Reading, Feb 2020
Many venues invest greater amounts of money and tech in each new game they create. I think that’s true of Escape Reading too, but they’ve also shown something rarer and more important: an ever-improving ability to make their games engaging, logical and high-energy.
My initial impression was that Ram Raid’s decor aims more for realism than for wow factor; but that first impression underestimated it. This is of course a heist game, named for the smash-and-grab style of robbery, with a background plot that excuses your criminality by reason of needing to pay off some dangerous creditors.
Ram Raid is absolutely an immersive game – some of its best moments are the ones that really make you feel like you’re striding through a bank grabbing wads of cash before the cops turn up. At the same time, I suspect that when Escape Reading build a game, their focus is first and foremost on the puzzles. There’s absolutely no hesitation about providing clues in non-thematic ways, such as a message that simply gives a letter a numeric value; and I didn’t particularly see that as a weakness.
They’ve also clearly built the game with the intention of getting all the team involved at once. That shows in both the broadly non-linear puzzle structure and also in the number of puzzles which require, or benefit from, multiple people tackling them at once.
Although it boasts several very cool moments, what really stuck with me was the giddy energy of the game. Everything, from the branching game structure to the way your progress is tracked, helps create a fast-paced game, and the puzzle quality means that’s not slowed down by unwanted ambiguities or dead ends. It starts off good and builds up to a frantic frenzy of puzzle solving. I had an absolute blast playing it and very much recommend you give it a go.