ESC The Game: ESC From Cell 126 review
|You’ve been locked up for unspecified crimes in a high security prison. But today is your lucky day – you’ve just been moved to Cell 126, the cell from which a successful escape attempt was made by the notorious criminal Dr Xavier Scape just one week earlier! Can you follow the clues left by the Dr in order to break out too?|
|£15 per team|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 58 minutes|
In the scheme of things, ESC From Cell 126 is quite sparsely themed with everything taking place via a ‘control hub’. Progression is marked by additional game items being made available to you, all of these items are images, mostly presented out of context.
But, somehow, it all works. It’s a clean interface, and the minimalist approach works in the game’s favour in this case. There’s a clear objective from the outset and the design ensures that this is the ever present focus whilst preventing the journey from becoming staid.
This fully online escape game is very well designed, both graphically and technically. It has a quality feel throughout, with a clean interface and clear progression. The lack of any audio or video content held it back from reaching top level immersion though. The puzzles linked very well to the classic prison escape storyline, which had us break out of our cell, evade the guards and flee via a drain. It’s all self-contained within their website which simplifies proceedings and keeps theming consistent throughout.
They offer two ways to play the game – one person in control and sharing their screen, which is best if you prefer teamwork, or everyone with their own screen and equal control. You can also access your backpack (inventory) on your phone(s) via a QR code, which is helpful when choosing the first option, like we did. It’s a shame they didn’t also provide a simple URL for those without a QR reader though.
Simple, logical and fair. This game had the best flow in recent memory with a varied selection of puzzles that transitioned effortlessly into the next.
The craft of each task was the standout element here. Each activity had a cryptic feature that would subtly guide you towards the solution but the balance was pitch perfect, it feels like this game has been through a rigorous amount of testing to achieve that precision tune.
ESC From Cell 126 offers up a good range of well executed logic puzzles. They are the right level of difficulty – not too easy, but not too hard. The game flowed well and kept us all busy throughout.
We didn’t use them, but next to each puzzle is a button to receive hints if you get stuck. I really liked this implementation as it’s much more integrated and user friendly compared to the usual separate web page of clues where you have to find the relevant clue yourself and risk opening the wrong one. I also liked there being a timer as it added a bit of urgency to proceedings and made this feel more escape room like. At the end, you’re told how long you took and how many hints you needed.
Yeah, this was a joy to play. It strikes me that this would be a great game for players new to online games. Saying that because it isn’t unnecessarily complex or over-designed, progression is always clear and the difficulty is at the right level.
None of this precludes seasoned players getting involved – ESC From Cell 126 is a game that clearly has had a lot of work go into it, resulting in a smooth, flowing experience that’s worth your time!
I was very impressed with this. ESC From Cell 126 is how a play at home escape game should be done! It was a joy to play with none of the faff or complexity that often comes with play at home escape games like printing, cutting, manipulating URL’s or visiting copious websites.
The hardest part was deciding between the two methods of playing the game. We eventually stumped for the screen share option and I think it was the right choice as it meant we solved every puzzle together as a team, instead of having puzzles randomly disappear as other teammates solve them without my knowledge. For the super competitive, they have a top 20 leaderboard on their website to try and get onto.
At £15, this game is maybe a touch expensive given the average price of these experiences but the flip side to this is that it’s solid adventure so is still worth the money. Also, factor in the cost per person (assuming you play with others!) and it isn’t actually too bad. Yes, it is more expensive but on a per person level, this would be negligible and the quality of the game more than makes up for it.
This is a simple escape game done really well, with a professional, clean and seamless design. It’s a little pricier than some of the competition, but the cost is justified with it being so well crafted. It’s more approachable than many of the alternatives like The Insiders which get quite technical and complex, making ESC From Cell 126 the perfect game for new or casual play at home puzzlers.
Theming - 7.33/10
Puzzles - 8/10
Enjoyment - 8.33/10
Value - 7.33/10