In the brand new Escape Quests from Jumbo, you will puzzle your way through various riddles and tasks. In The Beginning: Ascalons Fury, you descend into the maze-like catacombs and try to find the exit. In Itzamna's eye, you search for a legendary jewel hidden in a temple.
Both Escape Quests work in the same way. You start by making the big puzzle. While making the puzzle you can read the story. When the big puzzle is finished you may open the first envelope where several riddles await you. With the logbook you can solve these riddles. Most envelopes contain extra mini puzzles that fit into the big puzzle. At some point when you have solved all the riddles and puzzles you can turn the puzzle over to check if you did it right.
We were very surprised when we saw at Spellenspektakel that Jumbo was starting a new line of escape puzzles. The theme of the box immediately appealed to us and we could already see a sneak preview of the puzzle and the story. We were very excited about the escape puzzle of Identity Games and therefore we were eager to play these puzzles as well. After opening the box you can immediately start putting together the large puzzle. While puzzling, you have time to read through the story where you may also be able to make some insightful links to the puzzle. We find it very nice to get that story while you are puzzling, it reinforces the theme enormously. If you don't like this and just want to solve puzzles you can leave it out, because you can also play the game without reading the story.
When you finish the big puzzle you get to open the first envelope. Envelopes can contain riddles, objects and mini puzzles. The mini puzzles are placed inside the large puzzles and can be used to solve riddles. You may also need to solve riddles to find the correct position and location of the puzzle! In Ascalons Fury we were not quite sure how to find the right location so we had the discs in the wrong place. We did have the riddles right after that, but they come out wrong because the puzzles were already in the wrong location. We can't tell you the reason, because then we give part of the solution. As far as we are concerned, this could have been made a little clearer.
The riddles are certainly challenging and you have to think hard and especially watch carefully, but they are certainly not impossible. We do recommend that you do not play this game on your own, but that is actually the case with every escape room. It can happen that you get stuck and another player can give you a fresh perspective. If you do get stuck you can always use hint cards or if you still can't find the walktrough on the website of House of Treasure. You can also find printables on these websites so that you can play the game again if you have written on the game parts.
Unfortunately you can only play each Escape Quest 1 time, because after that you already know all the answers. If you did not write on the game pieces you can put them back in the right envelopes and pass them on to friends or family. We think it is a nice tradition to always put the names of the players in the box and how long it took you to play. That way other people can enjoy them too! If you then look at the price of about 20 euros, this game offers you and other people a lot of fun.
Of course, you can never compare board game versions of escape rooms to real escape rooms. It is always difficult to estimate when you need hints and how difficult you should make the escape room. Some players see the answer right away while others need fifteen minutes. Still, we think these Escape Quests are pretty close to the real deal. If you like puzzles and escape rooms, this is definitely a must! Start with Ascalons Fury and then play Itzamna's Eye, these two follow up on each other! We can't wait for the next part!
Pros and cons
+ Good story with well implemented theme
+ No rules, you start playing right away
+ Challenging riddles
- Some hints aren't very clear which makes errors have a lot of impact