Whether you’re stuck indoors or fancy an armchair adventure, here are my top recommendations
One of the few silver linings to come out of the whole business of 2020 was the explosion in creativity from the escape room industry.
As many companies had to pivot to non-physical games, we saw a meteroic rise of play-at-home escape games in a whole host of formats.
Here’s my top five plat-at-home escape games. Before I get into it – a couple of caveats:
- I’ve played a relatively small number of play-at-home games, so this list is by no means exhaustive. If you want to check out the full list of games available, I highly recommend you check out Escape the Review.
- This list is very much my personal preference rather than a definitive ‘best of’. When compiling the list, a clear pattern emerged as to what kinds of games really resonate with me.
- My plan is to update this list and and when something new comes into the top five. There are still so many games to play!
Without any further ado, here are my top five play-at-home escape games.
Honourable mention: An Enola Holmes Adventure
By Escape Hunt UK
Designed by Mairi Nolan, Bob Rimington and Phil White
A wonderful tie-in to the Netflix movie, An Enola Holmes Adventure is a light, fun adventure with solid puzzles and a surprising amount of interaction for a print-and-play.
It looks great and is an excellent complement to the film.
#5: The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hincks
By Bluefish Games
Designed by Anna Ellet and Ace Ellett
A game that’s bursting with creativity. It never ceases to amaze me how much the Hincks series can do with puzzles that revolve around wordplay.
There are some excellent tactile moments when playing The Curious Stairs of Mr. Hinkcs, and the game turns one of my least liked puzzle types into something wholeheartedly enjoyable.
#4: Legend A Game of Maps
By Legend: A Game of Maps
Designed by Ron Francesangelo
The attention to detail in this game is insane – you feel like you’re holding an actual historical artifact in your hands.
Legend: A Game of Maps is a game best sipped rather than quaffed – the puzzles are challenging and more about the discover than the solving. There’s a ton of extra content that hints at future adventures too.
#3: Madok’s Lost Treasure
By Society of Curiosities
Designed by Michelle Rundbaken and Yacine Merzouk
A game with a superb blend of old and new materials and leans into the ‘armchair treasure hunter’ aspect of play-at-home games.
You’ll feel like a real member of the excavation team, directing things from the comfort of your home. There’s a great mix of traditional puzzles and discovery as you communicate with your team on the ground, and the whole package makes for a fun, immersive experience.
#2: The Cyphstress
By Deadlocked Online
Designed by James Hamer-Morton and Charlie Bond
I’ve yet to play a game with a greater heart than The Cyphstress.
A collaboration with Siren Brewery, The Cyphstress is bursting at the seams with content. And with its designers James and Charlie – both of whom are seasoned actors – as the main characters, you have a game with a great sense of narrative.
And beyond the numerous quality puzzles that blend print-and-play with messenger bots and even VR, you’re left with a profound sense of satisfaction that’s not just about ‘winning the game’. It’s hard to explain, but The Cyphstess makes you feel like an integral part of the story, so you’re as happy as the characters to see it come to a satisfying conclusion.
#1 : Witchery Spell
By DarkPark Games
Designed by Gijs Geers and Sanne Post
What can I say about this game without giving away massive spoilers?
We played it on Halloween. And – partly owing to the time of year – I was genuinely nervous about proceeding in some places. It felt like we were actually taking part in a spell or ritual. No other game has made me that immersed.
The components are excellent, the story is gripping and your’re pulled into its world immediately. It feels less of a pure puzzle game and more of an immersive theatre experience. The non-linearity to the game adds to this – you’re not bouncing puzzle to puzzle, you’re picking up pieces of someone’s life and using them to … well, I’ll let you find out.