Escape Room in Box: Flashback is included in our recommendation guide for Tabletop Escape Games. For more of the best remote escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.
Update 3/16/21: If you enjoy Flashback, we hope you’ll check out our interview with game and puzzle designers Juliana Moreno Patel and Ariel Rubin (The Wild Optimists) on The Reality Escape Pod.
Location: at home
Date Played: July 27, 2019
Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-3
Duration: 90 minutes
I’m going to open by being especially up front. We know the creators of Escape Room in a Box very well.
There’s a mutual respect and friendship that we need to be clear about. David has collaborated with the women behind this product on a television pilot… and there’s enough affection in this friendship that Juliana and Ariel named the main character of Flashback Dr. Lisa David.
No one is hiding anything.
We wrote as honest a review as we would for anyone else, but if you’d like to disregard our thoughts on this product, feel free to stop reading now.
Mainstream, mass-produced tabletop escape games are almost exclusively made from paper; Escape Room in a Box is the exception.
We were big fans of Escape Room in a Box’s The Werewolf Experiment and we’re huge fans of Flashback. Anyone can open this box and just play it. There aren’t laborious rules, quirky apps, or unusual nuances to understand. That’s how escape rooms are supposed to work.
The weakest points in this game were two of the puzzles that felt like they needed a little more work. One lacked precision; the other required lighting conditions that won’t always be present. Neither of these broke the game in a significant way.
From the writing, to the art, to the puzzles, Flashback demonstrated that Escape Room in a Box wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. These are still two of the strongest, most escape room-y tabletop games on the market.
Whether you’re new to the genre or you play them all, we recommend Escape Room in a Box’s Flashback.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Any experience level
- Solid puzzles that are far more tactile than most tabletop escape games
- A cute story and strong writing
We’d received an urgent letter from Dr. Lisa David warning us that we were in grave danger. One of her friends had descended into madness and was coming after us.
We had to delve into her past in order to determine what was wrong and remedy the situation.
Escape Room in a Box’s Flashback was a natural successor to The Werewolf Experiment. The game was loaded with tangible components and played like a real life escape room. We opened the box and the progression of play was self-evident.
There were minimal rules and no software to futz with.
Flashback was structured in three 30-minute segments (blue, red, and purple). They could be solved in any order or in parallel; each stood on its own as a unique path. For reference, we completed all 3 paths in about 45 minutes.
Escape Room in a Box’s Flashback was a play-at-home escape game with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ The folks at Escape Room in Box write their games in a playful, entertaining voice. They leaned into this with Flashback, delivering an adorable story through fun and relatable banter.
➕ Flashback relied heavily on tangible props, more so than the majority of boxed escape rooms. One of these interactions will likely stop some players cold (rest assured, it was well clued). In this way, Flashback felt more like an escape room than many of the play-at-home games in this style.
➕ The colored puzzle tracks were clear. We could play them sequentially or simultaneously, and we never felt lost. We enjoyed how the tracks were themed by puzzle type, which was grounded in the narrative. The gameplay worked well.
➕ The game looked and felt polished. We appreciated the quality paper materials. The art looked great, especially in the purple track.
➖ While some of the artwork was adorable, it didn’t carry throughout all of the puzzle tracks. More memorable art throughout the game would have further supported the narrative.
➖ A few of the puzzles lacked precision. In one instance, the prop didn’t match its cluing quite closely enough. In another instance, we didn’t have the environment that the puzzle demanded or enough direction as to how to create it. These puzzles felt unrefined.
➕ With Flashback, Escape Room in a Box integrated the narrative and puzzles more closely than in their original game, which was a delight.
➕ The hint system was easy to use, self-service, and comprehensive.
❓Flashback was easier than many of the play-at-home escape rooms on the market. This will be a quick playthrough for experienced puzzlers, though no less fun because of it. If you’re looking for meaty puzzles, however, look elsewhere. Flashback would be a great choice for beginners and families.
➕ At $20, the value of this game is insane relative to other similar products made entirely of paper.
😏 Objectively speaking, Doctor Lisa David was a most excellent character name.
Tips For Player
- Space Requirements: a small table
- Required Gear: pencil, paper, access to a kitchen
- I would recommend playing the puzzle tracks sequentially. There’s no real reason to rush though this game. Savor it.
Buy your copy of Escape Room in a Box’s Flashback, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Mattel provided a sample for review.
(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. We appreciate the support.)
Being a HUGE fan of the original Escape Room in a Box Game (Kickstarter version), I’ve played and run this game, in character and costume, for about 8 different friend groups. One thing I had a concern about with the Mattel versions is the quality of the props. Do the plastic locks and boxes hold up to repeated use? At this price point, it’s probably not a big deal for a single or couple use play, but for repeated use by multiple groups I’d be worried they might break or wear out. Can you replace the locks and boxes with real padlocks and metal boxes (don’t answer if there would be spoilers). I will be purchasing this game regardless, just wondering if I’ll have to purchase multiple copies. Also, is it replayable? (I guess I should have asked that first).
I mean, if you abuse the locks… they’ll break. But they hold up just fine and work reliably.
We’ve had no issues repacking this game for others to play.
Hi, I’ve noticed that you review home escape games, but you don’t review online game escapes. Have you played the ones at neutralxe.net?
We occasionally review point & click escape games… but they have to be doing something really interesting and different.
In that case, jump straight to Elements. If you play, pay attention to the dragons.
What do you do to start the game? I cannot find any directions on how to start it. Do we choose an envelope or a box?
You can choose any envelope to begin!
So my family and I were play and we solved both the red and blue paths easily but the purple path we couldnt not solve p4 or p5 using the answer sheet just to get some idea and still d9nt know how we get the code to open the lock? Are we missing a piece if the puzzle? Wa sit not included in our box? How di you find the 3 letter answer?
Hi! Have you already acquired P4 and P5 or are you still looking for them? We’re the designers of the game and we’d be happy to help you out. You can also email us – info (at) wildoptimists (dot) com.
Hi Andrew! We are the designers of the game and we would love to help you out. Can you please email us at info (at) wildoptimists (dot) com?
Apologies to both Andrew & Escape Room in a Box. Our spam-filter had been overactive and blocked their response.