Welcome to Escape Academy, you have been deemed worthy to join the world’s most exclusive escapists school. In here you will solve puzzles, compete with other students, and meet your teachers.
Escape Academy is developed by Coin Crew Games and published by Skybound Games. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome at any point. It is short and fun from start to finish. Let us take a deeper look into how Escape Academy trains you to become the best escapist.
I should start off by saying that I’ve played this game co-op the whole 5 hours. All my experience will be regarding co-op gameplay and difficulty, rather than singleplayer.
As you might have guessed, Escape Academy follows a general increase in difficult as the game goes on. Before you start each puzzle, you will be given an estimated difficulty and a time limit. As always, time limits make situations more intense. Even though I never really ran out of time (except for the final puzzle), the time limit still added to my overall stress. There are also environmental effects and queues to make the player feel like time is running out. Once again, I really liked this addition. Even thought the stakes were stated at the beginning, these extra enhancements made gameplay more exciting.
I wouldn’t classify Escape Academy’s puzzles’ difficulty as “unsolvable” at any degree. If you ever feel like you are stuck, there are hints you can take gradually for help. I’ve only had to use hints a total of 2 or 3 times throughout the game. In my opinion, Escape Academy’s puzzles are quite perfect. You start of trying to collect information and figure out your path. As the time goes on everything fits perfectly together and the chaos slowly fades. There were a couple quite easy and hard puzzle parts here and there, but overall, the difficulty was completely balanced. The game urges you to keep a pen and pencil at hand. I’ve found listening to this advice very useful the whole time.
The Co-op Aspect
Now onto the co-op aspect of puzzles. When inspected closely, most of the puzzles work admirably well for 2 people co-op. However, I couldn’t help but notice some puzzles, where they weren’t made to be solved with 2 people. One of us always had to watch or wait, until the other one solved it. Luckily this wasn’t a common occurrence. Majority of the puzzles accommodated co-op gameplay. I would even extend this comment to say, they were made for co-op. There were times where I felt some puzzles would be very difficult without another person helping.
Story and Characters
There aren’t a lot of characters in Escape Academy. In total, there are four teachers, one custodial staff, and one other student. I felt this was a good choice. Since there aren’t a lot of characters, the overall story manages to include everyone equally.
The characters themselves are quite likeable. They all possess different personalities and have their own “vibe”. I didn’t expect to find characters this well executed in an escape room game. I was pleasantly surprised with it overall.
My co-op partner’s and my favorite part was the humor surrounding the game. From the little jokes scattered around the puzzle rooms, to the little snippets during dialogue; almost all jokes landed perfectly. There were puns, quick wits, and jokes with long set-ups. The best thing is the game doesn’t shove the comedic aspect into your face. Which makes it even funnier.
Overall, the general storyline is also pretty good. Although there are parts where you see it coming, it still has a few twists up its sleeve. The dialogue parts are never too long. And if it’s not really your thing you can always skip them without missing much gameplay wise.
Art Style and Music
Personally, I was a fan of the art style. It has its own unique feel to it. Fits really nice with the atmosphere of the game. The environments are quite detailed, and pretty. The color palette is used as a part of the puzzles and storytelling. I could tell a lot of love and attention went into creating the rooms and areas the escapes take place in.
Other than the main menu soundtrack, none of the music surrounding the game really made its place in my mind. It wasn’t bad or unfitting. It just wasn’t special.
I can’t really wrap up this review without mentioning some very annoying issues we’ve run into with my co-op partner. In two separate occasions we had game-breaking bugs. Luckily on one of them it was towards the end of the level, and we didn’t have to restart. However, we weren’t as lucky with the second one we ran into. Towards the middle of the level, one of us fell through the level basically and we had to restart.
Other than those game breaking bugs, we’ve also had different issues multiple times. A prominent one of those was, where one of us was seeing something different than the other. For example, when I was seeing page 5 in a book, my partner was seeing page 6. It was quite annoying regarding our communication.
Escape Academy is a great game with awesome characters and amazing humor. The puzzles are interesting, engaging, and intelligent. Art style fits nicely and the atmosphere is felt throughout the game. The only reason this game isn’t “perfect” are the technical issues. And the score will be reflecting that. Nevertheless, I would recommend this game to anyone who likes puzzles or escape rooms. It will be worth your time.