“It’s just a flesh wound!”
Location: at home
Date Played: May 24, 2018
Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 60-120 minutes
Price: $13 to 20 per game
The Forbidden Castle followed the format we’ve come to expect from Exit: The Game, with some added twists. It offered more challenge than the original releases from Exit: The Game and these were generally fair and fun. It built toward a silly conclusion, but also a culmination that felt bigger than the sum of its card-stock parts.
If you’re a fan of Exit: The Game, this one is absolutely worth playing.
If you’ve never played Exit: The Game, I’d strongly encourage you to start with one or two of their earlier installments.
If you aren’t a fan of Exit: The Game, I wouldn’t expect this one to suddenly convert you.
Who is this for?
- Tabletop gamers
- Puzzle lovers
- Players with at least some experience
- People who are fans of the Exit: The Game series
- This is our new favorite from the Exit: The Game series
- Clever puzzles
- A silly, but fun final puzzle
- Low cost
The Forbidden Castle was structured as a direct sequel to The Abandoned Cabin. While on vacation, our imprisonment-prone family entered an old castle and suddenly realized that we were locked in by an unseen villain who had left a series of clues and puzzles that could lead us to our freedom, if we were cunning enough.
The Forbidden Castle functioned identically to Exit: The Game’s previous installments.
The series is puzzle focused, with a light touch story, and destructible components.
The components were all paper-based, including decks of cards, printed booklets, and card-stock “strange items.” If you are unfamiliar with the basic operation of this series, check out our review of their first three titles:
Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin, The Secret Lab, & The Pharaoh’s Tomb [Review]
Exit: The Game’s The Forbidden Castle was a puzzle-driven escape room with a higher level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.
+ The first few puzzles had a good difficulty curve.
+ Overall we loved the collection of puzzles that we encountered in The Forbidden Castle.
– One puzzle was too ambiguous and hinged on an unusual combination of observation and trust. Conceptually, this puzzle was brilliant. In practice, the execution was too opaque.
+ The Forbidden Castle’s components were physically small, but a few of the puzzles felt much bigger.
– One of the puzzles was answerable without actually solving the puzzle.
+ The Forbidden Castle used the same decoder disk answer system as all of the other Exit: The Game installments. However, in this one, they added a good twist.
+ The final puzzle was a lot of fun and a touch silly, which added to its charm.
– One of the “strange objects” was a sword. We needed to trim this sword to make the puzzle work properly. Admittedly, this was a minor issue in a game where we were regularly taking scissors to the components.
– There was a decision point in The Forbidden Castle. The team essentially had to choose blindly between two different puzzles. Solving one puzzle destroyed the other, which was a bummer. We backtracked post-game and sort of figured out the other one, but we didn’t love trashing a puzzle, especially without any context guiding the decision.
+/- If you’re already a fan of Exit: The Game, then this offered more of the gameplay that we’ve come to expect from the series. If you don’t find the series enjoyable, I don’t think that this new installment will dramatically change your opinion.
Tips for Playing
- You’ll need a pair of scissors.
- Do not discard the box or any game materials until after you have finished playing.
- It isn’t possible to replay this game without going to great lengths to copy and preserve destructible materials. You can do it, but I don’t think it’s worth it.
Pickup a copy of Exit: The Game’s The Forbidden Castle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Full disclosure: Thames & Kosmos sent us a complementary reviewer’s copy 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.)