Reading, Aug 2018
Prison Break was Knockout’s easiest game and their best-decorated. A prison setting often means cramped cells, usually with a split team start, but they’ve instead used a much larger space here, which combines prison bars with a more open layout. They’re again aiming for theming rather than realistic immersion, with plenty of bits and pieces that would have no business being in a genuine cell, but the decor makes it easy to suspend disbelief.
As with the other two Knockout games we played, Prison Break was a decent game that varied between stronger and less strong puzzles. I broadly enjoyed the more physical puzzles near the beginning, and was less keen on a puzzle magazine style puzzle and on the UV search.
One of the more dubious puzzles was the final step of the game. However, the amount of guessing required was reduced by Knockout’s unusual policy of telling players when they’ve reached the last step of the game. In this case they also announced that there was nothing relevant to the puzzle elsewhere in the room; that advice prevented us from haring off looking for additional information and thereby turned what could have been a very frustrating puzzle into one that was weak but acceptable enough.
For enthusiasts, the biggest drawback for this game is simply that it’s a bit short and easy: which is to say, it’s a good choice for first-time teams. Beginners should find it accessible and will have a great time; experienced players may be better off with one of their other games, though if you’re visiting the venue anyhow and feel like packing out your schedule, there’s no reason not to blast through this one too.