Room-in-a-box, Sep 2017
The subscription series of play at home games from Escape The Crate includes an online-only game. This is free to play without purchase… up to the halfway point, beyond which you can’t progress without a cipher key from episode 1. If you own episode 1, you can continue through to another set of puzzles.
Since you can play the first half of this game freely online at any time, the main point of this review is for anyone who’s given that a go and is wondering how representative it is of the full games, so as to decide whether to purchase a subscription. And the answer is… not very. The online game is a lot weaker than the main Crate games.
Naturally, the online game lacks all physical components, even in the sense of separate pieces of paper. The content is also weaker, with two of the puzzles being among the most tenuous of all those in the series to date, in one case aggravated by it relying on information from a previous page of the story. It also combines ‘gotcha’ puzzles where you either see the answer or you don’t, with relatively large and tricky puzzles, which gives an uneven feel instead of a gradual increase in difficulty.
If you’ve played this but not the other Crate games, don’t let it put you off: the paid subscription games are markedly better than this taster version. If you’re a subscriber, then I guess it’s entertaining enough to work through (though in that case don’t take my word for it, go give it a try if you’re curious; just remember to have the cipher key from episode 1 at hand).