- For Friends
- For Couples
- For Families
Ingenious puzzles and a crunchy mission: that’s what we know from exit games. In The Awakening Escape Tales, however, the story takes centre stage like in no other Escape Game for the home. Does this Escape Game manage to draw us into the story? And how good are the puzzles?
This story is really quite dark. Our wife is dead and our daughter’s life is hanging by a thread. Only with a crude ritual can we possibly save her. And from the beginning it is clear that this ritual has a high price. We slip into the role of Samuel, experience his story, influence it and do our best to save our daughter.
The dark story of this Escape Game is the main reason why this Exit Game for home is for adults (16 years and older). The atmosphere, the trappings (i.e. all the things that come up short in many exit board games) that should be in the box with Escape Games: The Awakening besides the puzzle fun. We’ll let ourselves be surprised…
For a story to really grab us, it needs time. The playing time for The Awakening Escape Tales is set at 3-6 hours, which is a really long time compared to most puzzle games, where you classically try to get through in an hour.
In this Escape Game, too, the players have to explore rooms and solve puzzles, but this time they don’t have to worry about the time running out (a real novelty for us!). The outcome of this Escape Game is also not clear from the start. There are a total of 7 possible endings. Does the game authors’ calculation work out and does the story keep the game fun for the entire duration of the game? How well and varied are the puzzles? That is exactly what this review is about. There are no real spoilers, of course!
Deckscape, EXIT game, Exit Puzzle or EXIT game with puzzle, Escape Room books, there are now many different Escape Games for the home. See our Game Tips for more besides those mentioned. Each game from each game maker differs in adventure, game play, conception and game material. The fun and excitement of these exit games always depends on the variety and versatility of the puzzles at different levels of difficulty. So far, however, no exit game has really succeeded in creating an atmosphere that comes close to the atmosphere in a real Escape Room…
A short summary with the pros and cons can be found at the end of the review with a crisp conclusion.
Note: Kosmos Verlag kindly provided us with a review copy of The Awakening Escape Tales. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our honest opinion.
With this Escape Game, it doesn’t matter how long you take to play the story. You don’t have to play it all at once, but you can interrupt it and continue the next day. There are 7 different endings and in fact one of the attractions of this exit game is to play as many puzzles as possible.
In any case, you need a smartphone or laptop to play. This is because you control the puzzles and can get helpful hints.
The game is quick to set up, because all you need to play is a game board, a pile of discovery cards, a pile of desperation cards, a pile of room cards and a pile of red action discs. Now all you have to do is open the corresponding website on your smartphone or laptop and start reading the first page of the story book aloud.
There are rooms on the game board that we explore by placing red action discs on an as yet unknown space in the room and reading aloud the corresponding text module in the story book. This is how you come across puzzles or find objects and exit cards with which you can leave the room. You will also get important information for the further course of the story. The number of action discs is limited, if they are used up and we can’t or don’t want to leave the room yet, we take a wonderfully named “desperation card” and carry out the instructions given there to get more action discs.
We move forward in the story by means of the story book, criss-crossing between numbered tidbits of text as we explore the room and solve puzzles. To solve the puzzles, you use the website, which also works without internet access. There you will also find tips and help and, once you have solved the puzzles correctly, you will find out the text fragment with which the story continues.
In this game, the rooms each consist of two cards that are designed in detail. In total, there are 9 rooms that you explore as a player. However, unlike adventure games, for example, every item depicted has a meaning. So by sheer logic you can’t (always) deduce how exactly you have to move through the room.
The illustration is moody, reduced and atmospheric. It worked for us in the sense that it drew us into the story.
The story: We embody Samuel, whose wife Jenny has already died and whose daughter Lizzy is afflicted with a strange disease. We are prepared to do anything to save her.
The mission: We embark on a mysterious, eerie journey to save Lizzy’s life. At any cost!
Story and puzzles are narratively linked. We learn more and more details as the story progresses and are drawn deeper into the story by tidbits of information. The puzzles are on the cards and are all classic logic puzzles, similar to those found in many escape games. Compared to the EXIT games from the same publisher, the puzzles are therefore less creative in their nature. All in all, it seemed to us that the puzzles had varying degrees of difficulty (which is subjective, however), but that they were all easy to solve.
Also, unlike most exit games, there is no disadvantage such as penalty points for using hints to solve the puzzles.
The biggest trump card of this escape board game is its story and the streamlined game mechanism. The Awakening Escape Tales managed to captivate us with its atmospheric, dark story and short puzzles, creating a real pull. This means that the game comes as close to the experience of a real Escape Game with its props as any of the not a few Escape Games for the home that we have played so far…
The Awakening Escape Tales creates atmosphere and suspense via the story with the “info tidbits” and via the illustrations on the cards. Both go hand in hand and are very well done. Compared to a gamebook such as Fabled Lands, you can clearly tell that game designers wrote the story – but for us the short texts worked great. Like in a game book, you make decisions to advance the story and are the protagonist in the game. But by exploring the rooms and the logic puzzles, which are presented visually, Escape Tales: The Awakening takes place less in the player’s head than game books.
Unlike the adventure games, there is unfortunately no reader for The Awakening Escape Tales in the Kosmos app. We didn’t mind having the texts read aloud in turn, but if you know their service, you might find it a pity.
The puzzles are all logic puzzles and lovers of the EXIT games from the Kosmos publishing house might criticise that they are not as creative and sophisticated. However, in our opinion, this variant is not primarily about clever puzzles, but about experiencing a story and immersing oneself in the story. Whereas some escape board games seem like a series of puzzles that you rush through as quickly as possible, here you can take your time, interrupt the game without any problems and continue playing the next day.
Well done is the solution and help system via the website. It is easy to use and all solutions can be followed very well via the multi-level hints.
In contrast to the EXIT games, The Awakening Escape Tales does not destroy or consume any game material. The game can therefore be played again or passed on without any problems. And the best thing is that you can make different decisions and thus play a different storyline with (partly) new puzzles and a different ending. However, it is already the case that after the first game you know about 70% of the puzzles and the story, the biggest difference is in the different endings. So the variance is kept within limits.
If you like game books and the adventure games, you will certainly get your money’s worth with this story-heavy puzzle game. However, there is no happy ending and the entire story is dark, so you should enjoy it.
If you are looking for sophisticated and creative puzzles like in exit games for professionals and advanced players, you are better off with these or the very puzzle-heavy but less difficult deckscape games.
My husband and I have a 3 month old baby at home and it was just perfect that this Escape Game can be interrupted so well. Clear recommendation for all mums and dads who want to do something as a couple again.
Exciting story, atmospheric rooms and lots of puzzles. The cooperative Escape board game manages to draw the players into its dark story like hardly any other Escape board game and offers well thought-out puzzles that fit the story. Definitely one of the best Escape board games on the market!
Games, fun and adventure. Indoors and outdoors – the main thing is to play with your favourite people. On Abenteuer Freundschaft you’ll find lots of ideas for activities for two, with family and friends.
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