Escape the Crate is a bi-monthly subscription-box-based game that lets you bring the experience of an escape room home. Every other month, Escape the Crate delivers a new adventure that might involve murder mysteries, time travel stories, tasks like deciphering alien languages, defusing bombs, and more. Escape rooms have become a quickly growing sensation in the last couple of years, so this is a fun way to engage with the craze.
This is a review of the Escape The Crate "Games of Olympus" box.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Escape The Crate
The Subscription Box: Escape the Crate
The Cost: $29.99 every other month + shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
The Products: Each box contains the puzzle pieces that go with an escape room-style story designed for 2-4 people to solve. Inside you'll find letters, ciphers, puzzles, tools, objects, etc. that will help to complete the mission.
Ships to: The US for $5. Shipping cost varies internationally.
Good to Know: "Retired games" (boxes that are no longer part of the subscription) are often sold as one-time purchases on the Escape the Crate site for $39.99.
Escape the Crate "Games of Olympus" Review
This information sheet helps get you started with the crate. There's a special link to a website for your specific crate that will guide you and your "team" (in this case, me and some friends) through the game. So make sure you have a smartphone or computer handy and charged. We used a laptop and I think it worked better, since the whole team could see the information at the same time. Sometimes the puzzle you need to solve is on the website. So a bigger shared screen is better.
Having the website guide you through the set-up and story means you're not fumbling with a bunch of papers and potentially seeing information that would spoil things later in the game. As you play the game, the site will let you know which materials to open and when. Plus, each step is "locked" by numbers, names, or some other code that you must enter on the website before you can continue. Also, it's a big help to have a pen and paper for notes.
The website also begins with an example puzzle to help you understand how they work.
Inside the box, there are all sorts of envelopes, double-sided papers, puzzles, and props to be used throughout the adventure. The first thing we noticed this month was that the quality of the paper improved. Last time, the double-sided papers were basically nice printer paper. This month, they are glossy, which really makes the art pop. I hope this quality continues. We managed to complete this crate without using one of the papers. We're not sure if we missed something or just got lucky.
The setting for this box was ancient Greece. You and your team have traveled back in time to meet with the Oracle of Delphi, who has predicted the future with eerie accuracy. However, to speak with her, you must bring her offerings. So you are set on several separate quests to obtain relics.
You have the option to read or listen to an audio recording of each section. I like this because you can look at the table while the scenario is being read to you. It's also nice when you need to clarify what you heard. You can find the text without having to search through the audio file. The voice on the recording also adds a bit of personality to the experience.
At each step, you are given the option to receive hints. They start vaguely and get increasingly obvious. There's no penalty for taking a hint, except maybe a loss of satisfaction from not using one. I personally think there should be a penalty for using them, but, I guess if someone wants to be that hardcore, there's nothing really stopping them from penalizing themselves. After not using any hints for our first box, we actually used several this time around.
Each step can only be unlocked with a name, word, or number. The website will say, "You need a 5 digit number." However, this is a cheat at times. Sometimes you can make an educated guess because you know how many digits there are. And this month there was a puzzle we felt we solved correctly, but the number we ended with was too short. So we had to use hints and found out we had to solve it the long way, and the number of digits it wanted gave away how to do it.
In addition to a few papers, there are generally a handful of props included. This box included a foam eyeball, mirror, and wooden coin. (I think we got an extra wooden chip. So, if you get a box with only one, you'll be fine.) Each prop will come into play during the escape and you may use them in a way you didn't originally expect. The box itself also comes into play.
If you feel so inclined, you can time yourself to see how you stack up to the suggested times. Last month, it was one overall time. This month, you went on 4-5 separate quests and timed each one. I'm not sure if some are harder than others or we just got better with each one, but our first quest took 45 minutes and the last one took nine. But to be honest, we didn't really pay attention to the time this month. We just enjoyed doing the puzzles.
Interesting note: The website will help you reset the game, including downloading and printing any lost or destroyed paper components. That way you can play again or pass the game along to a friend to try.
The Verdict: I really enjoyed the art, increased quality of the paper, and some of this month's mechanisms. Also, the props this month seemed more involved than last time. We were definitely perplexed by some of the puzzles this month. My friends and I love escape rooms and game nights, so they were very excited when I texted them the next installment was here. While it's not quite the same experience as a real room, we all agreed it was a fun – and cheaper – way to spend a night with friends.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you'd get the upcoming box. The "Games of Olympus" box is available as a standalone purchase but is no longer as part of their bi-monthly subscription.
Value Breakdown: This box cost $29.99 + $5 shipping ($34.99 per delivery) as part of Escape the Crate's bi-monthly subscription. It's still available as a one-time, individual purchase of $39.99 from their shop. The prices for in-person escape rooms near me are around $24-30 per person. In my opinion, getting an escape room experience for the cost of just one ticket is totally worth it, especially since the experience can be shared and/or repeated.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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