Codex – Spaceship Graveyard [Review]

All of the pop culture references in the galaxy.

Location:  Laval, Canada

Date Played: April 6, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Spaceship Graveyard was a love letter to a few decades worth of space-based science fiction and fantasy.

Codex structured this escape game as a largely split-team experience and did so in a way that we hadn’t seen before. This was an exciting twist on both the spaceship and split-team genres.

In-game: a spaceship's bridge.

Spaceship Graveyard was massive, but it felt a little too empty. On the one hand, that added a bit of spookiness. On the other hand, it just felt like it needed more going on. That went for the gameplay as well. There was a lot of narrative, but the line between story and gameplay was blurry.

There’s plenty to love in Spaceship Graveyard and lots of room for iteration and improvement as well. We absolutely recommend Spaceship Graveyard for its interesting gameplay twists. In its current state, however, if you only have time for one game at Codex, it should be The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent.

We love what Codex is doing. It’s exciting to see a new company put out two games that push boundaries. We cannot wait to see where they go from here.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • An interesting take on split-team gameplay
  • So many nerd references. So many.
  • The doors. You’ll know them when you see them.

Story

We had teleported into a universe where Earth had made contact with extraterrestrials centuries ago. This alien influence had sped up development of technology and altered all facets of life.

The China America Alliance had dispatched ships to find new habitable planets. One SPC-2202 had signaled the discovery of such a place… then nothing was heard from it again.

We were dispatched across time and space to investigate SPC-2202, determine what the crew had discovered, and decide the best course of action for humanity.

In-game: a spaceship's sleeping pod.

Setting

Split into two groups, we boarded the spaceship from two different sides, each group puzzling through different compartments on the way to the bridge.

The ship was huge and spartan. It had a Star Trek-like cleanness to it.

Spaceship Graveyard was loaded with references to a wide variety of classic space-based science fiction.

It also had some really amazing doors.

In-game: an opening iris door.
If this door is ever stolen… it’s probably in my house.

Gameplay

Codex’s Spaceship Graveyard was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

About 2/3 of the game was played as a split-team experience. The entire team was together for the last 1/3.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, communicating, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ There were two separate teleporters to take us to Spaceship Graveyard. This made sense from a gameplay standpoint because it was a split-team game. Codex justified this from a narrative perspective as well: as their first teleporters, they were under powered and couldn’t transport the entire group together. This was elegant storytelling.

➕ An early interaction ramped up the narrative drama of Spaceship Graveyard.

➕/ ➖ In one set of Spaceship Graveyard we had open and easy communication. In another area of the starship, we couldn’t see each other and relied on shouting. There was an opportunity to improve the ship’s internal communication channels.

➕ Many of the puzzles in Spaceship Graveyard required teamwork and forced communication.

➖ For one especially challenging puzzle, however, there was nothing the other group could do to help and nothing new they could do to advance the game. This created an awkward bottleneck with downtime for some and added pressure for others.

➖ The set was uneven. The spaceship was spacious, but the props and set pieces were sparse. It felt oddly empty. Additionally, half the group explored a more compelling space than the other half did.

➖ We were really excited about one set piece, which was fun to explore, but turned out to be largely irrelevant to our experience. It felt like a missed opportunity.

➕ Outer space looked great. The projections were impressive. The set was at its best when we could see beyond the spaceship’s interior.

➖ Codex attempted to deepen our connection to this world through an understanding of the crew of SPC-2202. Instead of working this into the gameplay, however, it felt bolted on as reading. We had trouble parsing its relevance. In this instance, the extra world texture was distracting.

➕ Codex delivered narrative through a surprising reveal. It was a great moment.

➖ We didn’t realize when we’d won. We made a choice, but it wasn’t an informed choice. We had a inkling that we were choosing to be good guys or bad guys, but we didn’t understand the consequences of either action. It left us confused about how – or even whether – we’d completed our mission.

➕That door. Did I remember to mention the door? I’m a fan of that door. I hope that I’m not over-hyping the door.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is parking in the back on the building near the entrance to the escape rooms.

Book your hour with Codex’s Spaceship Graveyard, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Codex provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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