Escaping the Echo
Location: At home, on your Alexa-enabled device
Date Played: January-February 2020
Team size: as many people as you can fit around your Alexa speaker, but 1-4 is best
Duration: 30-60 minutes
Price: $5, $4 for Amazon Prime Members
Escape the Room 2 is an Alexa-based audio escape room skill (what Amazon calls Apps) we played on our Echo device. The skill contains three escape rooms: The Hospital (free), The Zoo (free), and The Spaceship ($5). This review is specifically for The Spaceship.
We attempted to escape our disabled spaceship by using the simple verbal commands “look”, “inspect”, and “use” combined with an object in our inventory or environment.
As an at-home alternative to physical escape rooms, The Spaceship succeeded in recreating the experience of exploring, discovering clues, entering codes, and progressing through an escape room scenario. However, it committed some cardinal escape room sins by requiring outside knowledge and taking leaps in logic.
In addition, the audio medium provided a layer of frustration. We had to word things in a particular way, and reassure Alexa that we were still thinking in between commands.
While this was ostensibly a sequel to Escape the Room, not much has improved. We came out of the experience simply wishing we’d had more fun.
Who is this for?
- “Zork” and adventure game fans
- New Alexa device owners looking to try all its abilities
- An escape room you can do in your bathtub
- No time pressure
- Good value
Our spacecraft’s captain had been attempting to weave through a debris field, but he had made a terrible miscalculation. After an explosion, we had woken up injured and alone on the ship. Our only hope of making it back to HQ alive was to get the ship’s power back on and install new engine parts.
The Spaceship was small, consisting of two distinct spaces to explore. We kept imagining the bone-shaped Satellite of Love from “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
This was an audio experience played through Alexa. The game required us to imagine our space and figure out what items would help move us forward.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ The story elements of The Spaceship that used voice actors and sound effects were well produced.
➕/➖ The puzzling felt like it was from an early escape room. We collected lots of items and tried them everywhere until they worked. We recorded all the letters and numbers we heard, then mixed, matched, and did a little math with them until they were accepted by the room’s locks.
➖ Several solutions required outside knowledge. We had to keep a second Googling machine close by.
➖ In order to give ourselves time to work the clues, we had to tell Alexa “give me more time.” Every 60 seconds she asked again if we needed more time to think. This quickly became annoying and made us feel dumb. Unfortunately, this is just part of the deal when doing an Alexa escape room.
➕ The Spaceship remembered where we were in the game if we quit and came back to it. This was a good way to avoid the 60 second check-ins to see if we were still thinking. We quit the game, worked out some possible solutions, booted it up again and tried them.
➕ Trying multiple codes on the same lock was streamlined so that it went quickly. Upon getting an “incorrect” message, I simply had to say, for example, “enter 4321” rather than “use keypad” again.
➖ The hint system gave the same vague hint over and over. At any given point in the game, we couldn’t get any more direction than that one hint provided. It would have been helpful if the hint system had started by giving a vague hint, then if asked a more specific one, and finally something close to the answer.
➖ While the two free episodes were shorter, they weren’t easier. This is mainly due to the fact that they were buggier and required larger leaps of logic than The Spaceship.
➖ We couldn’t restart the game. After stepping away from it for a few days, it would be helpful to be able to start the game again from the beginning to take a fresh run at the mission.
➖ The game unexpectedly quit several times, ripping us out of the experience.
Tips For Playing
- Take copious notes on a piece of scratch paper, especially of codes you’ve tried.
- Remember that if you reinspect something, you can always interrupt the game by saying “Alexa” and your next command. This will save you from listening to the descriptions multiple times.
Enable the Escape the Room 2 skill and tell them that Room Escape Artist sent you.BUY The Spaceship
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