Official Premise (from Escape From Home): None provided, though the titles are self-explanatory, and all your magical journeys will begin with the opening of the attic wardrobe.
AN EXPLOSION OF AT HOME PUZZLES
Like many parts of the world, much of Europe experienced a long period of economy shutdown due to pandemic control measures. While entertainment venues, including beloved escape room companies, were not allowed to open, many puzzle and game makers shifted focus, and started providing online options to their customers instead.
Today, we examined not one, not two, but THREE free games from UK's Escape From Home.
THREE FLAVORS TO CHOOSE FROM
While all 3 games are more aimed towards younger audience, say up to early teens, these are actually 3 separate adventures with quite the contrasting themes. Each episode is a self-contained quest that can be done out of order without much impact on the individual plots, though playing them in publish chronology (Egyptian, Pirate's, Global) makes the most sense.
Each story begins with your being bored at home, casually venturing through the magical door of the attic wardrobe, and eventually landing in the outside world, wherever that may lead you! The first two puzzle scenarios are always similar in theme, providing a common launching point for all 3 journeys, and a sense of cohesiveness and familiarity that's reminiscent of a TV series.
Like the kids in "The Chronicles of Narnia", when playing these games back to back, I thought to myself, "Here I go again!"
Pro tips: Do not play these on a mobile device. The hint system employs your mouse cursor hovering over a button, and thereby revealing extra help and ultimately the solution. This, however, does NOT work on your cell phone. You will flat out see your answer right away.
Also, pay attention to the password's requested format--use capital letters, or type in all small letters, use space, or eliminate any space, when asked. (It's a bit disorderly, I know.)
IN HOT WATER, OR LACK THEREOF
It came as no surprise that the magical portal of the clothing closet led us to the hot desert in Egypt, placing us right next to the pyramids of Giza. This is, after all, one of the most often chosen themes for escape games, and it's always proper to start the kids early with the traditions. Youngsters, this is Escape Room Culture 101.
"The Egyptian Escape" (difficulty: easy) sets up an expectation and trend of how Escape From Home will present its games. All following installments will be identical in format. You get a section of text, some form of media, whether decorative or integral to the puzzle, a password field to enter your solution, and hint buttons at the bottom.
Of the puzzles available, some were typical escape room "padlock combo" seeking challenges, and some were image based brainteasers that often appear on Instagram posts. A couple stood out as "Google searches" questions, and I kinda realized a newfound respect for them as they taught me some random facts that I never knew before about ancient burial customs.
PIRATES, OF COURSE, A CLASSIC TROPE
It seems like we, as escape room lovers, can never escape the fate of seeking hidden treasures and inevitably arriving at the face of mortal danger as, you guessed it, pirates. From being locked in a cell, to climbing onto the deck, and finally arriving at a sandy beach with a treasure chest sure to be uncovered soon, you've seen it, you've done it. Love it or hate it, this is Vol 2.
"A Pirate's Problem" (difficulty: easy), as all sequels should, bulked up the body count... whoops, sorry, puzzle count. You have slightly more to do this time around, and the adventure may last a bit longer. However, the puzzles in this chapter were not my favorite since they resembled a lot like elementary school education activities packet. While the previous game provided some didactic moments, this one fell flat for me.
Children may appreciate some pattern recognition and math practice, nonetheless.
AIR TRAVEL WITHOUT HEALTH RISKS
Finally, third time's the charm, and the supernatural wardrobe sends the players on a "Global Gateway" (difficulty: intermediate). Ironically, in a time when public flights may not be the safest transit option, we're sent all over the world virtually on the screen. Alas, we don't actually do a lot of sightseeing, since most puzzles are confined within airports and planes.
Puzzles newcomers included investigation on actual existing websites, origami based activity (fun!), and again some Google search learning moments. My personal favorite was trying to find my departing gate via logic--while learning a new vocabulary word!
However, game developer should take note, Google search results vary from user to user, especially if they are physically located in different countries. One particular puzzle proved to be very complicated to impossible solve when playing in the US. Perhaps in future games, the search subject could be a little less locally oriented to fit a broader audience.
A COMPLIMENTARY SAMPLER
Usually a company would give you a small taste of what they offer before transitioning to their purchase-to-play model, so I thought it was quite generous for the owner to provide multiple games, completely free of charge, for children with little to do at home to pass time. This wasn't even a modestly sized supermarket sample; this was a straight-up buffet.
Best of all, these are actually somewhat educational (I myself learned a thing or two) and trump passively staring at the telly, as my mother always taught me. As an adult escape room enthusiast, these are admittedly a bit on the drier side, and I think a more uniform and unique art style would benefit the various web based contents. Good visuals help things pop!
However, I am in no place to complain since I am not part of the core audience. And still, I gotta once again emphasize, they packed a lot for you to do in each game, not asking for a single cent! (Or as the British say, a single pence!)
If you have played through any of the above online games, enjoyed what you saw, or you simply would like to support the creator's future endeavors, they have a paid title available for purchase, entitled "History Re-written". Head over and see if you could right the wrongs in the course of history?
(Maybe we could turn back time and exercise better containment strategies and efforts for this viral outbreak? Anyone?)
► DISCLAIMERS ◄
All official media are provided by or credited to respective contents owners, and are used with proper permission for the purpose of this post.