Online, Dec 2020
When you’re onto a good thing, do more of it – which seems to be the philosophy with this follow-up game from Esc The Game. Where their first had you escaping prison, in this one you’re on a submarine trying to stop a terrorist attack. And since it’s an unmanned sub, that involves a series of puzzles rather than anything more physical. There’s clear story progression tying everything together, though the narrative comes second to the puzzling.
Although the setting and goal may have changed, the game’s style and interface are much as in their first game. And that’s a good thing, since the interface is unusually good. It works well with multiple people playing from different locations, with the option to access the inventory items in a separate tab being a particularly neat innovation. Instead of any actual pictures or illustrations of your environment you get a blueprint-style map; which is perhaps less evocative but does a great job of letting you focus on the actual puzzles.
Those puzzles are a bit harder, and involve a bit more effortful, than the ones in their first game, with greater emphasis on logic. One particular step may be too far in that direction for some, depending how well you know and like that style of puzzle. But the game is a solid set of not-entirely-linear puzzles that should take most teams 30-90 mins to polish off, depending how much you’re aiming for speed.
There are a great many flavours of game even within the sub-genre of unhosted digital escape game: some are light puzzle hunts, others aim more for realism, immersion and story, others are essentially puzzle-driven computer games. The two from Esc The Game are in a middle ground where the game is self contained with no printing or external research needed, but which is also completely a puzzle solving experience not a computer game. Of the two, Cell 126 is easier and Sub TXI is trickier with more process work involved, but as examples of that style of game, both Sub TXI and its predecessor are easy to recommend.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.