We had the opportunity to play Coin Crew Games’ new escape room video game “Escape Academy” ahead of its late June release date. If there is one segment of the entertainment industry that has suffered the most over the past few pandemic-filled years, it has to be the escape room sector. Lockdowns and social distancing, as well as the numerous health and safety regulations that have been implemented over the years, must have made it even more difficult to organize an engaging and distinctive physical escape room experience, which is a shame given how much fun they can be. Fortunately, things are returning to normal, but Coin Crew Games has opted to go all-in on a virtual alternative with Escape Academy, a perplexing escape room computer game.
The title “Escape Academy” pretty much says it all, as the game shows you sliding into a strange and mystical world where you are training to become the ultimate escapist at a fictional academy. Doing so necessitates tackling a slew of challenges akin to those found in a traditional escape room, such as solving code-based puzzles, hacking servers, and uncovering hidden secrets, and all of this is the case because Escape Academy was created by a group of experts who were previously known for the real-life escape rooms they designed.
To that aim, Escape Academy is a game that features all of the traditional escape room clichés and will require you to solve issues that are familiar and similar. Whether it’s utilizing a black light to find a code to a lock drawn in invisible ink, or breaking a cipher of mumbo jumbo characters and symbols, the puzzles are handled in such a way that anyone with a modicum of understanding when it comes to puzzle encounters can approach them. But where the game differs from reality is in its ability to throw logic and safety out the window and place you as the player in a variety of circumstances that are, to put it mildly, lethal and a touch horrifying.
For example, we were shown a level in which the player is responsible for advancing up to five floors, each of which is crammed with challenges. The goal is to solve the essential issues in order to release the door that protects the ladder to the next floor, and while this may sound simple, the entire escape room was steadily filling with water. Essentially, it’s a level in which you, as the player, are racing to solve puzzles in order to prevent drowning, which is much beyond what would be conceivable in reality and is about as frenetic and unpleasant in-game as it appears. Although there appears to be plenty of time to go through the process of inspecting the space, obtaining clues, and then piecing together the puzzle, seeing water pooling around your feet and legs is more than enough to get the adrenaline pounding.
Since Escape Academy strives to provide an experience as close to a real escape room as possible, you’ll be relieved to know that, aside from a guide who provides a few clues and hints when necessary, it’s up to you to solve the problems, which means you should bring a notebook or some way to jot down clues to ensure a smooth solving process.
Apart from having to take some initiative to speed up the process, Escape Academy appears to have been designed to be a very easy and approachable game. The gameplay is simple and clear, centered on moving and looking around, as well as engaging with the stages and puzzles inside them. To this degree, Escape Academy appears to provide an experience that is more psychologically hard than physically challenging, which in our opinion is a victory for a game of this kind, especially when considering its multiplayer systems.
Escape Academy will enable two-player cooperative play, both locally and online, so you can work together to solve the puzzles if you wish. However, the puzzles do not alter and the complexity does not rise in multiplayer; it is still the same levels, but open for a team of two to consider. As a result, don’t anticipate replayability to be a priority in Escape Academy, because once you’ve solved a puzzle once, you’ll know how to do it again. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Coin Crew Games has built a video game that is intended to take a few hours to beat in the first place, which means you should have plenty of problems to overcome on your first playtime.