Exit: The Game – The Cursed Labyrinth [Hivemind Review]

The Cursed Labyrinth is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game, The Cursed Labyrinth box art with a stone maze structure on the cover.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A phone is not required but there is an app with a timer and background sounds.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

While touring the grounds of a castle, you wander into a mysterious labyrinth and become trapped with only your puzzle-solving skills to save you. Your adventure follows 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, though this installment preserves more components than most.

Assorted game components including a maze, a solution wheel, card deck, and instructions.

Cindi S’ Reaction

During a visit to an ancient castle, you discover a mysterious stone labyrinth in the nearby gardens. Unable to resist, you walk through the entry gate to explore further and quickly become trapped as the doors slam shut! In The Cursed Labyrinth, you will meet mysterious creatures as you puzzle your way through the maze’s twists and turns. I always enjoy the sound effects in the companion app, and for the first time they added a character voice reading the introduction, which immediately brought the story to life. The puzzles were fun to discover and solve, as always, but a few had more direction than usual, making The Cursed Labyrinth less challenging than other Exit: The Game installments. This is a very good choice for younger players and beginners, but experienced players will still enjoy their path through the Labyrinth.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

During a tour of an old castle, you and your friends find yourself trapped in a complicated maze with all sorts of creatures in Exit: The Game’s The Cursed Labyrinth. With two or three reaches that stretch past the Novice rating on the box, this game would be most appropriate for a group of 2-4 people (including a few adults) that have played at least one Exit: The Game installment before. There were several puzzles executed with new game mechanics that will interest even those people who have played a number of games in this series before. That being said, while Exit Game installments are typically translated flawlessly into English, there is one hint card that notes to pay attention to text in cursive, which is incorrect and may be misleading.*

*Update October 21, 2021: This translation issue has been fixed in subsequent printings.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Exit: The Game series is usually a fairly positive experience for me, usually containing clever puzzles and fun interactions that break from my expectations, given the game components. The Cursed Labyrinth lived up to its ‘cursed’ title and was one of the weakest additions to the Exit: The Game series so far. From vague extractions that weren’t well clued to arbitrary deciphering to lack of signposting, this game fell apart. While a handful of puzzles were easy to solve, they felt more like a process and less like solving a puzzle. The game had either extremely easy but satisfying solves, or poorly executed difficult puzzles, with none of them quite landing in the middle. Each puzzle in the game was a good idea, and could have been a cleaner solve, but in the current state, I really cannot recommend The Cursed Labyrinth. If you’re looking to pick up a title in the series, I’d recommend The Enchanted Forest or The Gate Between Worlds.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This was a solidly average Exit: The Game installment with no major flaws, but also no major wow moments. The setting of a “cursed labyrinth” offered coherent mythological theming throughout the game, but resulted in visually murky game materials. All of the puzzles were reasonable with fairly obvious cluing, though a couple required us to reason about game mechanics in ways that benefitted from familiarity with those mechanics. There was also a surprising red herring, which was rather unusual for the series and was particularly disappointing in this case because we were otherwise intrigued by it.

New to Exit: The Game? Maybe don’t start here. Although some puzzles provide decent onramps to the series’s mechanics, there are too many that expect more familiarity with those mechanics than a first-time player is likely to develop within their first play.

Fan of Exit: The Game? If you gravitate toward the easier, more linear installments in the series, this game is a fine choice with a couple of interesting twists on game mechanics. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing, and you’ll have a nice time.

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

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Lock Paper Scissors – Lost Mummy [Hivemind Review]

Lost Mummy is a print-and-play escape game created by Lock Paper Scissors.

Lost Mummy art depicts a redheaded adventurer descending into a tomb by rope.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen and paper, scissors, tape or glue

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: no game clock, but adult players took about 30 minutes.

One reviewer set up this game for her kids. She notes, “my kids took about an hour, including the search elements I added.”

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are on a quest to use your grandfather’s journals to find a lost mummy near Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The most basic form of this quest is a table top experience in which you print, cut, assemble, and analyze five puzzles. You capture answers on a central mission page. To verify the answers, you consult an online hint/ solution guide (which is also available in the game’s ZIP file).

However, beyond this basic setup, this game was designed to be used as a kit for creating an escape room party. For the party version of the game, a host prepares and hides the puzzle components throughout a room. In this setup, players have the added task of determining which pieces of information correspond to which puzzle. This version can be enhanced with an optional physical challenge at the end.

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Exit: The Game – The Gate Between Worlds [Hivemind Review]

The Gate Between Worlds is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game: The Gate Between Worlds box art has an orange portal set in a circular stone with symbols along the inner edge.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A phone is not required but there is an app with a timer and background sounds.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Venturing through the “Gate Between Worlds,” you travel throughout the universe in this game in an attempt to puzzle yourself home. This game delivers information through a series of “world” pamphlets that you progress through by entering solutions into the “gate between worlds’ (i.e. the standard Exit: The Game decoder wheel.) You also manipulate several “strange objects” throughout the course of the game. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Assorted items from Exit's Gate Between Worlds features an unusual decoder wheel.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

If someone asked which Exit: The Game installment to start with, I would not hesitate to say The Gate Between Worlds. It introduced posters into the player experience, which provided a quick and easy way to expand the game space as we explored seven different worlds via a “mysterious circular gate.” The game was a great representation of the wide variety of puzzle mechanics that Exit: The Game installments typically employ, all of which were fair and did not require large logical leaps to complete. I would feel comfortable recommending The Gate Between Worlds to both beginners and enthusiasts alike; 2-4 people would be the ideal number of players.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This was a standard mid-level Exit: The Game installment whose most noteworthy features were its fun thematic variations on its game pieces. Instead of a riddle book, we had a series of pamphlet-like “worlds” to unlock, and the decoder disk served as the titular “gate between worlds.” This framework provided a basic narrative coherence to the experience even though voyaging through the disparate worlds yielded a mishmash of thematically incongruous puzzles. From a story perspective, the most logical puzzles stemmed from the voyage itself rather than any of the destinations.

Individual puzzles ranged from one significant frustration early in the game to some pleasantly multi-step ahas near the end, with most puzzles being solid and approachable. From a cluing perspective, this level 3 installment provided a decent bridge to more difficult levels as it guided players to think through connections that spanned multiple pieces of information. The game also leaned more heavily on “strange objects” than other typical Exit: The Game tricks, and the latter seemed more explicitly clued than in some easier installments. This enhanced the game’s value as an onramp to the series, but inherently left less to discover on your own.

New to Exit: The Game? This game was approachable enough to play as a newcomer to the series. Its few but significant frustrations wouldn’t be avoided with experience. However, the fun parts were a fair representation of the series.

Fan of Exit: The Game? This game’s unique thematic skinning added interesting flavor, but its gameplay was fairly average for the series and felt a little less “Exit-y” than usual. It was fun but not a standout to me.

Cindi S’ Reaction

The Gate Between Worlds continues the story from The Cemetery of the Knight, where you discovered a map to a mystical gate. In this adventure, you actually find the gate and set out to discover its secrets! My experience with Exit: The Game installments is that they always manage to do the unexpected, and this game is no exception. I was surprised to find only one Riddle Card instead of the usual stack, and no puzzle booklet at all. Instead, you explore individual worlds depicted on separate posters, which gives the game a little more structure and momentum than the typical Exit: The Game installment. I liked the variety of puzzles, some easy and some more involved (although there were two that were a bit of a stretch.) It’s a good thing you can only play this game once, because I completely ruined a game component by being a bit overzealous trying to get to the solution of one very unusual puzzle! The Gate Between Worlds exemplifies how the Exit: The Game formula is really about breaking away from the formula in compelling and satisfying ways. I don’t know if this story will continue in a future installment, but I do know the next one I play will, like always, be something I didn’t expect.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Gate Between Worlds was one of the best installments in the Exit: The Game series yet. The varied game mechanics, use of objects in unexpected ways, and creative puzzle executions made this game shine. This is the first Exit: The Game installment where my group did not need any hints, not because it was easy but because it lacked the typical 1-2 logic leaps the other installments usually contain. We really loved the small aha moments in every puzzle, with each solve leading to an equally satisfying reveal. If you’re going to pick up one of the most recent Exit: The Game installments, this one’s awesome!

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

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Exit: The Game – The Cemetery of the Knight [Hivemind Review]

The Cemetery of the Knight is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game The Cemetary of the Knigh cover art depicts a cemetery at dawn with many ravens

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A phone is not required but there is an app with a timer and background sounds.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You have a once-in-87-years opportunity to retrieve a treasure from the tomb of Sir Reginald Wreston, if only you can follow the clues throughout the cemetery to find it. This game uses the standard game pieces for Exit: The Game installments: a riddle book (in this case, Sir Wreston’s journal), clue cards, various “strange items,” and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. Because this is a medium-difficulty installment in the series, you have access to clues from multiple puzzles at the same time, so you must determine for yourself which clues go together. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Cemetery of the Night box contents includes a deck of cards, a journal, a transparency, and a solution wheel.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This is a fun game to bridge people from the novice Exit: The Game installments to the less linear, more difficult ones. The story in this game is driven via the answer cards rather than by sequentially turning pages in the riddle book. As such, the riddle book is a random collection of clues for you to connect with the appropriate part of the story, adding an extra level of deduction to the gameplay. I personally enjoy the ambiguity and connection opportunities of having many clues available to me at once, but it certainly makes the story more difficult to track.

As with any Exit: The Game installment, this game uses its pieces in unexpected ways, much more often than in installments with difficulty levels 1 and 2. As an experienced fan, I found most of these mechanics to be delightful in the way they defied expectations. However, knowledge of typical Exit: the Game mechanics is necessary to figure out these twists, which may frustrate newcomers to the series. Also, some of the more straightforward puzzles suffered from multiple interpretations of the clues, giving us the misleading sense that we were doing things correctly when we were not.

New to Exit: The Game? Don’t start here. Even if you’re an experienced puzzler outside of the series, this game assumes that you can reason about the game’s mechanics themselves. This is much more reasonable and satisfying if you’re already familiar with those mechanics rather than learning them for the first time.

Fan of Exit: The Game? This installment has an unusually large number of new surprises, reserving its low points for its less ambitious puzzles. So, if you enjoy these games for their novel mechanics more than for a perfect puzzle set, check this one out.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

Plainly stated, if you are thinking about diving into the Exit: The Games series, The Cemetery of the Knight is not where I would suggest beginning. Suitable for players who have already completed multiple Exit: The Games installments, be prepared for at least two puzzles that require significant leaps in logic to solve. Alternatively, one puzzle in particular was incredibly clever in the utilization of game materials, and was a standout in the Exit: The Games series as a whole. Be mindful that the thematic dark and monotone artwork for this game made it difficult to differentiate scenery and puzzle artwork; bright lighting is strongly suggested.

Cindi S’ Reaction

In The Cemetery of the Knight, you set out on a quest to find a legendary artifact of a knight, but unfortunately you have to explore a creepy cemetery to do it! The game does an excellent job of weaving a mysterious tale in and around the puzzles, and you can almost smell the dust in the air as you search for the artifact. This was one of the better stories in the Exit: The Game series. The puzzles were unusual and tricky, and the final puzzle was really fun to discover. There was only one that did not work for me, perhaps something was lost in translation? I also found some of the clues to be hard to see, given the dark artwork throughout. Overall, it was a fun experience that had me engaged from beginning to end.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Cemetery of the Knight was a pretty standard addition to the Exit: The Game series, with an unfortunate lack of great aha moments that I’ve encountered in their other games. Exit: The Game included one of our favorite moments among the series, along with a few of our lowest points. This iteration (and all iterations of the Exit: The Game series) could benefit greatly by including a portion of the instruction book that lists the gameplay mechanics that are different for seasoned players, as our team assumed we couldn’t progress in the booklet without being told, stalling our puzzling for a while. Once we figured out that we could use the booklet, we enjoyed many of the puzzles, yet they were unmemorable. If you’re in the mood to play an installment from Exit: The Game, I’d recommend reading the rule book before diving into this one!

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

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

YouEscape – A Twist of Time [Hivemind Review]

A Twist of Time is the 13th game in a collection of avatar-led games created by YouEscape in Athens, Greece.

A blue table with a few locked boxes, a 75 minute timer, strange art with labels, and an odd transparent box.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Expect to have multiple tabs open, plus Zoom, and to be switching back and forth between everything. Multiple screens would also be helpful.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 70 minutes

Price: $30/month for a YouEscape Patreon membership which includes 1 game per month

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Once connected to Zoom, players get a brief introduction from the gamemaster. Then they are given a link to a Google Drive folder as well as a camera feed of boxes to unlock and props to interact with. The game begins by examining the contents of the folder, solving the puzzles within (sometimes by using outside internet resources), and following the puzzle path from there.

Editor’s note: YouEscape recommends players start with their easier games and progress through the games in order. Here are our reviews of some of their earlier games. I elected for REA to jump to a later game to see more of the series. Some of the writers contributing to this piece had more experience with YouEscape than others.

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