The handcuffs go click. Well, that’s the way it goes: You win some, you lose some. Sneaking in and stealing the secret documents and then a relaxed life on a deserted island. But that could be thwarted. Not that it was difficult, there was simply a lack of time and so we have to spend the next few years in a prison cell in Zekestan. Maybe we are not good at breaking in. Well, we have time for that now and maybe we will develop into smart escapees.
Escape Room The Game the third round
Identity Games and Noris are releasing the third expansion wave to their Escape game system. In Secret Agent – Operation Zekestan we are undercover agents. Our job, if we take it on, is to infiltrate the villa of a self-appointed dictator and get the secret plans. Sure, of course, this has to be done again in just one hour and it’s also clear that we can’t just walk into the villa and take the plans. There are three stages to master before we have done our job. If we get stuck, we can use our help cards again.
These are of course also available in the second case: The Dentist. In 1924 we become victims of a cruel dentist. After being anaesthetised, we wake up and have to escape from the grasp of Dr Siènski. The clock is ticking here too. We have one hour to defeat the doctor. At first glance, his intentions are good. The fight against bad teeth is his life’s work, but his methods are not exactly legal.
The experiences with the adventures of Escape Room The Game are very mixed. If we liked the first adventures very much, they were very much reduced in the expansions and didn’t seem as vivid as in the beginning. The hope is, of course, that the new adventures will again manage to put the story in the center of our attention. At least the themes seemed to point to more diversity. To be an agent once, who hasn’t always wanted to do that? The second case also sounds interesting, not everyone goes to the dentist with joy and so the curiosity is naturally high how this topic is implemented.
Secret Agent Operation Zekestan
The setting is relatively simple. Megalomaniacal ruler wants to take the world hostage. So of course a secret service has to go in and thwart the plans or in our case rather get the plans. We get into the mood again with a little story that picks us up thematically. Still, this is a big plus for Escape Room The Game.
So we sit down, ready to save the world. Pen and paper drawn and off we went. We were of the opinion that it couldn’t be that difficult, because after all the case was classified as normally difficult. So we started to solve the first of three parts. The structure of the first code was described in detail. But maybe it was the long break between the last adventure and this one or the weather. We just didn’t really get going on the first part. We had to resort to the hints and even after that it didn’t seem logical to us why exactly this had to be the solution. Only at the end of the adventure the aha effect came to us.
But we didn’t let ourselves be put off and of course we dared to approach the second part. And now the mental machine seemed to run again. The riddle was conclusive and after the stuttering start it now went faster. We could ignore hints and before we knew it, we were already in the final spurt.
And here was our personal Waterloo. To anticipate the end, we did not manage to solve the case. Was it the help system? Not really! We tried to blame the failure on the help system but it was only our failure. Again and again we preached to our friends, take a good look at everything. Well, and this time we fell into our own trap. Because we did not examine everything, we also failed.
We also looked at the help system and got nowhere. Of course the publisher was to blame and not us. Wasn’t it? But at least the publisher offers the solution for download. And so we went to the website in frustration. We downloaded the walkthrough and were ready to complain about the publisher even more. Oh, the first sentences for the review were already forming in my head. But strangely, what the solution showed did not fit to what was on our table. Why was the picture different from what was on the table? Should it be a misprint?
NO! We had simply forgotten to take a look at the backsides. And no publisher can do anything about that. Well, so of course there was something negative resonating. But doesn’t that also belong to an escape room, this complete failure, because we did not get it and not because the puzzle was too difficult? With some distance I can only affirm this. So this expansion was also a new experience for us: complete failure because of the inability of both players.
After all, one expansion is no expansion, so the second case also had to be solved quickly. This takes us back to the year 1924, when a visit to the dentist is due, what can go wrong? Quite a few things! After we were anaesthetised by Dr. Siènski, we should now manage to escape, and besides, we also have to uncover the dark machinations of the doctor. After the defeat in Zekestan our senses were sharper than ever, every little thing caught our attention. After all, The Dentist was supposed to be harder than the spy adventure. Motivated, we started the first part of the adventure. And it went unusually well, too well for our taste. Had we missed anything? We tried the first code and it was right.
Good, so something more difficult had to come. But even the second part was slipping away. Because actually everything is described exactly and since we looked at everything again this time, we only had to do what we were told. So also the second part was no problem for us. Although one had to think a little bit more than in the first part, it wasn’t that difficult to feel.
But an adventure is only finished when you solve all the parts and we already had many an adventure behind us where we failed in the third act. But not this time. With almost half an hour left on the clock, the chrono decoder announced our victory. Which of course was balm for our ego, after we had failed before.
The next expansions please
After the weaker expansions Casino and Space Station followed now again two expansions which were clearly more fun. Even if it was frustrating at first with one expansion. What is pleasant about both expansions is that there were no time-waster tasks. So tasks where you have to fill in fields or something similar. Tasks that only exist to let the time pass by. Both expansions are well achievable. The fact that we found the dentist so easy is positive, but this is also due to the fact that for my taste the adventures have become more straightforward. In previous adventures we had several puzzles that we had to solve to get the code. Is it now the case that you get a puzzle and this puzzle provides you with the whole code. We could already observe this trend with the competitors from the publisher KOSMOS. Here we simply wish for more different puzzles in one adventure part. And this should be continuous and not like in Secret Agent Operation Zekestan only in one of the three parts.
Unfortunately I also have to say that Secret Agent Operation Zekestan is the weaker of the two adventures. The theme is there, but is not transported as well. At no point did I feel like a secret agent. A secret agent is not only supposed to solve puzzles, but he lives a dangerous life and unfortunately that wasn’t transported through the game. Just take a chance and make a decision. Just making decisions and living with it, is completely missing in Escape Room The Game. What has already celebrated its debut in other Escape games, could have also provided more excitement in the Agent Adventure.
This is different with The Dentist. The teeth theme runs through the whole adventure and makes me feel more involved in the theme. What I personally did not like, however, was the straightforwardness of the puzzles. We didn’t really have to puzzle and think, because everything was described exactly how to solve the puzzles. That was too simple for my taste and did not correspond to the level of difficulty. In my personal opinion it was easier than in Secret Agent Operation Zekestan.
Turned the corner once again
It seems that Identity Games has taken the criticism they received in previous adventures to heart and improved the adventures. No more time-wasters like in Space Station and no more impossible and illogical puzzles like in Casino. If now the topic is brought to the fore a little bit more and is not just an accessory, Escape Room The Game can stand out from the mass of escape games again. But until then the two expansions are already a nice entertainment to get away from reality for an hour.