Escape Academy review for PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X

Platform: computer
Also On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Skybound Games, Iam8bit
Developer: Corner Crew Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

Escape Academy challenges you to enter into the halls of the prestigious, well… Escape Academy! The gameplay is pretty simple and straightforward, and most of what you’ll be doing is concentrating on solving the clues laid out in the area you’re in so you can progress. It has a tip system integrated if you get too stuck, that ranges from pointing out where you might find what you’re looking for, to “I can see you’re having a really hard time, just, here is the answer” depending on how many times you request a hint without solving something. Do not ask me how I know.

I want to give Escape Academy praise while avoiding talking about too many specifics in encounters because I fear I may give away some of the answers by referencing them. Escape Academy is a very well crafted game that really scratches the itch that you get from actual escape rooms. You even get the looming pressure of a timer (in most instances) making you have to keep on your toes, and overturn the entire building as fast as possible, hunting for your answers. It’s the right mix of challenging and straightforward to keep things difficult without being overwhelmed.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, there is a handy hint system integrated into the game that helps nudge you in the right direction. I found this really helped for when I was bashing my head against the wall trying to figure out what I could’ve possibly missed (it happened a few times, but I don’t blame the game design here, that’s all on me). On the opposite end of appreciation to this functionality, I appreciate that the tip is offered to you immediately and never pops up or blinks or sets off any whistles going “hey, what’s taking you so long? Do you need a hint, or did you stop trying?”. A lot of games in this style like to really flash to you that you’re taking too long by throwing the hint request in your face, and I gotta say, it’s a really welcome fact when a game doesn’t, and just offers you to take hints whenever you feel it’s necessary.

The gameplay is extremely simple, and seems to remove as much complication as possible from the motion around the room. There’s no jumping, so no weird, hidden puzzles that you can only see from standing on top of a specific table, and there’s no crouching, so same point there. The interactables are all pretty clear and in your face, so the primary focus comes down to solving how all of this fits together. Similarly, the visuals are all pretty clear and relatively simple. They do well to ensure you’re not having difficulties seeing things by keeping color design and lighting variability to a minimum around the map. I never experienced any issues with items blending into a table, or being hard to see otherwise that is often an issue I’ve encountered with other games like Escape Academy.

Overall, I thought Escape Academy was a great game, and does what it wants to serve you very well. The puzzle design is excellent and the wide array of environments keeps things fresh. The only complaint I could give is saying I wish there we more, but the quality of what is here makes it hard to complain. If you’re on PC or Xbox, you’re in luck, because it’s on Xbox Game Pass day one as well. With that fact, you’ve got no excuse not to play! It’s worth a go and a brain stimulating video game is always welcome.

Note: Skybound Games provided us with an Escape Academy PC code for review purposes.

Grade: HAS-

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