Review – Escape Room in a Box: Flashback [Spoiler Free]

OVERVIEW

Escape Room in a Box: Flashback is pretty much exactly what you expect from the title… except for the fact that you are not trapped in a room at all and the sensible thing to do is just leave, but more on that later! The backstory here is that a mad scientist has turned herself into a werewolf and her childhood friend, Dr. Lisa David has warned you that the werewolf is just 90 minutes away from finding you and turning you into her next meal. The only way to survive is to solve the puzzles that Dr Lisa David has left for you by following the 3 different “paths”.

The solutions to these puzzles will lead you to construct an “Amulet of De-Werewolfication” that has the power to return her friend to her human state. But if you fail to construct the amulet within 90 minutes you are caught by the hungry werewolf and meet a rather unpleasant end!

Player Count2 – 9 players
Age13 +
Play Time30 – 90 mins
PublisherMattel

Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!

GAME PLAY 7/10

To those who have played other escape room games, or indeed visited escape rooms themselves, there will be a very familiar feel to this game. The puzzles revolve around finding words, numbers and shapes that are used to quite literally unlock boxes and uncover further pieces of the puzzle. As with all games of this variety it is hard to go into much detail regarding the puzzles without giving away spoilers. This game does however have a couple of innovative methods and mechanics for puzzle resolution that I have yet to experience in other games of this ilk. The puzzles are mainly based around words, logic and physical manipulation, meaning a combination of skills will be necessary to reach the solutions.

Escape room games are as much about the story as they are the puzzles and unfortunately that’s where Escape Room in a Box: Flashback falls down. The story is riddled with holes from the start: why is the werewolf coming for us? Why have we been given this task? If she’s 90 minutes away why not just leave? While the puzzles are solid, it just doesn’t make you feel immersed in the story, which is a shame.

AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 7/10

Aesthetically, the game follows the “flashback” theme with an 80’s vibe around the box art and particularly on one of the puzzle paths relating to their childhood friendship. The artwork on the puzzles is good and again reflects the theme of the overall game.

The puzzles are all well made, clearly presented and colour coordinated with their corresponding lock boxes. The lock boxes themselves are an interesting gimmick but some of the combination locks felt a little delicate with the wheels spinning too freely and not clicking in that satisfyingly solid manner that you would expect. They also have the slightly annoying habit of popping open if you accidentally spin the wheels onto the correct answer unknowingly!

Overall though I did like the idea of physical locks to open and it did enhance the overall escape room experience but it feels like there is a lot of plastic in this game, which concerns me a little because if it only gets played once, it’s all ending up in landfill!

RULES & TEACHING 7/10

The rules are fairly straightforward, solve the puzzles to progress. The do’s and don’ts are clearly stated in the opening introduction of the game although there are very few actual rules.

To help you along the way, if you get stuck, there is a book of hints but using more than three hints will cost you the game and you’ll end up werewolf chow. You may stumble across a free hint here and there though which can be used in addition to the three hints allowed.

We didn’t really need to use the hint system though as the puzzles felt a little on the easier side compared to some other escape room games we have played. With that in mind I would say this game would be ideal for those less experienced with escape room games in general.

There is no scoring system so the number of hints used has no bearing on the overall outcome of the game. The only way to judge how successful you have been on your quest to turn lupine to human is the amount of time you have left of the 90 minute time limit.

REPLAYABILITY & VALUE 5/10

This is always a tough one with escape room games. The very nature of them means that you are probably only going to be able to play them once so the replayability factor is very low. At around £23 (RRP $29.99) for a maximum of 90 minutes of play time, it’s on the pricier end of the market in terms of cost per minute.

It is possible to re-sell or trade the game with a little work though! There are detailed instructions online on how to re-pack the game as well as files to print any components that may have been written on. But if you are careful and use pencil when writing, you may get away without having to reprint at all!

OVERALL SCORE 26/40 = 6.25/10

RECOMMENDED IF…

… you like brain teasers and puzzles
… you are looking for an entry level escape room style game


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