The Exit The Game series has so far been known for its escape room-type situational puzzles — but the brand’s latest releases, The Sacred Temple and The Lonely Lighthouse, are doing things a bit different. Rather than giving players clues in the form of booklets and strange items, these Exit The Game puzzles combine problem solving with very clever jigsaws.
Now, jigsaws are usually pretty chill, right? You sit down with your puzzle pieces and slowly put together the bigger picture.
But wait — what if it’s timed? And on top of that, what if the jigsaws form very complex brain-teasing puzzles you need to solve to advance to the next ‘room’.
If you’re having a heart attack at the thought of a timed jigsaw, you may find The Sacred Temple and The Lonely Lighthouse a tad too much for your liking.
Personally, I loved the challenge — but I did forgo the timer the minute I laid eyes on the first puzzle.
The Sacred Temple takes place in two alternating phases. First, you start by building out a jigsaw piece by piece. Then, in the second phase, you decipher each part of the puzzle to ‘unlock’ secret boxes to progress to the next phase of your adventure, and a new jigsaw puzzle.
I was pretty confident to begin with.
The jigsaw phase is fairly relaxing, even if it’s meant to be timed, and the puzzles themselves aren’t too hard. But once you have the ‘thinking’ part of the puzzle before you, you’d be forgiven if your brain went walking.
All you’re given for this first part of the game is a transparent sheet of paper with three symbols and a decoder disk. (Later, you gain several other scraps and booklets to help out.) Now, I’m going to briefly discuss the solution to this nifty puzzle to illustrate why it had me so stumped — so skip over the next paragraph if you’d like to remain spoiler-free for the entire experience.
To complete the very first puzzle of the game, you need to note the three symbols on the brown bag with the blue lock, and figure out how they relate to the three pencil drawings at the bottom of the jungle puzzle. You also need to make the leap and realise there are multiple swords, statues and bones lying around the jungle that you’ll need to trace, one-by-one, onto the transparent sheet (hence the pencil image) to form numbers that can be used by the decoder to form a number solution.
Each puzzle in the game proceeds similarly to the first. You get a very complex problem-solving challenge with very few clues about how to complete it, and you need to rely on lateral thinking to solve each challenge.
Of the 12 or so individual puzzles hiding in The Sacred Temple, around 70 per cent needed booklet clues to solve — and my personal hit rate was very, very low. I briefly considered that I might be a little bit too stupid to complete The Sacred Temple, but regardless of intelligence levels, the puzzles here can be very, very testing.
And that was without the added pressure of time.
I’d leave each puzzle for a bit, go for a bit of a walk and come back — and I’d still be stumped.
It wasn’t long before I gave up entirely and decided to look at the first part of each clue to keep my head above water. I did have some triumphs in later puzzles (the ‘lava stream’ and ‘box’ puzzles were fairly simple), but for the most part, I was floundering.
Still, there are some very clever ideas in The Sacred Temple, and when everything came together I was very impressed by how the puzzles actually worked out.
Sure, I wasn’t quick-thinking enough to tackle some of the more complex problems, but the balance between jigsaw-ing and puzzling meant it really didn’t matter. While the calm moments between putting together puzzles is the only real space you have to breath while trying to ‘exit’ this game, the moments of minor triumph you have while attempting to make your way out make the whole experience worth it.
If you like building jigsaws, Exit The Game: The Sacred Temple has something for you. If you enjoy practical challenges and head-scratching puzzles, you’ll also love working out everything on offer here. While the difficult of the game is particularly high, the entire Sacred Temple experience is still very fun, and well worth checking out whether you’re playing solo or with mates.