Escape Hunt Day of the Dead Review | Tonight, it is the Day of the Dead and amongst the festivities, music and colour, lies a legendary challenge: the chance to be reborn. Have you got what it takes to lead a skeleton crew of expert thieves into the most heavily guarded building in the whole underworld? For one night only, the walls between the real world and the afterlife have come down and the greatest prize of them all sits inside a secure vault somewhere inside the palace, waiting to be taken by someone bold enough to try.
Date Played: October 2021
Time Taken: 1 Hour 2 Mins
Number of Players: 1
Bright, colourful, yet slightly spooky
Its no surprise that I am a big fan of the print at home games produced by Escape Hunt over the last year or so. Everything is of the highest quality, with some outstanding graphic design and solidly thought out themes and puzzles. And this game is certainly no exception.
The theme grabbed me instantly. I have real love for all things based on Dias De Las Muertos and I am surprised that its a theme that isn’t more widely used in the escape room community. The combination of traditional family values, beautifully colourful painted faces and the more ominous death factors give some real endless opportunities for puzzle designers – and the guys at Escape Hunt have certainly gone to town with this theme, and grasped the challenge with both skeleton painted hands!
Sensory overload?! You bet! But my eyes were buzzing with the amazing colours involved in this game. Obviously, your printer might not enjoy it, but your eyes certainly well. But don’t worry, the guys at Escape Hunt have you covered – the opening page of the PDF file clearly shows what you need to print to make the game a little more pocket-friendly on your printer!
Strike up the band, Amigos
Getting a sense of immersion from a print at home game will always prove difficult. One way that is always a winner for me, is the use of sound and music. With Day of the Dead, the website gives you the opportunity to strike up the Mariachi band and indulge in the sounds of Mexico. And whilst the soundtrack does get somewhat repetitive, it really adds a nice touch and a little bit of atmosphere often lacking at print at home games.
My favourite subject – puzzles! Now whilst I’d suggest that the majority of the puzzles are relatively simple, don’t go thinking you’ll just sail on through without too much to test you. There are some common puzzle themes which you may have likely seen before, but what Escape Hunt do really well, is give these a subtle twist. There are around 10 puzzles within this game and all are accessible to any level of player – the kids will love how they look graphically, and can certainly get involved without question. The more experienced players would likely love this as a solo or duo game.
The game is broken down into three distinct sections – as ever, no spoilers, however Escape Hunt have cleverly placed page blockers into the game to make sure that you don’t accidentally turn the page to the next puzzle and ruin your journey to secure what’s hidden within the vault. And whilst the game is linear in nature, there would be no harm in separating away from each other during each of three sections to play games as individuals and then pulling together when required.
The game also ties itself together well, by using a set of bones which are found early on in the process. These have some odd encryptions on them which need to be referred to on a number of occasions throughout the game. This is a really solid way of not making the gameplay feel too sporadic.
As with all the Escape Hunt games, there is a very trusty online guide available. As you progress through the series of puzzles, should you find yourself up the Mexican creek without a paddle, here you can find a selection of hints. The first hint for each puzzle tends to be rather cryptic but gives just enough of a nudge to push you forward. If this still isn’t enough there’s a secondary hint for each game which is much more obvious. And whilst I wouldn’t expect many players would need them, you can also find the answers for each puzzle too. It should be noted that this online guide is just as beautifully colourful as the printed documents and is a real treat for the eyes.
Cutting skills at the ready!
Don’t forget your scissors for this game though amigos! Two major puzzles (and I’d probably also suggest my favourite of the entire game), need you to put your cutting skills to the test. I often worry that you lose your flow when having to stop to cut things up when playing printed games, which can often a frustration. And whilst one of the two games did require me to put my expert arts and crafts skills to the test, it actually gave a much greater sense of achievement when I completed it. Instead of just reading through material, having these more interactive factors, were a perfect addition.
The finale of this game is very clever. The answers to your final puzzles just appear to be a bit of a muddle; I was certainly questioning whether I had messed up, but I shouldn’t have feared! Make use of the printed decoder tool and you’ll soon find how to complete your mission! Head online to enter your secret password and find if you can what secrets there are to unveil.
When all was said and done, this is certainly a very solid outing from Escape Hunt. The combination of some well designed puzzles (both with and without the requirement of my trusty scissors!), possibly the most beautifully created graphics for a print at home game I’ve played, and a really cracking theme, make this one of the games I am unlikely to forget in a hurry.
Sounds like fun right? If you think so head on over to the Escape Hunt website at this link.