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Flashback and Escape Room in a Box review with Coach Troy

Troy Wellington
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Escape Room in a Box: Flashback

by Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin

Overview: Flashback is a sequel to the Werewolf Experiment escape room. The story is more centered on the history of the situation as narrated in notes by Dr Lisa David, a childhood friend of the Werewolf antagonist, Dr Gnaw. You find yourself trapped in the doctors laboratory and have only 90 minutes to figure out how to reverse the ‘werewolfication’ before Gnaw returns and you are eaten.

Pacing: There are three distinct paths needed to escape the lab. They are based on linguistics, science, and childhood memories. Don’t get too excited, they are not as deep as they sound. This works well though as you can split up, or into groups and get at it. This is nice as everyone will be able to stay engaged and you won’t feel like you are looking over someone's shoulder. The three paths will come together at the end as you find your escape. In our play through this was nice, as we were able to trade off paths when we hit a snag, or help each other when we finished. The story that unfolds is coherent, if a bit childish. You do feel like you are figuring out more about the history of the characters rather than escaping a lab. So the name, Flashback, is fitting.

Components: This game’s biggest boon is its incredible amount of physical items that get to play with. The game hosts similar components to its predecessor. The most noticeable being the plastic locks and boxes. These are a little cheap but still work nicely. The labels, at least for me, are a little hard to read. There are several components that will be used to figure out puzzles, pieces you will put together to build items, and lots and lots of paper notes.

Difficulty: This was a bit on the easier side. We finished it in 45 minutes. I’m guessing the target audience was for the younger crowd. Many of the puzzles feel more like activities and it's just a matter of doing the work to get it done. The puzzles are all pretty linear and the game's notes keep you on track. Not to say this game doesn’t have its interesting surprises. Still, there were only a couple times we got a little stuck. Even with the trickier puzzles there is plenty of guidance to get us through. There is also both a hint book and an answer book.

How it compares: If you like the Werewolf Experiment you will like its sequel. I actually enjoyed our playthrough of Flashback more than its predecessor. It feels like a more finished product. It also has an edge over many of the other ‘at home’ escape rooms in the physical components. There is quite a bit to play with and the satisfaction of a lock clicking open just can’t be beat. The story was a bit more childish than other escape rooms I’ve played. Most will have a slightly darker or sinister tone. Despite the constant threats of being eaten, this game never hits that. Instead of saying ‘uh oh, what's next’ I was more along the lines of ‘cool, let's get to the next puzzle.” It is also one of the easier escape rooms I’ve played. You won’t find any crazy complex challenges. More so, it's like working on an activities book. Some puzzles are more arts and crafts than mental gymnastics. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it works well to keep all players involved.

Final Thoughts: First off, there were a few things that bugged me. Looking at the cover I thought this was going to have an 80’s techno theme. The lines and coloring really give of that vibe. Maybe it’s due to my playing of the Sega Genesis game of the same title. I also never got that trapped in a room feeling like I do in other games. Maybe it was the style of the puzzles, which kinda felt like I was working on the puzzle section of a Highlights magazine (I may have really aged myself there.) I just never felt stuck on anything. That being said, I enjoyed my time playing this game. The puzzles were unique enough. There were plenty of surprises. While the story was plenty cheesy it did have us laughing at parts. Most of all, as I stated earlier, nothing is more satisfying than feeling the click when you figure out a lock.

More hardcore gamers may want to sniff around elsewhere but otherwise this experience is approved!
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