Dr. Cynthia Gnaw, a mad scientist werewolf, will arrive in 90 minutes. Like other situations involving mad scientist werewolves, this isn’t a friendly social call; she’s going to kill you! However, her former childhood friend Dr. Lisa David has left a box of puzzles that will produce a special anti-werewolf amulet you can use to turn her back to her human self.
Will you and your party be fast enough to put together the amulet? Or will Dr. Gnaw live up to her name and snack on all of you?
Ready, Set, Solve!
Escape Room in a Box: Flashback is a standalone sequel to Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment. This edition has a light ‘80s theme in some of its components, but it doesn’t affect or tie into game play.
Like the other tabletop versions of escape rooms (Unlock!, EXIT: The Game), Escape Room in a Box: Flashback offers several puzzles for about an hour’s worth of mental exercise. I won’t be giving away any spoilers here, but those who play these types of games will recognize at least some (or perhaps all) of the puzzle types in this Flashback edition.
Since I’m not talking about specific puzzles here I will say that my family and I had a good time playing this game. As the back of the box states, there are three paths to solve, each with several paper-and-pencil puzzles. Each path includes an envelope filled with puzzles that, when solved, will give you clues for opening the boxes. Do it within 90 minutes and you can put together the amulet and fend off the werewolf. And if you work on only one path you could re-do this escape room three separate times, which is a nice way to add some replayability.
If you get stuck during the game you’re allowed to consult the game’s hint book a total of three times. My wife and our daughter noticed that one of the hints contained a misprint that unfortunately could have helped us in our quest. We’re not escape room veterans so by the time we reached the final puzzle we were stumped and out of time.
Escape Room Experience on Your Tabletop
What I loved the most about Escape Room in a Box: Flashback were the actual boxes that you have to unlock. There’s something about the physical nature of the components that elevates this style of game: in app-based escape rooms you’re merely tapping and swiping on a screen, but here you’re actually handling a locked box.
Whether you win or lose, you can easily repack the game to its original state, thanks to the instructions on the official website. You’ll also find the puzzles here, so if you don’t use pencil for your answers you can reprint them. Again, if you’ve only worked on one path then it’s possible to play the game again using one of the other paths.
Overall, Flashback is a game geared to newer escape room players like my family. While this won’t replace your local escape room experience, Escape Room in a Box: Flashback does offer a solid 60-90 minute adventure in the comfort of your own home.
Thanks to Mattel for the review copy of Escape Room in a Box: Flashback.
Ruel Gaviola is a regular contributor to Geek & Sundry, The Five By, iSlaytheDragon, and other sites. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can find him talking about board games on Twitter or Instagram.