EXIT: The Cursed Labyrinth – A-Maze-ingly Difficult
We love the EXIT game series. Each one is a like an escape room in a box, challenging you to solve puzzles and make it “out” of a story.
Like many other EXIT boxes, you’ll need a few things to succeed. Grab some scissors, a ruler, and something to write with. Scrap paper is generally handy too.
The decoder disk is already assembled, but there are about a dozen “mysterious” cardboard pieces to punch out before you get started.
As you can tell from the title, you and your friends are stuck in a mysterious labyrinth. You must find your way out through a puzzling series of twists & turns.
Each puzzle resolves to a 3-digit code, showing how to arrange the decoder disk. Then the decoder disk gives an answer card to check and see if you got it right.
In The Cursed Labyrinth, you’ll solve puzzles to open doors, but you’ll also keep meeting monsters from Greek mythology.
Like other 2-difficulty EXIT games (see our reviews of The Enchanted Forest or other family-friendly EXIT boxes), this one is very linear. You’ll only work on one puzzle at a time and must solve each one to find the next puzzle in the series.
Solve the whole labyrinth in under an hour to prove yourselves the true puzzle masters. Of course, this review is light on specific gameplay details to leave the mystery finding to you.
On a whim, we played this box with adult friends rather than with our kids. I’m really glad we did, because the box difficulty did not line up with our expectations for a two-star box. More than one puzzle stumped us with vague answers or multiple steps that needed to be taken to figure out the next 3-digit code.
One puzzle in particular gave a very oblique clue, and almost felt as if it had been translated poorly into English. We found part of the answer but could not figure out the rest without using the hint cards.
Other puzzles had us looking at several similar shapes and trying to decide if any of them were actually the same or if some were different. This actually happened twice, during different puzzles!
Harder than Expected, but Interesting
That doesn’t mean this box was bad. Most of the puzzles were very clever, and had the different members of our groups showing their strengths.
Without giving anything away, there was more than one type of puzzle we had not seen before, and we’ve played nearly a dozen of Inka & Markus Brand’s other EXITs.
The description of the twists and turns through the labyrinth were detailed and felt to me like Zork or other early computer-era text-based games. It really helped me feel immersed in the larger puzzle of the labyrinth.
Based on our experience, I’d put EXIT: The Cursed Labyrinth firmly in the middle of all the EXITs we’ve played. It’s not the hardest, but it’s also not as easy as the box states. It sometimes made us feel dumb, but just as often we felt clever for figuring out an unusual puzzle and getting in the designers’ heads.
Would we recommend this particular EXIT? Only if you’ve played a few before, and probably not with kids under 10. There’s too much possibility for extreme frustration.
The Family Gamers received a copy of EXIT: The Cursed Labyrinth from KOSMOS Games for this review.
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EXIT: The Cursed Labyrinth
Age Range: 10+
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 65-120 minutes