Amazon Escape – Kofiko [Review]

🍌 This escape room was BANANAS! 🍌

Location: Holon, Israel

Date Played: May 15, 2022

Team Size: 4-6+; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 80 minutes

Price: 135 NIS per player for 4 players to 120 NIS per player for 6+ players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Uneven surfaces, jumping

Emergency Exit Rating: We’re unsure what fire escape measures there were, if any. More Info.

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Kofiko immersed us in the hyper inner workings of a mischievous monkey’s brain. In most cases, this chaos skewed toward the delightfully zany. Occasionally, it also strayed into the less positively perplexing.

Some cultural context for non-Israel readers of this review: Kofiko has been a popular character in Israeli culture since a series of books in the 60s and a children’s TV in the 90s. Kofiko is a talking monkey who likes to cause trouble. Think Curious George, but a bit more self-aware and less innocent. Kofiko also likes wearing colorful hats (that aren’t usually big and yellow.)

In Kofiko the escape room, Kofiko the character played a prominent role, both in video presence and in overall tone. Yet even players unfamiliar with Kofiko’s shenanigans will quickly catch on during the game. Filling 80 minutes with creative, high-energy puzzling, a wide range of alluring physical environments, and plenty of narrative twists and turns, Kofiko was an epic journey into a land of bananas and big dreams.

Kofiko‘s gameplay justified the 80-minute clock, yet I question whether it would have been a stronger game at 60 minutes with some extra editing, especially given the family audience. Sections of the game felt like a firehose of whimsy, and when it comes to such things, I’d rather be left wanting more than feeling too full.

A room with a rusty orange couch, a picture of a monky on the wall, and wallpaper with bananas and pineapples.

With Kofiko, Amazon Escape has majorly stepped up their game from their previous two rooms. While both Grease and Hansel & Gretel showed a commitment to experimentation and crafting delightful moments, Kofiko finally delivered the extra level of polish in puzzle, set, and narrative execution needed for a cohesive, premium experience. If you are in Israel, especially if you’re accompanied by Israeli teammates, Kofiko is a must-play.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Fans of Kofiko

Why play?

  • The silly Kofiko references (even if you aren’t a Kofiko fan)
  • The non-human character
  • The zany adventure

Story

We entered the apartment of Kofiko’s human family to discover that Kofiko had built an escape room! It was a wild adventure that sounded like every escape room enthusiast’s dream game. The only problem was… Kofiko had accidentally locked himself in the control room.

Kofiko's Escape Room Complex map, a strange and detailed set of illustrations.

Setting

The set of Kofiko was one of the weirder escape room sets I’ve ever encountered, and I mean that mostly as high praise. As the game progressed, it felt like when you wake up after a particularly strange dream, remember it for a moment, and then promptly forget the details because it’s too implausible to exist in reality. Put otherwise, it felt like the inside of a monkey’s brain.

The game started off in a cheery, conventionally decorated apartment lobby. An elevator led into Kofiko’s human family’s apartment. From there, we entered into the mad world of Kofiko’s escape room complex.

A calm space with a small seat, some art, a mirror, and apartment mailboxes.

Gameplay

Kofiko was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around solving puzzles, making connections, and thinking like a monkey.

Analysis

βž• The gameplay in Kofiko was creative and polished, full of delightful moments of discovery. It was well themed within the Kofiko IP without overly relying on knowledge of the TV show to enjoy the game.

βž• Kofiko‘s set was a massive step up in production value from Amazon Escape’s previous escape rooms. Both realistic and surrealist scenes were rendered with a high attention to detail. Our movement through the set told a cohesive story, supplemented by some memorable transitions between spaces.

βž• The narrative included some meta twists that escape room enthusiasts may especially enjoy.

βž• An unexpected non-human creature was one of my favorite characters I’ve ever encountered in an escape room. This creature was adorable, professionally constructed, and hilariously voiced and operated. This was a really fantastic example of close-up animatronics in escape rooms: the creature looked great up close, it was reactive when we were nearby without being too annoying, and its presence was continually justified.

βž• A whimsical narrative-driven sequence cleverly merged physical and audio escape room elements, expanding our perception of the environment beyond its physical limits and giving both players and gamemaster the freedom to be silly.

βž•/βž– The final area of the game looked incredibly cool, but it was also a noticeable drop in build quality from the rest of the set. Sections of the wall paneling looked to be falling apart, and one panel actually fell off with some minor (puzzle-prompted) prodding.

βž– We also encountered a safety issue in the final area: with floor cushions attached together by velcro, one of my teammates fell down over a foot in between floor sections (though they were unharmed.) There was a reason why this area was constructed like this, but Amazon Escape could benefit from paying a bit more attention to safety and maintenance in this section of the room.

Tips For Visiting

  • English playability: Most parts of the room were available in English. One puzzle was fully in Hebrew and would be very difficult to translate into English. A verbal interaction was made available in English for our playthrough, but that isn’t usually an option. A few other small elements weren’t fully translated.
  • A family and children’s version of Kofiko is bookable on request.

Book your session with Amazon Escape’s Kofiko, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Amazon Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Update November 15, 2022: To hear more from designer Gai Bosco, check out this interview on The Reality Escape Pod.

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