Exit The Game: The Gate Between Worlds is a new escape room board game from Thames and Kosmos. With the prevalence of Escape Rooms in real life (maybe not as much anymore?) these one box/one play games are a novel concept. While it’s fun to play in a group, as I did with my review of The House of Riddles and Theft on the Mississippi, my approach with The Gate Between Worlds was to see how well it held up as a solo adventure.
The story of The Gate Between Worlds actually picks up from the tail end of The Cemetery of the Knight (Don’t worry you don’t need to have played that one.) The party found a map that has subsequently led them to a mysterious gate with rotating rings. By solving puzzles you’ll activate the gate and hop between different worlds solving riddles and puzzles along the way.
The kinds of worlds that you get to visit through this story range from alien planets and underwater cities, to literal hellscapes. In this story using the decoder dial as the central focus of the story, the gate itself, also serves to further integrate the players into the experience too. The story may not be deep but it’s fun to know that authors, Inka and Markus Brand and Ralph Querfurth, are not just finding ways to link together a variety of puzzles and locations, but attempting to branch an overarching plotline through the series.
Inside the board game you’ll find your Riddle Cards (though only one), numbered answer cards, help cards for each of the riddles, the decoder disk that plays the dual role of titular Gate, and an assortment of items for puzzles like rubber bands, a cardboard key, and some wire rods. The story is told through the numbered “world” posters. You’ll begin the game with the one and only Riddle Card but then you’ll get to move on to the riddles told on the posters themselves.
The complexity that went into each of these posters was a lot of fun. For many you’d be required to cut parts out of them for use in the present riddle, or for later on. Each world did fall into a pattern of delivering a paragraph of information, then you as the player would get the required pieces cut out, and then you’d get to begin solving. It was a straightforward approach but was very effective.
While The Gate Between Worlds was a 3 out of 5 difficulty EXIT the Game it was definitely on the easier side. One of the big complaints I had with Theft on the Mississippi was its non-linear design and that the players are given multiple riddles and clues at a time causing confusion as to what items are needed for each riddle. Near the end of The Gate Between Worlds, there are a number of puzzles that do require information from each of the previously visited worlds but the approach of slow introductions of items, and then a puzzle related to them all at the end was much more digestible that being given a whole lot of clues and three riddles at once.
The first EXIT game I played was in a crowded bar with friends, the second was at my dining room table with others around, I wanted to go into this one solo. Aspects of escape rooms like cycling props around the table for everyone to see, or reading instructions over multiple times were eliminated entirely and the time was instead spent thinking quietly to myself. There were one or two puzzles that I did consult those around me to get a second opinion, the “Message from Bloxx” I wasn’t even able to solve based on what it required, but playing The Gate Between Worlds as a solo experience was truly delightful. Not to say that playing with a group all spitballing ideas across a table isn’t a really fun and hectic time, but solo might be my preferred way to play these now.
The Bottom Line:
The Gate Between Worlds is another great entry into the franchise. The ability for the pieces of the game to be so intrinsically tied to the story do a great job of aiding in the immersion of the escape room experience. The mark was certainly missed for at least one of the puzzles, but the rest do a good job of testing players' mental reasoning and problem-solving skills. It’s approach to one riddle at a time was appreciated. If you’re playing with friends, or even alone, it’s an enjoyable experience.
Get this game if:
- You have an afternoon you want to fill with some puzzling fun
- You’re a fan of logic puzzles
- You want to play a game with friends, or on your own
Avoid this game if:
- You don’t want your time off to be spent wrapping your mind around puzzles
- You don’t want a board game you can only play once
The copy of EXIT the Room: The Gate Between Worlds used in this review was provided by the publisher.