Exit: The Game – The Polar Station [Review]

Alien on the rocks.

Location: at home

Date Played: May 21, 2018

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60-120 minutes

Price: $13 to 20 per game

REA Reaction

While we’ve generally enjoyed Exit: The Game’s boxed escape room series, The Polar Station didn’t totally click with us. It had some of the coolest tangible puzzles and it leaned into the destructible nature of the series, but it felt like these puzzles were often missing a bit of clue structure. Because of the gaps in the hint system, we’d have to reach for solutions.

I loved the ideas that Exit: The Game played with in this installment, but I have to recommend their other boxes ahead of this one.

Exit The Game: The Polar Station box held over assorted game components.

Who is this for?

  • Tabletop gamers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience
  • People who are fans of the Exit: The Game series

Why play?

  • Clever puzzles.
  • Mass component destruction. This Exit: The Game is particularly destructible.
  • Low cost

Story

Our Arctic research lab had gone into lockdown. We had to determine what had triggered the lockdown and escape before our lab became our grave.

Setup

The Polar Station functioned identically to Exit: The Game’s previous installments.

The series is puzzle-focused, with a light touch story, and destructible components.

The components are 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]

Gameplay

Exit: The Game’s The Polar Station was a puzzle-driven escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.

Analysis

+ In Exit: The Game boxed escape rooms, every detail mattered. The Polar Station was no exception.

? We found the puzzles in The Polar Station to be more challenging than in the other installments from Exit: The Game. We struggled to reach a lot of aha moments. Some of these may have been us underperforming. However…

– … Many of the puzzles lacked adequate cluing. We’d be on the right track, but missing a crucial detail that wasn’t really there for us to uncover.

– … This revealed a limitation of Exit: The Game’s 3-tiered hint system. For more complex puzzles, the hints jumped straight from basic observations to the solution. The hints provided all the information we’d already gleaned from the puzzle… and then the solution. Looking back at other games in the series, I think that the more complex puzzles deserve a 4th hint card to help players who have almost solved the puzzle.

– The “strange objects” didn’t really warrant their hype. There wasn’t any reason these components needed to be put on a pedestal.

The Polar Station asked us to think outside the box. Having played the earlier games by Exit: The Game, we saw this coming, but The Polar Station still delivered a satisfying aha moment.

+/- 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

  • Make sure that you have a pair of scissors handy.
  • More than in other Exit: The Game installments, an X-ACTO knife and cutting surface help a lot. It’s not a requirement, but I highly recommend having them on hand.
  • 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, especially for The Polar Station.

Pickup a copy of Exit: The Game’s The Polar Station, 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.)

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