Posted in Escape Party

Captain Kidd’s Treasure – Escape Party

Children’s escape party print and play

A brand new escape party company has hit the online market in time for lockdown. Escape Party have launched with their first game, Captain Kidd’s Treasure and will be bringing another very soon. The game, aimed at those aged 8 and up has a pirate theme and we (as a family of 2 adults, a 7 and a 9 year old) set it up one afternoon to play as a team.

THE STORY

The year is 1699, the golden age of piracy, and the players are cutthroat pirates sailing the seas searching for gold. Having been given the chance to escape the life of piracy, by finding Captain William Kidd’s hidden treasure, the pirates head to his ship to begin their quest. As they enter the ships cabin the door slams behind them and they’re trapped…

Will they escape Captain Kidd’s ship, and can they find his hidden treasure and escape the life of piracy?

THE GAMEPLAY

Don’t be fooled by the name of the company. Although this would make a great party for any child, this is also an excellent way to entertain you and the family for an hour. The game relies on you to be able to print the game in full colour. Black and white will not work here as the game heavily relies on colour. It does mean you’ll need plenty of colour in your printer as there are 28 pages to the game play, not including additional instructions.

The game is split over 4 parts and everything you gather over parts 1,2 and 3 are needed to bring your game to a rousing finale. There are a number of puzzles that comprise each section and each are well laid out, understandable and fun to complete. I’d argue that the puzzles in challenge one are usual puzzle book types but as it’s designed for children in mind, these are the kind of puzzles they will get their teeth stuck into. Once past challenge one things start to get interesting. There is a genuinely clever map puzzle and the reuse of things from challenge one that makes a nice change to other print and plays. The gameplay in challenge 4 is particularly inventive and brings an element of physicality to the game. I won’t give too much away but we put the Nerf guns to good use!

The beauty of the game is that it doesn’t need an adult as GM. We decided to play it without having one and the companies website offers a place to enter answers and also hints for each puzzle. Checking the answers online negates the need for a GM and means you can all join in together. Again, unlike many print and plays, this is a really unique element and meant we really could enjoy it as a family.

DESIGN

The game has a huge amount of detail. I don’t think there is a single white space on any of the game pages. This means the game looks fantastic but also means that you are going to use a lot of printer ink. I’m torn between if the game limits its appeal because of the use of colour or if I applaud the designers from not scrimping on design to make it look fantastic. We’ve certainly played print and plays that are pure black and white but to have colour and it be such a vital part of the game is actually a really nice change. Be aware that due to colour, those who may suffer from colour blindness will need help. There’s a huge amount of work gone into making it look right and it certainly pays off here.

OVERALL

We had a very enjoyable hour playing Captain Kidd’s Treasure. The whole experience was pitched just right for its target audience and was engaging for everyone. Yes, kids at the lower end of the age range will certainly need help from an adult but who doesn’t love getting involved in an escape game right?

You can buy Captain Kidd’s Treasure here. At the time of writing, the game costs £15 to download. It also gives you access to a designer’s kit so you can tweak and change elements of the game to suit your own family.

Escaped: 51:56

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Please note: We did not pay to play this experience but this did not influence our review.

Posted in Escape Team

Escape Team – Print and Play

Episodic print and play game

With the country under near on lock down, we chose to take on a different kind of escape challenge with games from Escape Team.

THE STORY

The premise of each episode of the Escape Team series is that you have got to solve and prevent some kind of disaster that a dastardly villain has placed you in the thick of. Scenarios range from trapped civilians in a lift to the usual defuse a bomb situation. The 5 missions are Central Station, Terminal, Elevator, Roller coaster and Subway

THE GAMEPLAY

The game play is straight forward and simple. You need a printer, scissors, tape and the Escape Team app. A craft knife could also be useful for some of the more fiddly bits of the game. None of it requires any craft ability at all. Each game is played in phases using the game’s app that is available on both Apple and Android. This app, which tells the missions’s story, is where you input the codes once you have worked out the puzzles. Each time you must enter the codes in the correct order although people can work in the puzzles in whichever order you wish. The app will also give you hints if you get stuck but be aware that it will only offer hints for the phase you are currently on. Stuck on phase 4? You won’t get any clues until the first three phases are complete. The Escape Team website allows you print off the puzzles for all missions and both the training game and first mission are free to play. The app then allows you to purchase the next 3 mission for 99 cents (about 75p at the time of review).

Rather than talking about the experience as a whole, I want to break down each mission as we played.

Training Game

The training game gives you a 10 minute limit. It is three phases which really show just what Escape Tame is about. None of the puzzles are over complex and enthusiasts will complete them fairly easily. This isn’t the point though, the idea is to get you acquainted with how the game and the app work.

Mission 1: Central Station

This is the first full mission and comes in 5 phases. Each puzzles is different to the previous and allows you to spread them out and working on them individually. It pays to read the instruction and during this this mission we discovered the importance of using a pencil and having a rubber handy. Either that or have the printer handy to print off another copy if you make a mistake. There are 5 excellent puzzles here and each proves a little bit of a challenge for the 15 minute time limit.

Mission 2: Terminal

This is the first of the paid puzzles available from the Escape Team app. Again, it comes with 5 phases which have a series of different puzzles. We found this one a little easier than mission 1 but this could have been because we had worked out the way the games had been designed but also because some of the puzzles are classic escape room fare. This doesn’t detract from the game at all. If anything, it gives you a real sense of achievement as you look at it immediately and get straight to work. We completed the 20 minute escape with about 9 minutes to spare. A decent way to spend 75p of your money.

Mission 3: Elevator

It was mission 3 that we saw the difficulty begin to increase. Some of the puzzles here are much trickier. Both in their puzzles but also in your dexterity. One puzzle did frustrate us but I guess that’s why this one has a 30 minute timer. We definitely used more clues with this one and only just escaped within the time frame. Puzzles really do require some thinking and here, if you have more than the team of two we had, it would be an advantage. Just like the previous missions, this one is worth every penny. I think it’s important to note here that you don’t have to complete the missions in order so you can dip in and out at any point you wish.

Mission 4: Rollercoaster

Rollercoaster has a real mixed level of difficulty. Some of the puzzles are reasonably easy and will only take you a few a minutes to complete but others will really tax your brains. The mission is designed so that the easier ones come in later phases which means you’ve got to solve the hard ones first to make progress. This mission also has my favourite puzzle of the series. Very simple but very clever to use the simple tools you have in order to get the code you need. Rollecoaster is a decent game that will use most of your 30 minutes. Just make sure you have someone maths orientated in your team, you’ll need them!

Mission 5: Subway

The final mission available from Escape Team takes place below ground, This time, save the subway and the people on board. This is the hardest of the 5 missions. Each of the 5 phase puzzles does take some time to complete and there is one particular puzzle that could give you a series of different answers depending on how you approach it. Phase 3 was a clever concept but also stumped us for some time before the hints really helped. It did mean that we were very low on time by this point due to the ambiguity of phase 1. Still, a clever mission and one enthusiasts will enjoy.

Make your own escape

It would be remiss of me not to mention one element that Escape Team have on their website and that is the ability to use the app and website in order to create your own escape game. There is also a forum on here that allows others to upload there and you can have a go at them for free!

DESIGN

The game is designed to be in black and white in order to save your ink. The quality of the design is excellent and its clear that this hasn’t been done in Microsoft word and rushed together. There has been some really design work done and, with some of the intricacies with puzzles, its obvious time has been taken in order to design the puzzles carefully. It’s a print at home game that has a really professional feel to it. Everything you need is clear and obvious and the design makes the gameplay a pleasure.

OVERALL

For a series of missions that would cost you a small fraction of a real escape room (even with your own printing costs), Escape Team have created something that is real value for money. This will easily fill a couple of hours of your time on an afternoon or evening. When was the last time you got 2 hours of entertainment for less than a fiver?

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****