Prison Island & Asylum
13 February 2021
2.0 out of 5.0 stars
I was given this Escape Room Duo game as the owner had accidentally ordered the German version, which wasn’t made clear on the website where they bought it. So they passed it on to me, knowing that I could happily play this version.
I haven’t played any of the Escape Room The Game games before, so this was my first experience with this type of boxed escape room. It came with a 15 minute tutorial called Kidnapped, which only took me a few minutes to solve but helps familiarise players with the structure of the game, as well as two supposedly 1hr games.
The first game is called Prison Island in which you’re tasked with breaking out of a prison, a pretty standard theme in escape rooms. The second one is Asylum and look quite cringey from the start. I have an issue with this popular horror and escape room theme of mental asylums portrayed as places of torture that one must escape. It’s super stigmatising of mental illness and exploitative of the victims of actual mental institutions of the past. It’s just not something I like to see used and I was very apprehensive towards the theme from the beginning. But let’s start with the game play.
Escape Room The Game are played with a folded map that you gradually unfold for the different chapters of the game. There is also a hint system included on the game sleeves and an app with a key decoder. For each of the three chapters of a game you unfold the map once and look for a 4-part code that you input into the decoder. Prison Island was fun to play but felt quite rudimentary. Riddles were easy to solve and codes somewhat obvious throughout. On my own and without any hints, it only took me 24 minutes to solve this one.
Then there was the Asylum game. The premise is seriously that your friend is supposed to be lobotomised because of epilepsy and you must rescue her. I have no idea what the creators were thinking, seems like they weren’t. It also includes other patients whose illnesses are ridiculed as a tool in the game. It’s really gross and shouldn’t happen in our time anymore, it’s not 1950! It took me 37 minutes to solve with one clue and left a very bitter aftertaste due to the exploitative stigma. I’d say avoid this one.