I hope that makes sense for what im after!
Do you mean like Unlock! And Exit.
That’s the badgers!
Follow on question - are any better than others?
I think I’ve heard them called “Escape Room Games”, though NPI talks about them the “Puzzle Deduction One and Done Escape Room Segment”
I’d give no pun podcast a listen. They have been reviewing escape room games pretty regularly.
I think their opinion was that the exit games were stronger At the start but unlock Improved a lot. They recently said the Star Wars unlock one was good as an entry point if the brand helps swing you towards a decision.
Its for my in-laws so probably not
Exit might be better then. Although if they are appalled by the notion of destroying things then they may prefer unlock.
Unlock needs an App, Exit does not.
You can get stuck in Unlock, whereas Exit has an inbuilt hint deck.
Unlock is easier, Exit is more devious.
As an entry level I would suggest Exit: The pharaohs tomb.
We’ve played a few of the Exit series and really enjoyed them all. The hard ones can be challenging at times and I think all of them have at least one really cool solution. It’s an interesting twist to cut cards up or draw over them. The writing is terrible but in a funny way
I’d highly recommend them.
Never played Unlock, but have the Star Wars one to give for a Christmas present.
I think ive settled on Unlock. Cos then I can nick it off them when theyve done!
We sell a lot of both lines: Exits are more consistently good. If you like one, you’re very likely going to like them all. I usually recommend customers start with the 2-dot Exits (Stormy Flight, Mysterious Museum, Sunken Treasure, or… the one with a door-key on the cover… something-Mansion, I think), because if you don’t like it it’s not because of the difficulty. After that, a nice march up through the more difficult ones (Abandoned Cabin, Polar Station, Theft on the Mississippi, etc… etc…). Polar Station was the best one in my opinion, and Secret of the Lab was the weakest, but if I could forget the solution to Secret Lab I would play it again.
The Unlocks are a lot more experimental, and they try new things. Ergo, the best of any of the Escape Rooms In A Box that I’ve played was an Unlock (Tonfils Treasure, I think… something-Treasure), but the worst was also an Unlock (Nautilus Traps). Nautilus Traps was awful. Like, actively horrible, would rather be lit on fire than play it again. But the experimental elements of the games, the fact that they keep trying new and interesting things, is really neat. I just finished the Star Wars one, and my partner and I both enjoyed it (and she’s not a huge SW-fan, so that was a pleasant surprise).
There are a few other lines:
Escape Room The Game (the one with a big plastic key-thingy): I didn’t enjoy the 2 I tried. The big plastic toy looks neat but it doesn’t work particularly well, and it kind of ruined the experience for us. That stated, they just released… 12? 10? A bunch of… new packs you can play with the big stupid plastic thingy, so maybe they improved since I tried it? There is a stand-alone 2 player one that is at least affordable, and a VR one that is interesting and less expensive, so maybe try those instead of one of the bigger, more expensive ones?
Escape The Room (made by ThinkFun): These are more educational games than true escape-room-thingies, but if you’re playing with younger players they may be worth a look. ThinkFun makes a lot of really interesting educational “games” (Rush Hour is probably their best known).
Not Quite Escape Rooms In a Box
Adventure Game (two currently available: “The Dungeon” and “Monochrome Inc”, but I think another 2 are on their way down the pipeline): These aren’t “Escape Rooms” so much as they are cardboard “point and click adventures”. If you imagine one of those old games like Space Quest or Police Quest or Kings Quest (oh Sierra… so innovative with your naming conventions), it basically works like that: try to combine two or three things and then push that on everything in the game until something clicks. They’re fine, and the narration from the app is really well done, so if you’re looking for something a little different, they’re not bad!
Time Stories Blue: The original “Time Stories” (the big white box that looks like a graphic designer who was fired from Apple designed it) was just too expensive for what it brought to the table, but the new Time Stories Blue apparently fixes that by making the games completely stand-alone and half the cost of the old ones. I still think they’re too pricey to try myself, but they could be worth a look.
And then there are a lot of single-shot sort of things that may or may not be as good as the above ones, but I only know exist: Deckventures and Deckscape, the Choose Your Own Adventure board games (a colleague has played both and said “they’re fine to play with my 7-year-old daughter, but there isn’t much game there”), and of course all the murder-mystery-solvers like Chronicles of Crime, Detective, and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective.