It’s your first day as a lab intern at a mysterious lab that no one has heard of. Due to a lab accident, you’ve been split into two! It’s your job to put yourself back together using the power of science, or be forced to stay spliced forever!
Completion Time: ~40 minutes
Date Played: 24th May 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Teams of 2+, fans of SCIENCE stuff, light hearted humour.
For an experience that only costs $5 USD* (*at the time of writing), this game is honestly much better than a lot of play at home escape rooms I’ve played these past two years. At over 200 that’s no small claim either! It’s utterly charming, the puzzles are brilliant, the light hearted moments of humour really give the game personality, and whats more their use of technology and ‘choose your own ending’ is highly unique. I am very impressed! A round of applause is in order!
When we’re not playing the weekly Escape Game Olympics, team Escaping the Closet and I sometimes meet up mid-week for a digital game or two. This week we tackled Science Splice! Without much information being available online (yet), we had no idea what to expect. In hindsight, I think this is the best way to play Science Splice! Yes, even if that means I’m telling you to stop reading this review and go book it for yourself right now.
But, if you would like to know what to expect, then read on escapees:
It’s your first day at Ethical Labs and after receiving your induction from a fellow lab technician, you’re briefly left alone in the laboratory. There’s one rule at this lab. It’s so important it eclipses and dominates all other typical laboratory rules. DO NOT PRESS THE GIANT RED BUTTON. Terrible things will happen if you do this.
What did we do?
We pressed the big red button.
This controls the ‘Splicing’ machine, splicing you into 2 halves – the left brain and the right brain. But hey, not all is lost! You’ve got an hour to try and fix your mistakes and put yourself back together again. But it’s not so easy operating two different sides of one brain.
The best part about playing Science Splice is of course the multiple endings. That’s right! Depending on how you play and what decisions you make, you’ll encounter one of several endings. Some good, some back, and one brilliant secret ending that had me snorting with laughter.
As you may expect, this experience is played with a minimum of 2 players as at least one person needs to control each side of the brain. Each side of the brain will see very different information, for example if you’re looking at a postcard one side may see the pictures and another the writing, and so on.
One really clever thing about Science Splice is that it’s a game created in a software called Telescape. This is your typical point and click digital escape room game program, but Escape SC does something with Telescape I’ve never seen before: At the start of the game you’ll choose to split into the left or the right side of the brain. From here, the other team’s puzzles are completely locked off, except for some moments in the game where you can work collaboratively between both parties.
It makes sense though, the left/right side of the brains do perform different functions, but the parts of the escape room where you could physically manipulate objects, press buttons and activate machines were collaborative. It was a really cool touch and clever use of the software. Designers take note!
Technology aside, the experience was all round delightful from start to finish. A dash of humour and some very real consequences for doing things in certain ways kept us entertained from start to finish. Since you can die in this game (yep you read that correctly), be sure to actually read the rules and don’t do anything silly. Like run in the lab. Yeah you can also die from running around but I’ll let you discover that part by yourself!
Visually, Science Splice is awesome! There’s something so visually appealing about the almost-retro, 90s style of science textbooks and fun animations that Escape SC have nailed in Science Splice. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but after seeing the poster for this game there was no way I wasn’t going to book this game. Brilliant!
In terms of difficulty, Science Splice is comfortably tricky. For a group of beginner escape room designers, I think they pitched the timing and difficulty absolutely perfectly to have a mass market appeal and something in there for everyone. What’s more, the puzzles were unique and innovative too. Which in The Escape Roomer speak is code for there was no Morse Code, or Caesar Cipher that I’ve come to expect from play at home games these days.
I don’t want to spoil any of the puzzles as they’re all so clever, so I’ll just explain that it’s got a puzzle for every aspect of laboratory work you’d expect… And then some! Expect physical manipulation, obeying the rules of the lab, and also breaking the rules of the lab as you mix dangerous substances together and try not to blow anything up!
As a final note, the team behind Escape SC is really interesting, they’re a self proclaimed: “student group dedicated to creating escape rooms on campus.” There are thirteen creators who put their minds together to design Science Splice and all of them students at USC. Which *pauses to Google* I think stands for the University of South California, but as a Brit I’m happy to be corrected.
From what I can tell, this is a club dedicated to playing and building escape rooms (online or in person), anything from performances to live events, to escape rooms like this. The verdict? Somebody needs to hire every single one of these people right now because this group is 100% pure escape room talent.
As a side note, I’m now lamenting the fact my university never had a club as cool as this when I was there!
An absolute work of art, I can’t recommend Science Splice highly enough! This game is a real hidden gem that everybody should play at least once (I mean, why not twice? Play at the other brain half and see if you can uncover a hidden ending!) I absolutely cannot wait to see what the Escape SC team will come up with next.
Science Splice can be booked for $5 USD per team, you can find the link to book here.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and writes about news, and reviews covering London and UK south.