I never would have anticipated that seven years after the debut of EXIT: Das Spiel from Inka and Markus Brand and KOSMOS in 2016 that escape room-style games would become an item in so many publishers’ catalogs, but here we are:
• Board&Dice and Lockme, which previously worked together on the Escape Tales line, has a new series called SideQuest, which is essentially an escape room-style game in an existing game universe. For example, SideQuest: Nemesis from designers Jakub Caban and Bartosz Idzikowski is set in the world of Adam Kwapiński‘s Nemesis. Here’s the pitch:
SideQuest: Nemesis offers captivating puzzles, an interesting scenario, and difficult choices to make while under pressure. The game will test your creativity, your perception, your open-mindedness. Be aware the silence aboard is not a good sign and intruders are hiding in the darkness. Complete your mission and avoid being contaminated at all costs!
A few hours, two terrified settlements, and one totally honorable saber duel later, you are here. The village looks boring, but there is an old, pagan chapel, seemingly sealed tightly. Sneaking in is not an option, so it’s time to get these doors open. Get inside the chapel and reach for treasure before others!
Both of these titles are due for release in 2023.
• At Gen Con 2023, Alley Cat Games will give away copies of Unfold: Through the Wall, a 30-minute demo game of the Unfold series from designers Alexander Peshkov and Ekaterina Pluzhnikova and Armenian publisher Red Cat Games.
The game is presented as a multi-folded paper in an envelope, and as you progress through the story and solve puzzles, you unfold new elements.
• A related game series that I’ve yet to cover in this space is the Hunt A Killer line of murder mystery games that debuted in 2018 and now includes more than thirty titles, with Homicide at the Heist and R.I.P. at the Rodeo both due out in U.S. stores in July 2023.
In general, the HAK line works along the lines of an EXIT, with you being presented with various objects — sometimes printed, sometimes physical such as a lock or sealed box — and you have to work through all of the elements to solve a crime.
• The earlier escape room games are still adding to their lines, of course, with Space Cow announcing a deal with Cartoon Saloon for an Unlock! Kids title in 2024 that will be based on the animated films The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, and Wolfwalkers.
In the press release announcing this title, Benoit Forget, Head of Space Cow said: “As a huge fan of Tomm Moore’s creativity, it is a privilege to collaborate with Cartoon Saloon on these three wonderful award-winning movies.”