and again to extremely different settings and places. There were a lot of fun puzzles here too – some familiar, others less so, and the climax of the room brings together the two teams in a fierce battle of good and evil, which we obviously won.

Overall, while I can’t remember (or didn’t see) quite a few of the puzzles the experience itself blew me out of the water with the magic and joy I felt. As a team of 5, we escaped with 16 minutes remaining, and I enjoyed every second. This is an amazing room, one of the best in the country I’d say, and makes me excited to see what they do next.

Rating: 5/5

 

Mutiny

It’s the year of our Lord 1672, and you be right in the height o’ the golden age o’ piracy… After years of sailin’ the high seas, you and your crew have succeeded in your fair share of ambushes, and as a result – your ship is teemin’ with bounty. Yet you’re still suffering beneath the cruel wrath o’ Captain Starling – a notoriously bloodthirsty buccaneer, and your shipmates have decided you all shall take matters into your own hands. After all… you fought for the gold, so the gold is yours for the taking, aye? Once the old seadog has retreated to his berth for the night, you make your move. Get in, get the treasure and get out. You won’t have long before he starts to stir – and Starling shows no mercy to ANY soul…

After that amazing experience we needed to calm down a little, so found ourselves upon a ship in the easiest room. This was again misleading – although our initial perception was that of every other pirate game I’ve played (as we solved it as such, by guessing digits in combination locks and skipping steps), once we were out of the cabin we had clearly been played.

As you might expect for a ship, this game required more physicality than others, but these were more to reveal/solve puzzles than being the puzzle itself. There was one particularly unique feature of this room, which was fun to build and use, but otherwise, this was your average pirate room, just more polished and better executed. Ultimately we escaped with 22 mins left, and we had fun doing so, but we were looking forwards to the final room.

Rating: 3/5

 

Nethercott Manor

The old manor house is entwined with local legend, the living don’t remember the Nethercott’s, the family’s hay day was long ago. Local folk talked, whispers were heard, rumours began, lights were seen within. The Nethercott’s are long gone but something remains, an essence, a smell, a feeling, it’s in the fabric, in the walls, under the floor boards … it ticks, it creeks … take a trip into the past, uncover the family’s many secrets and glimpse their fleeting souls?

Finally, the room that put Tulley’s on the map (for me at least) – their largest and hardest (I think), as I didn’t even see half of the room – more like 1/3! It was also the one I was most nervous before, being a massive wimp and this being a haunted house. Nevertheless, I couldn’t pass the experience up, so I steeled myself and forged ahead. 

The atmosphere is obvious from the start, finding ourselves outside the front door of an abandoned house, with an atmospheric soundtrack doing nothing to ease my nerves. The immediate puzzles were fairly easy, clearly luring us into a false sense of security before we entered the manor itself.  Once inside, the set is appropriately dimly lit (until you’re able to find the fuse box at least), with many old-fashioned items of decor and themed puzzles attached. This is also when you get your first taste of the spirits that haunt the house, and it became clear that I was an easy mark for the GM. 

How scary?

For those of you of a similar disposition to me, I will just reassure you that nothing physically jumps out at you, but there are a lot of loud noises, which the GM can, and will, trigger whenever they feel like – especially if you are an obvious target stood next to the item in question.

This first room had the most frustrating puzzle I’ve seen in any room…ever. We found out afterwards that even the GMs will struggle to complete it, so usually, they take pity on the players and allow them to bypass it (ourselves included). Usually, this type of time sink would annoy me, especially in a room as large as this, but we actually addressed most of the room at the same time as this ‘puzzle’, and the GM clearly knew the right time to give us a nudge that gave us a chance of solving it, without feeling frustrated.

From this point, we barely saw each of our teammates again until close to the end of the room. I found myself with my mum solving a series of logic puzzles while being terrorised by the GM ghost. We also encountered a smell test, which worked well given we were in the kitchen. From what we saw afterwards, our teammates were working through similarly well-themed puzzles for their respective rooms, across a large variety of skills. 

The final puzzles were once more of the deductive style (my favourite), before quite a fun/creepy ending (depending on your perspective). We managed to escape with 9.34 left, which is quite an achievement given they used to sell this as an 80-minute room, and I know many people who didn’t manage to escape! This was definitely a great way to end the day, and almost my favourite room.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

Overall experience

The team at Tulley’s were fantastic, and the rooms were large and immersive, while still delivering high quality puzzles. We appreciated the drink offerings, and usually they serve food on the farm too. The introduction videos are also worth mentioning – very entertaining, and slightly unhinged, but they weave into an overall lore, which I’ve only seen a handful of other rooms do as effectively.

This is definitely a must-visit for any enthusiast. Although we could award this nearly all of our badges, we definitely think they’re most deserving of our “I believe” badge, for just how immersive and expansive their rooms were.

Accessibility

Minor spoilers

Audio – nearly all the rooms require some form of communication between players. Spellcraft, Nethercott and Dodge also featured audio puzzles/prompts, although not everyone will need to do these.

Vision – Nethercott, Mutiny and Outfitters all had fairly low lighting at points. Dodge required a small amount of colour identification, as did Nethercott and Outfitters.

Smell – Nethercott has a smell puzzle!

Spatial – In Dodge you start in a small cell, so if you have issues with space I recommend being the only person in yours. There are also some small spaces in Nethercott, Outfitters, Mutiny and Spellcraft, but none require all team members to enter. There are some smoke effects in Spellcraft, as well as Nethercott.

 

 

These rooms can be booked on the Tulleys website here

Kickstarters we’re excited for in Spring 2023

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Spring 2023 is finally here, and with it comes a fresh crop of tabletop games ready to take the world by storm. But there’s one genre that’s been steadily rising in popularity and creativity: puzzle games. From collaborative escape room experiences to head-scratching solo challenges, these games are proving that there’s more to the tabletop world than just rolling dice and moving pieces.

And where better to find these innovative and engaging puzzle games than on Kickstarter? Crowdfunding has become the go-to platform for independent designers and publishers looking to bring their ideas to life. With its passionate community of backers and the ability to fund projects directly, Kickstarter has become a hotbed of creativity in the gaming industry. So let’s dive into some of the most exciting puzzle game Kickstarters we’re looking forward to in Spring 2023!

 

Escape the Book Nook

From Enigmailed (one of our absolute favourite creators) comes a new experience: Escape the Book Nook. A miniature diorama escape room that snugly fits on your bookshelf. Escape the Book Nook is due to launch on Kickstarter some time in May.

 

Dysturbia: Your Customisable Escape Game Experience

Launching at the end of March, Dysturbia is a trio of play-at-home puzzle projects from homunculus SPIEL. Choose from a book, an advent calendar, or a weekly calendar, and unravel the mystery solo or with friends. You can learn more about the games, and this upcoming Kickstarter from their website here.

 

Threads of Fate: A Puzzletale [The Tale of Ord Remastered]

Missed Tale of Ord? Yeah, us too. But fear not – the original creator of the rare and expensive experience are working on a Remastered edition, called Threads of Fate: A Puzzle Tale. Little is known about this Kickstarter, except that it’ll launch some time in April.

 

Blind Faith

From murder mystery company, A Killing Affair, comes a murder mystery game ‘from beyond the grave’. Unlike a classic murder mystery, Blind Faith will be a tabletop game containing evidence players must sort through and solve to ‘crack the case’. We’re intrigued! Blind Faith launches Tuesday 21st March. Get in early to secure an earlybird bonus.

 

Murder on the Moon

Not as much is known about the latest Detective Society project, since it was officially announced 6 months ago in October 2022, but we’re excitedly awaiting more news about it soon. The Detective Society are best known for their murder mystery series, and a few smaller, family games launched on Kickstarter in the years that followed.

 

Have we missed one you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments!

Scarlet Envelope: Ashes of Persepolis | Review

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Ashes of Persepolis Review | Travel to Ancient Greece to solve a mystery of Persepolis, the priceless Persian city burned to ashes by Alexander the Great. The hero’s secrets are interwoven into an intricate puzzle guarded by Olympian Gods and an all-seeing Oracle. Only the mightiest can read Oracle’s cards to find out what really happened in Persepolis.

Completion Time: 1hr30
Date Played: February 2023
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Hard

I have been waiting a very, very long time for a game that’ll pique the interest of my partner. You see: they’re not really into puzzle games. Their idea of a good time is a museum or two with a pub break in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds excellent, but after our museum and pub trips I love nothing more than sitting down to a puzzle or two. Anyway, there’s a good reason I play a lot of at-home escape rooms solo. That was until the wonderful duo behind Scarlet Envelope announced their latest game: Ashes of Persepolis.

Historical? Yay! Ancient Greece? Woohoo! Absolutely drop dead gorgeous graphics? Check, check, double check.

But why do I bring up my partner? Well, they studied this very topic at university for their Undergraduate and Masters. In short, I had a veritable expert playing next to me, and one just as enthusiastic for a game as I was!

 

 

History and Mythology Come to Life

In Ashes of Persepolis, we found ourselves completely immersed in the part-fiction, part-truth world of Ancient Greece. Similarly, the story of Ashes of Persepolis spares no detail. Throughout this game we experienced a captivating tale set in ancient Greece that weaved together myth and history to create a rich and immersive, puzzle filled world. The game is based on the mystery surrounding the burning of Persepolis, the Persian city that was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.

Some Scarlet Envelope chapters are material-light and online-heavy, and others the opposite way around. In this one, there was a perfect balance. The envelope is thick, weighty, and filled with some of the prettiest little things you’ve ever seen. Peculiar, triangular shaped oracle cards, an enormous map of Ancient Greece on one side and stars on the other, and a few other trinkets that come into play as the game progresses. The game spares absolutely no detail, and is so gorgeous looking I’m genuinely considering hanging the map of Ancient Greece on my wall – yes! Really!

This story unfolds not just via the puzzles but also through cinematic content. You see, between each puzzle was a short, well put together video which revealed a little more of our strange quest each time. The videos add a sense of drama and intrigue, and provide a welcome respite between puzzles to sit back and relax. To play this game, we also Googled “Ancient Greek covers of modern songs” and let me tell you there are some fantastic ones out there. In short, the scene was set, candles lit, and we were well and truly immersed.

 

 

It’s all Greek to Me…

Once we got stuck in, we particularly enjoyed  doing unexpected things with the physicality and unique shapes of the oracle cards – though no spoilers here. You’ll have to play the game if you want to see exactly what I mean! My favourite of the puzzles was probably the one involving the aforementioned map of Ancient Greece, or a particular little delight moment whilst on the Artemis card (unsurprising, as they’re my favourite of the Greek gods). Each puzzle felt like a step forward in uncovering the mystery of Persepolis, and the video segments that followed were a great reward for solving them.

In terms of puzzles, well… This game was hard. Maybe the most difficult of the series yet. We also found the game to be slightly front-weighted in terms of difficulty, with the first few giving us the most difficulty. As the game unfolded, we found our rhythm eventually and it mellowed out from “wait, what?!” to a comforting level of challenging. If I had to give exact reasons why I believe we struggled (and I probably should, given this is a review), I’d say the following:

  1. When ordering your Scarlet Envelope you get to choose between easy or difficult. Though I’ve never confirmed with the creators (I fear their answer might be the opposite of what I expect), I assume I’m getting the difficult edition.
  2. Our third player was brand new to not just Scarlet Envelope, but tabletop puzzle games in general
  3. The lighting was low, and this game has a lot of small finnicky parts
  4. We lost one of the parts

Yes… You read that last one right.

Annoyingly, on the very first playthrough we lost a very important item – the item that would take us to the clues page. Emphasis on: We lost. It’s not impossible to solve without it, but we got very, excruciatingly, frustratingly stuck. We managed to bypass the clues page with a little guesswork and a little help from others, but came up against another issue when something else on that missing item proved to be vital to the gameplay. So we skipped that puzzle to the best that we could, and played on.

It was only a whole three days later when I finally found the missing piece. I can only assume it had fallen out when I first opened the envelope, and been brushed underneath a piece of furniture, because boy did we look at the time. Funnily enough the missing item was a coin. Where did I find it? Nestled against a few actual coins. I think my apartment is a ‘coin sink’ and somehow managed to suck in this pretend coin along with it. Hah.

I only mention it as – if it seems like we struggled on this game, it’s probably got more to do with my own losing of a vital piece. But thankfully the support team replied immediately (despite being in a very different time zone) and did their best to help at short notice. But if you’re reading this review and looking for advice before you start playing, my advice is: don’t lose anything.

 

 

The Verdict

Sure, but if we struggled so much – why do we still rate this game so highly? Well, its a very good game. What you get for the price with Scarlet Envelope is second to none, and Ashes of Persepolis might be one of their best looking tabletop experiences yet. I admire everything Scarlet Envelope create, and they’ve once again outdone themselves with Ashes of Persepolis. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

In terms of who we’d recommend this for… Probably only for more seasoned puzzlers – it’s better played as a part of the full Scarlet Envelope series, so by the time you get to this chapter you’re familiar with how the games work. Maybe invite your favourite history buff along (it helps, especially with the Greek language in the game), for the best experience.

In all, another solid addition to the Scarlet Envelope series.

 

Ashes of Persepolis can be purchased by heading to Scarlet Envelope’s website here.

Please Note: We received this experience for free in exchange for an honest review.

EscapeSC: Break the Internet | Review

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Break the Internet Review | Congrats! Your company’s new social media site, Sincere Screen, is about to get a big update! Nothing could go wrong…right?

Date Played: February 2023
Time taken: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Escape SC are easily one of the most unique groups of people out there crating escape games because… Well… They’re a university group! Damn, I wish we’d had something like this when I was at university.

As such, it’s always a little hard to talk about the “Escape SC” style, because it changes year on year when new students join the club, and other graduate (hopefully onto a very successful career in game design themselves). But what the group does do consistently is create one, sometimes two new digital games each year, and if there’s one thread uniting all of them, it’s that they’re really, really good.

 

 

Break the Internet

Their latest adventure is called “Break the Internet” and poses you, the player, as an unpaid intern for a website about to launch a big social media campaign. Except, the files are corrupted. Too bad your boss is on holiday and can’t remember her password to the laptop she’s saved all the correct imagery on. It’s up to you to fix everything. Find those photos, fix the issues, or risk your internship. So, no pressure, hey.

The story is light-hearted and contains more than a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour! We’ve all had a dreadful internship like this where your bosses think they can just shunt their problems onto your plate whilst they go off on holiday. I’ve no doubt the students at Escape SC are also creating from the typical student experience of sacrificing a lot to get into university, get the best grades, only to be given the most menial and needlessly stressful job ever. Yeah, I’ve been there too.

Sandwiched between a few other more ARG-like games, my regular team of Escaping the Closet (Al, Ash and Tasha) got together to give Break the Internet a go on a calm Monday evening. I’d just finished up with work moments earlier, and was excited to dive into my second shift internship at Sincere Screen. A call from my new boss? Sitting somewhere sunny and sipping a cocktail. Ugh, the audacity of some people. Haha.

 

Web-solutely Good Fun

In terms of gameplay and puzzles, Break the Internet differs in earlier games by the team such as Science Splice in that we found it a little bit shorter and a little bit easier – but no less fun. We really enjoy the humour and topics they cover, good puzzles are just the icing on the cake. You start at your boss’s desk trying to crack her password based on a number of clues. Then, once you get into the computer, you’ve got to search around for the files to find what you need.

As you can imagine, many of the puzzles revolve around computers – there’s search and find, there’s mathematical puzzles, and there’s a fun amount of interactive ones too. What can I say, I love drawing on the screen. Hidden among those puzzles were memes and gems from the early internet era, neatly tied in with a very realistic “file hunt” game mechanic we enjoyed a lot.

There’s a logical sense of progression and linearity, but at times that linearity is taken quite far. What I mean is, at any given time all of us were working on the same puzzle at the same time. This is part in the way the game is set up, but also in the way that when one person clicks something it redirects for every player. So all of us were, quite literally, on the same page. Without being able to have different players move around different screens at once, we resorted to using screenshots of information from one area to solve another puzzle, and in more moments than not, one person did the bulk of the clicking, whilst the rest of us watched patiently.

If this isn’t an issue for you, then you won’t be bothered by this – and for us, we were doing this room at a more leisurely pace than we normally would, so though unusual, we still found it fun.

 

 

Surfing the Bright and Colourful World Wide Web

One of the things we enjoyed the most about Break the Internet were the visuals. Quite simply, this is a really lovely looking game. There’s a lot of care and effort gone into making it pop, from 3D graphics to illustrations, to a bright and poppy internet interface. As with previous games, Escape SC do a lot with a platform like Telescape, typically used for converting physical escape rooms to a digital format, instead Escape SC take the genre of a play at home escape room and create fictional worlds packed with details. It’s a lot of fun.

The team have also gone to the extra effort of having video portions where you’re introduced to the characters of the game, setting the story and breaking up the puzzle solving chunks.

 

The Verdict

Break the Internet is a fun game. We completed it quite fast – but we still reckon you get a lot of value for your money with this one – at the time of writing, it costs $7 USD to play Break the Internet, but we were kindly provided with a code for free. It would be best played in a smaller group, perhaps even best played solo. Some of the earlier Escape SC games are no longer available, so whilst I don’t know what the team’s plans are for this one – it’s best to play it sooner than later!

 

Escape the Internet is a digital game and can be booked by heading to Escape SC’s website here.