Hype Esc – The Six [Review]

The one with the escape room

Location:  Tel Aviv, Israel

Date Played: May 10, 2022

Team Size: 4-12; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: 130 NIS per player for 4 players to 100 NIS per player for 9+ players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration:  One player must crawl into a small space

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

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Six was designed for Friends fans, by Friends fans. The sheer quantity of references and props from the show was a feat of dedicated fandom. Given the widespread popularity of Friends in Israel, it was no surprise that The Six was one of the more talked-about rooms in the country.

With points-based gameplay spanning multiple timed rounds, The Six was a proper puzzle frenzy. Mixed in were myriad options for earning bonus points in the form of replicating various silly actions from the show or solving additional puzzles. 100% completion would have been impossible, and the bonus content was largely just a fun exercise in seeing how many Easter eggs we could discover.

With one notable exception, the core gameplay didn’t really require any Friends knowledge, though it certainly would provide useful context for the puzzles. Many of the bonus interactions, however, pulled on extensive and occasionally obscure trivia. But if you’ve never seen Friends or only have a passing familiarity with the show, you’ll get through the primary puzzles just fine.

I fall into that latter camp: I watched a few episodes of Friends years ago and didn’t particularly connect with the show. As such, I experienced The Six through the lens of someone who was definitively not the game’s target audience. And as a non-Friends fan, The Six didn’t hold up particularly well as a standalone escape room. The gameplay included some delightful and unique interactions, but the game didn’t really have its own story. Detached from the required outside knowledge of the source material, the puzzles felt fragmented and random. I had more fun in The Six from watching my Friends-loving teammates enjoy the bounty of references.

A an old kitchen in an apartment.

If you are a fan of Friends, absolutely go play The Six. It lovingly pays tribute to the show in a respectful and highly interactive manner. If you are not a Friends fan, this might not be the game for you… or at least make sure you bring teammates who really know their Friends trivia.

Who is this for?

  • Friends fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • You’re a fan of Friends
  • You like competition

Story

If we could prove that we were “The Six” by completing enough Friends-themed puzzles, riddles, and tasks, we would become the recipients of a special treasure.

Setting

The Six was set in the world of Friends, on a convincing reproduction of the apartment and coffee shop. Down to the smallest of details, every surface and prop in the space was a loving tribute to Friends.

An orange couch beside a keyboard, and many assorted items.

Gameplay

Hype Esc’s The Six was a points-based, nonlinear escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around solving puzzles, making connections, and answering trivia.

In each stage of the game, we attempted to complete specific puzzles and tasks to earn up to 6 medallions, solve additional puzzles to earn bonus points, and replicate other classic Friends-themed scenes and actions in order to earn additional bonus points. We had a fixed amount of time in each stage, at the end of which we moved onto the next room regardless of how many medallions or points we’d earned.

This was a pipelined game: once we moved onto a new room, we couldn’t go back to the previous room(s). This enabled there to be an optional “Battle” mode for the game where 2 teams could compete head-to-head.

Analysis

βž•/βž– The Six was absolutely packed with dozens – if not hundreds – of Friends references. Every detail in the game felt intentional, from the apartment and Central Perk scenes to specific props to puzzles themed around character archetypes. For Friends fans, this would all be delightful and nostalgic. For me, a non-Friends fan, these references almost all went over my head, and lacking its own story, the game felt like a scattered collection of inside jokes.

βž• The core structure of the game was clearly laid out. With a large amount of content always available in parallel, the gameplay was fast-paced and fun. Physical and digital indicators helped us monitor our progress amid the chaos in each room.

βž–/❓ The bonus points structure was less clear. When we solved bonus puzzles, there was no persistent confirmation in the room that the puzzle had correctly been solved. Additionally, we earned additional bonus points by completing certain various Friends-related actions with props around the room. These were almost all unclued, loosely prompted just by the presence of certain objects in the room. I could see diehard Friends fans immediately recognizing many of these Easter eggs and having fun acting out scenes from the show. Ultimately, the bonus points didn’t really mean anything and so the few that we stumbled upon were fun, if at times vague, additions to our experience.

βž– A single-player interaction essentially trapped the player in a small space with no way out until they completed a puzzle. While this was a cute communication puzzle in theory, it needed some exit option, regardless of whether the solo player was struggling with the puzzle or just felt uncomfortable in that space. It was all too easy to get stuck in that situation without realizing what you were getting yourself into.

βž• A humorous sensory interaction looked like πŸ’© but turned out to be delectable.

βž– Certain inputs weren’t sufficiently obvious that they were inputs, lacking any sort of mechanical, visual, or sensory feedback.

βž• A fast-paced routine prompted a joyous party.

❓ The final round of the game was straight-up Friends trivia. Not knowing the show at all, I all but sat in the corner, mildly amused by my Friends-literate teammates participation, but otherwise quite bored. This type of gameplay was well designed to generate high-energy competition for hardcore Friends fans… and no one else.

βž• The epilogue included an extra splash of fun.

Tips For Visiting

  • English playability: The game was full translated except for one optional puzzle.

Book your session with Hype Esc’s The Six, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

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