Exit: The Game – The Enchanted Forest [Hivemind Review]

The Enchanted Forest is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game - The Enchanted Forest box art depicts a living tree reaching out for a frog prince.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

No digital components needed! Unplug and play.

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game used the standard format for novice Exit: The Game installments. You have access to a puzzle book, clue cards, various “strange items,” and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. In the novice games like this one, the puzzle book walks you through one puzzle at a time. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Assorted box elements include a deck of cards, an image that looks like it's from a fairy tale, a decoder wheel, a glowing red maple leaf, and a card with the box art labeled, "Once upon a time..."

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This is a cute game with family appeal, assuming that some members of the group have experience with other installments of Exit: The Game. The fairy tale story, though overly wordy, meanders through charming scenarios and characters whose whimsical tone complements the game’s best interactions. I giggled quite a bit at the lighthearted opportunities for creating my own “art,” and my daughter was delighted with the “Strange Cards” you earn at the end (which I personally found less valuable for an adult audience). I was also genuinely shocked that one particular puzzle actually worked at all, which is its own form of delight. Thus, I found the highlights of this game to be worthwhile.

My main complaint is that Exit: The Game’s ongoing pursuit of new uses for its game components seemed somewhat mismatched with the novice difficulty level that the puzzles were aimed at. Although many of the puzzles were fairly trivial, a handful of them required us to use the hint system more than usual because the mechanics were rather a stretch for us. In fact, we solved the final puzzle mostly by accident (the real solution was a lot cuter than what we did). I think many of these issues stemmed from a combination of multi-layered uses of components (which I generally appreciate) and excessive vagueness in the cluing. I wondered if something had been lost in the translation to English.

New to Exit: The Game? I wouldn’t start here unless you embrace the hint system as your onboarding experience. I don’t think The Enchanted Forest offers adequate cluing to help you discover implicit game mechanics. This will likely result in you disdaining aspects of the series instead of letting you appreciate them when they’re executed well.

Fan of Exit: The Game? This would be a fun installment to play with older children and teens. The easier puzzles are very approachable, you can scaffold their exploration of game components, you can all brainstorm about the more mysterious issues on somewhat equal footing, and the kids might feel genuinely rewarded at the end.

A little snail character being held up in front of an aquarium.

Cindi S’ Reaction

My first thought after playing The Enchanted Forest is that I didn’t know who would enjoy this game more, kids or adults. After all, it has a fairy-tale theme and includes whimsical stories about fanciful creatures you encounter when you are lost in a forest. In addition, several parts seemed more appropriate for younger, pre-teen players. But the puzzles were a different story; most of them were quite perplexing, requiring you to really think outside the box to solve. Younger players would likely have to use a lot of hints or get assistance from adults to figure out the answers. As a puzzle person, I loved the challenge and creativity of the puzzles, especially when solving required doing something completely unexpected. It’s what makes Exit: The Game really stand out for me, and why I’m recommending this game. But the story, although necessary for context, was a little too childish for my taste.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Exit: The Game installments have always intrigued me – so many different types of puzzles in such a small box. Yet I’d somehow only played one before I played The Enchanted Forest. This game was such a lovely introduction into the series – many whimsical puzzles and cute storytelling was scattered throughout! The puzzles were almost entirely filled with aha moments and adorable interactions, with the exception of a rather poorly clued end-game sequence. Much to our delight, Exit: The Game was able to make some really clever mechanics out of mostly paper components.

Disclosure: Exit: The Game provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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