Escape Nation: Incognito’s Secret Lair

By | May 10, 2024

Stafford, Mar 2024

Rated 4 out of 5
Toby says:

Incognito opened not long after my first visit to Escape Nation, and I’ve been meaning to play it ever since, on the strength of their first room, so was delighted to finally get a chance.
This is a light hearted secret agent game, decorated in bright comic book colours with a distinctive art style. Your mission is to correctly identify the titular bad guy from his host of near-duplicates, something you can hopefully accomplish over the course of the game while also escaping.
In visuals and play style Incognito is quite different to its sister game The Citadel, but it’s both distinctive and immediately appealing. The combination of painted wooden construction with slick electronics works exceedingly well, and it also struck me how well maintained the room was – very few signs of west and tear, no locks that were even slightly sticky.
It felt notably interactive, with hatches popping open and audio input from our unseen ally, who acted as the help system and also pro-actively confirmed codes as we found them – which was a small thing that just helped everything flow smoothly.
There are also mid-game challenges that the bad guy springs on you without warning, where you have limited time to complete the requirement. In keeping with the game style these are mostly light hearted (though not necessarily easy!), and added both tension and fun.
Such a consistently entertaining game deserved a more climactic ending. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, it just felt like there was an opportunity there to finish in a more dramatic or triumphant way than it did.
Nonetheless, Incognito was a relentlessly fun game. It has the same quality of puzzle design I remembered from The Citadel, with creative ideas and rigorous logic, and it layers on humour and a cheerful style of spy action drama. With this and their previous room, Escape Nation provide an excellent reason to make a trip to Stafford. 4 / 5