Amazon Alexa – Escape the Room [Review]

“Alexa play escape room.” 🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Location: at home on an Amazon Alexa

Date Played: March 4, 2018

Team size: 1-¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ; we recommend 1-4

Duration: as long as it takes (They took us 10-20 minutes each.)

Price: free to enable

REA Reaction

Escape The Room on Alexa was an escape room in our own heads. While the interface was clunky, and the puzzle quality varied, it engaged the entire group for the entire time. It was entertaining and it cost nothing.

We recommend that you play a few real-world escape rooms before trying Escape The Room on Alexa.

An Amazon Echo Dot.

Who is this for?

  • Families
  • People with an imagination
  • People who speak clearly
  • Players with at least a little experience in physical escape rooms

Why play?

  • Free
  • Interesting and different
  • Engaging small-group, at-home activity

Story

Escape The Room on Alexa presented 4 straightforward escape room scenarios:

  • The Office
  • The Car
  • The Jail Cell
  • The Garage

In each scenario, for reasons unknown, we were locked in the location and had to escape.

Setting

We sat around an Alexa. Once we entered a scenario, we were given a verbal description of the space and presented with the different directions that we could look. When we chose a direction, we were given a description of the items and scenery in that part of the game.

For all intents and purposes, these escape rooms existed in our own minds.

Escape The Room - Alexa logo

Gameplay

Escape The Room on Alexa was a shockingly by-the-numbers escape room game. In order to escape, we had to search the room, identify clues, input codes, and discover other interactions.

The key difference: this escape room was entirely spoken.

We observed and manipulated the environment by speaking basic commands. Fair warning: there was a learning curve on the commands.

Beyond that, we took a few notes, and Lisa drew a map of each space as we explored it.

Standouts

The voice interface. If you have Alexa, you don’t need anything else to play this escape room. (Pencil and paper were helpful, but not necessary.)

We were able to play collaboratively as a larger group. Because it lacked a physical interface, we could all play simultaneously. The game existed in all of our heads. We took turns talking to Alexa and building off each other’s ideas. While we could only speak one at a time, we could all play the entire time.

The staging was lighthearted and amusing. Alexa’s script included a few jokes. As we tried to get Alexa to do our bidding, we had a lot of laughs.

The gameplay worked well. We applied our knowledge of the physical world to these imaginary gamespaces. Tools worked as we intended. It was exciting to make these connections and hear the reveals. Through these interactions, the puzzles flowed.

Hints were published on a website. They were easy to access and straightforward.

Shortcomings

Getting started was bumpy. It took some time to get used to how the verbal interface worked with the gamespace. We got frustrated when Alexa wouldn’t let us search where we wanted to search, for example, try as we might to direct her. It took time to understand how to speak to her and what types of interactions would move the game forward. It would have been helpful to play through a tutorial before beginning one of the escape rooms.

Even once we got the hang of it, the verbal interface was clunky. It was rigidly structured. We couldn’t speak or explore naturally. We had to work around its idiosyncrasies.

At times, Alexa spoke a lot of information too quickly for a listening player to puzzle through it. When we missed the information, we had to go back through an entire branch of the tree to get back to it.

The solution to one of the four games seemed a bit far fetched when compared with the rest of the scenarios, which were fairly grounded.

The puzzles quality and logical soundness was inconsistent.

Alexa kept trying to quit the game. This grew old fast.

Tips for Playing

  • Speak clearly.
  • Say “Alexa, open Escape the Room” to begin the game. If you try another phrasing, you’ll hear this song.
  • You must be facing an item to observe or interact with it.
  • There are no objects behind you. Backwards is not an available direction.
  • If Alexa asks you if you’d like to exit the game, you must answer “no” to continue playing.
  • Alexa does not understand synonyms. Use the exact words she uses to describe in-game objects.
  • Play The Car last. It was by far the most challenging.

Ask Alexa to open Escape the Room, and tell her that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

(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.)

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