Family-Friendly EXIT Boxes

EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster, EXIT: The House of Riddles

Are EXIT boxes good for families? What are EXIT boxes and why would you want one?

KOSMOS has released 13 escape-room-in-a-box products called EXIT boxes. Each box features a circular decoder disk, a book of riddles, and a few other tidbits to contribute to their respective mysteries. The boxes are ranked from one to five on a difficulty scale indicating how hard the puzzles are to complete.

Each EXIT box has a story associated with them, usually requiring the players to take on the role of characters trying to escape the situation and avoid an untimely fate.

EXIT boxes are destructible, one-time-use puzzle boxes that can be fun for the whole family. They range in price from $10 to $15 and usually last between 1-2 hours. The boxes contain almost everything you need; just add a few writing implements, a piece of paper for notes, and a pair of scissors.

So, which EXIT boxes are the best for families? This week we’re taking a look at EXIT: The House of Riddles and EXIT: The Haunted Rollercoaster. These are the latest releases from KOSMOS and are the lowest difficulty boxes yet, rated at two out of five. We tried them both with our kids (ages 8 & 11), hopeful they would not prove too difficult or too scary.

The following review will have pictures of some of the interior content, but should not spoil any of the puzzles.

House of Riddles EXIT box, book, and decoder wheel
Can you defeat the House of Riddles?

EXIT: The House of Riddles

Three detectives have invited you to the mysterious “House of Riddles”. They sent you a strange disk that you’ll need to solve numeric codes. You knock, then open the door. No one is there – and then you get locked in! What to do now?

The House of Riddles directs you through puzzles one at a time to move from room to room.

As is typical in the EXIT series, each puzzle solution is a 3 digit code: set it on the decoder wheel to determine an answer card to examine. The first answer card will always ask you “where do you see this symbol?” and direct you to a second card, which either tells you you’re wrong or congratulates you on your success. If you’re right, you’ll get directions for the next puzzle. Once you’ve solved all the puzzles, you will escape the house, of course.

The puzzles here are not at all scary. As usual, there was a clever use of all the materials in the box – so clever that one of the puzzles tripped us up for a little while. Our kids quickly got into the mindset of finding sets of 3 numbers to try on the decoder wheel.

Our favorite puzzle as a family was “Mario’s Fitness Program”, which required one teammate (we used Dad) to follow directions to contort his body into all sorts of shapes. Overall, the puzzles were more physical than we expected, which was engaging for our kids.

book from EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster
Will you survive the Haunted Roller Coaster?

EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster

It was probably a poor decision to ride “the Haunted Roller Coaster” at a weird little amusement park. But it’s too late now – you hear diabolical laughter and a tinny voice telling you that “only the bravest and cleverest will be able to find their way out again!”

Like The House of Riddles, The Haunted Roller Coaster takes a very linear approach, offering up just one puzzle at a time, while making excellent use of the box itself and all the materials contained inside.

The puzzles here are a bit creepier. But it’s still only Halloween-house level, so most 10-year-olds should be able to deal with it. A few of the puzzles needed more domain knowledge or attention to detail than in the House of Riddles, so we would recommend this for kids to do with a grown-up.

We’d also recommend multiple pairs of scissors on hand – there are puzzles that require a lot of cutting, and if every kid can cut at the same time, no one has to sit around and wait.

Impressions

We’d recommend either of these EXIT boxes for a family to do together, but stick with The House of Riddles if your kids can’t handle creepy monsters. Plan to be on hand to help your kids out – or better yet, do it with them! It’s an experience your whole family can enjoy. Pick them up on Amazon for under $15 each, or ask for them at your local game store.

No matter how you do with it, take heart! If you absolutely crush it, there’s more (and harder ones) where these came from! If you didn’t, Tom Wetzel from KOSMOS shared with us on episode 165 of The Family Gamers Podcast that there will be another EXIT release this year that will be rated between one and two on the five point difficulty rating. Check out an EXIT box today!

The Family Gamers received copies of EXIT: The House of Riddles and EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster from KOSMOS for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

Two EXIT boxes
  • 9/10
    Art - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Mechanics - 10/10
  • 8.5/10
    Family Fun - 8.5/10
9.2/10

Summary

Ages: 10+ (can skew a little younger)
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 1-2 hours

One comment

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  • Peter

    Definitely want to get House of Riddles to the table. Easier, more kid-friendly, and I seem to recall it was based loosely on the Three Investigators, so a fond memory from my past as well. I’m also pretty sure that was lost in the translation, but I still remember that series fondly.

    I’d love some of these to play with the 6 year old. This might be possible at least, even if she’s not able to contribute as much as everyone else.

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