Mission Reasonably Challenging if you’re like 7.
Location: at home game for ages 6 and up
Price: $29.99 + 2 AAA batteries
How it works
Operation Escape Room was one of three Spy Code games on the market targeted at ages 6 and up. While the other two Spy Code games take inspiration from lockpicking and safe cracking, Operation: Escape Room was purely designed as a kids play-at-home escape game for up to 4 players.
Operation: Escape Room was also a more substantial game than the other Spy Code installments. It was broken up into 4 main components that could be spread around a room:
Timer Strap – This bomb-esque device functioned as the game clock ticking down until either we won or time expired.
Key Cage – This was a dexterity challenge. We flicked a spinner to determine a difficulty setting and then used a pair of sticks to extract the key through a hole in the cage.
Quiz Master – We drew puzzle cards of varying difficulty and then input the answers into a nifty analogue answer checker. 3 consecutive correct answers earned another key. Get one wrong and the key dramatically retracted back into the device, requiring us to start over.
Lucky Spinner – We spun the device and then chose windows to flip open. Most windows provided clues to help deduce which window held the key.
Each puzzle offered a different challenge:
The Key Cage required some spatial reasoning and a whole lot of dexterity.
The Quiz Master’s puzzle deck had a mix of multiple choice challenges including:
- Basic counting
- Which of these does not belong
- Path following mazes
- Basic mathematical reasoning
The Lucky Spinner was essentially a game of luck and deduction (in that order).
The Quiz Master device was amazing. This completely analogue tech was incredible to operate. As the key pushed out with each answer it made me want to get another one right. If I got one wrong, the key safely yet loudly snapped back into the device. The interaction was fantastic.
The Key Cage was an honestly difficult challenge, especially when I had to remove it from the two harder slots. This was by far the most challenging puzzle in all of the Spy Code games.
The Timer Strap worked well as a game clock, and its ultimate release felt satisfying.
Operation: Escape Room is effortlessly replayable.
There was about 5 minutes worth of assembly and rule reading. It was straightforward. Assembly required a Phillips screwdriver and 2 AAA batteries.
The Lucky Spinner felt a little too rooted in chance for my taste. There was a bit of deduction, but it was basically puzzle roulette.
It’s your call if this is a shortcoming, but I feel like I need to call it out: The countdown timer looked like a bomb… with a strap… that was meant to be worn by a player. The documentation for Operation: Escape Room never called it a bomb, but it also required no imagination to make the leap. This doesn’t bother me, but some of the parents that I showed the game to side-eyed this component.
Should I buy Spy Code Operation: Escape Room?
Operation: Escape Room was a lightweight, inexpensive (when compared with real life escape rooms) way to introduce kids to adventure puzzling. It established the spy theme, and ran with it in an entertaining 15-minute game.
It is also possible to take this game and augment it with your own puzzles. You can tweak the challenge, add more time to the clock, and toss in more content if you want to refresh it. Personally, I hope that Yuzu, the maker of Spy Code, finds success with this game and issues expansions or sequels. There’s a lot of opportunity in the game structure.
If your kids are too young for escape rooms, but they keep feeling left out when you go to play, Operation: Escape Room could be just what you need to bridge the gap and open them up to a puzzle world that is broader than the jigsaw variety.
Order your copy of Spy Code Operation: Escape Room today.
Full disclosure: Yuzu sent us a free sample of this game.
(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)