Escape the Crate is a subscription box in the vein of the escape game phenomenon and home game variations such as the Exit series. This is my second crate from them after Escape the Circus Heist, which I enjoyed quite a bit.
** SPOILER FREE **
The subscription service delivers a new “crate” every other month. Some of their “retired” (past) boxes are available for individual purchase (at a higher price than getting them blind as they come out through the subscription). It’s nice to have the option to pick up old ones, and makes sense to offer them as possible given the effort that goes in putting this type of experience together.
Similarly to Circus Heist, Escape the Games of Olympus contained an introductory letter directing the player to a required website, a few props, several cards, envelopes, and sheets for the puzzles. There was no dedicated sheet to be cut up and written on that can be reprinted this time, but this box didn’t really need it.
The structure was a bit different this time where the bulk of the game is actually a batch of four smaller sub-adventures that can be played in any order (with their own time goals so if you are playing with that optional aspect it’s easy to stop between parts). I’m a bit of a mythology buff, so this theme was right up my alley and they did a good job incorporating the subject matter into the puzzles.
I liked some of the puzzles much more than others, but overall this was another really solid and fun experience. Even the part that was a touch less enjoyable than the rest for me was fairly and logically built and wasn’t bad to finish once I made slight use of the extensive and well done hint system. And when this box shined, it really shined. I found a couple of the puzzles to be particularly clever.
The way in which the website is used to support the story elements for a bit of immersion while also providing progression framework continues to be impressive. Again extra touches like optional recordings of the text from the websites make this a well developed, engaging product, and the password system does a nice job of both allowing the story elements to have progression and to let players attempt to answer a puzzle without spoiling the actual solution if they are incorrect.
The props are well integrated with the puzzles, and the fact that the inside of the boxes themselves are used as well continues to be one of my favorite things about these. Games of Olympus also has an optional side element, which was interesting enough and the way it was implemented was a very nice thematic touch.
Finally the connecting narrative between the boxes provides a nice (if a little out there) link between each installment while still allowing each to stand alone. So far there’s absolutely nothing preventing someone starting with any given box from what I’ve seen, although playing the two back to back hinted at some larger story points and had a couple of really nice callbacks.
Another good game box overall. I do feel I’m getting my money’s worth from these thus far (particularly considering they are resettable) and while they won’t necessarily challenge experienced puzzlers too deeply they are quite enjoyable and I do recommend them.