ESCAPE GAME REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’ve always wondered if your family had a secret stash.
Avoid if… you don’t take advantage of local pamphlets and brochures while on vacation.
Developer Website: https://www.argyxgames.com/
The Game: Legacy: Quest for a Family Treasure – Episode 2: Hellas
Description (from the company website): Marseille, Fall 2019. You receive the letter of a notary that comes with a mysterious black box. In his last will, your estranged father reveals the existence of a family treasure, hidden somewhere in Europe. To find it, he leaves you objects and documents that belonged to him as well as to your ancestor. You have to shed light on the past in order to be able to claim your inheritance… (see their video below)
Difficulty (1-10): N/A
Time Limit: None, but typically completed in 60-90 minutes on average
Cost: $56 to $119, depending on which package you back on Kickstarter
Party Size: 2-4 people
Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this game for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.
Description of the game: We’re not going to go into detail here as it’s basically a surprise for you. Our promotional game, however, came in a blue paper envelope from Argyx in Paris. Your game will come in the black box shown on the KickStarter page.
Understanding of the Mission: First, keep in mind that Hellas is game 2 in this set. Its story continues the one you complete in Eiffel 1889 (which is also a slightly longer game than Hellas). In Eiffel 1889, you were trying to find the identity of a lost ancestor. In Hellas, you need to take what you learned and discover the location of said ancestors buried fortune. There are 5 distinct tasks for you to complete to do so.
How Much Space is Needed: 4-6 sq.ft. is sufficient for the materials, plus space for a laptop or tablet.
Age Appropriate: It’s rated 14+. There’s nothing inappropriate in Hellas.
Did We “Escape”: Yep!
Time Remaining: We finished in about 1:15 (it should take you 60-90 minute on average). Yay, we’re average!
Our Suggested Party Size: 2-4 for sure
Did the room challenge the entire team? Mostly
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph D, Heather
Worth the time and money? This is a loaded question. The price is pretty steep for a take home game ($57/€47), BUT that gets you 2 games (Eiffel 1889 and Hellas (this one)) and all the stretch goals of the campaign (which includes, at the time of this writing, 1 additional document for Eiffel 1889 and one for Hellas (which is another puzzle)). That comes out to roughly 2-3 hours of total game time.
|Oscar from Argyx Games found us online and emailed straightaway to get us to try out their game prior to the end of their Kickstarter campaign. As we were finally reaching a lull in our lives (personally and professionally), we decided we’d give it a try, with one caveat: We only had one copy of the game (in my possession) so we wanted to ensure we could actually play over a Google Meet video chat. There are a few physical elements to it that concerned me but we were able to make it work.
We’ve only really played one of these subscription-type boxes (the first several of Dispatch’s On The Run) so we were a little skeptical about how it would work remotely, but we’re always up for a challenge.
|I really didn’t know anything about the game until Jason mentioned on chat that he answered an email that came into our account about trying out a new game.
After months of self-isolation and a lot of work going on with my professional lives (I say “lives” because I have my day job, the ERG, and am a professor teaching for this semester), I was WELL due for a break and to play a game.
|We set up a Google Meet (I like to vary which service I use but have yet to try a Facebook Room) and started the timer (which actually starts automatically once you click the link on their web page to begin the game). I actually like that it monitors time for you. No specific mobile app or anything of the type required; just internet access.
That said, the game is relatively straightforward. Once you unpack everything (and again, not posting any pictures or SPOILERS like I’ve seen in some other reviews of this game; I hate that) and lay it out, follow the instructions from the “notary” (preferably in order but not necessarily required), and solve the puzzles on your way to the end game of finding the buried treasure.
I can easily say my favorite puzzle was the travel agency map; least favorite was the physical manipulation (I just did not put 2 and 2 together to solve that one; had Mike been present in person, hands on with the materials, he certainly would have figured it out). I should note that, as we only had 1 copy of the game, I sent him pictures of all the paperwork before we started and kept the very minimal amount of physical items myself.
The puzzles were clever and different from the home games we’ve already played. The web interface is a little plain but works. If you’re using a laptop or mobile phone, make sure you scroll all the way down on the pages as you may miss some data (though nothing that I recall being particularly relevant/necessary to the game or story).
I wouldn’t say the game is particularly difficult; most of our time was spent trying to figure out how to manipulate things. But that’s not to say it isn’t clever. There was a time where I was expecting to have to unscramble a jumble. I was wrong. Just left it as is.
As for getting help, there are multiple clues per puzzle, all getting progressively more blatant. The first one is a subtle clue; the last one is basically how to solve the puzzle. Which is fine; this is an at home game after all.
I wouldn’t say there’s much point it playing it again, but seeing as you don’t have to (partially) destroy anything, this is certainly a game you can lend to a friend or split a copy and hand it over when you’re done.
|We checked out the video on Kickstarter so we could get an idea of what the premise of the game was and it looked like a fun game to play, and had a bit of a different take from some of the other mail-order games we’ve played. I always admire ingenuity, and know the work that is put into designing something like this, so kudos to Argyx for creating this.
We had some logistical issues to deal with (different locations and time zones), so that presented some initial problems, but we figured them out for the most part (it was just difficult not being able to touch and examine the physical pieces… instead, we had to rely on the photos Jason took of the items and sent us). Overall, though, we were able to get a good semblance of how the game is played.
I think that we’ll see more and more games like this being played in split locations (due to social distancing), so game designers might want to keep this in mind (is the game playable from two locations?). It’s not my preferred method of playing, and I’m not saying NOT to try and play with others over video chat, but it will alter your playing experience a bit. And I’m ABSOLUTELY not holding the logistical issues we encountered against Argyx (this game would work really well for a family or a household to play). I’m glad that I got to check it out, and had fun for the most part.
I will say that I started off trying to play this on a tablet while running the video conference on my laptop. That didn’t last very long, so I suggest that you use your laptop to run the game. If you are going to play with others on a video chat, run the video conference from a tablet or second laptop.
I did like the blend of technology and physical puzzles. The design of the physical pieces was well done (and Jason and Steph said that the production value of the physical pieces were pretty good too). I wondered briefly after playing that if Argyx would turn this more into an app to help with the game play. After considering how the game was played, I immediately decided that it’s not necessary for this iteration since you feel like you’re actually doing some research to find the pieces of the mystery.
The hints device was well done. The website gives you the hints in stages, which is a nice way to get you moving if you’re completely stuck. I also liked the links to some helpful reference sites. So, while you needed “some” outside knowledge, Argyx gives you the resources to solve it on your own.
The one puzzle I really liked was fun because it wasn’t as easy as it seemed when you first start working on it. There were some more obscure things to look for that I think wouldn’t have been as frustrating if we had the entire package in front of us.
Overall, it was a great way to spend an hour on the weekend with friends. In hind sight: I think I would have tried to communicate more with Jason and Steph (who had the physical pieces) so that Heather and I could figure out what they were working on because – at points – it seemed like we were competing vs. collaborating.
|ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
|I’m leaving this at 1 (miffed) because I blatantly disregarded one of the items because of its…packaging. Everything else was coded with an appropriate symbol to match which task you were on and when we didn’t see one for the GPS indicator icon, I still never bothered with it. >_<
|I give this a 3 “aw, how did I miss that” because I found something and went off on a tangent vs. sticking to what I was supposed to do, and that bit me in the ass.
FacePalms – 3/5
For a game that we unexpectedly got to play, it was a fun challenge and way to reconnect with friends during this whole social-distancing way of life. The production value is well done, and we’re now curious about how the longer version plays after completing its “sequel.” Due to the cost, we wonder if it might benefit Argyx on future games to release the shorter version as a demo at a lower cost and as a “prequel” to get people interested in the longer game. This might, however, be difficult to figure out if it’s a Kickstarter campaign Additionally, they have online puzzles on their website as well as Pocket Investigations, which appear to be similar to Legacy in style. We might pick up one or two of them to review in the future.