We have discussed many of the different cooperative Escape Room games here at Co-op Gestalt:
- Unlock! games (see my review of Unlock: Adventures here)
- Exit games (Dead Man on the Orient Express is one example from my Top 10 Cooperative Detective Games)
- The Deckscape series (Deckscape: Behind the Curtain from my Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2019 came very close to the number one spot)
- the Escape the Room series (see my review of The Cursed Dollhouse here)
The current trend seems to show people really like the Escape Room type games! One series we have missed so far is the Escape Tales series! So, to rectify this, we have been playing the Children of Wyrmwoods (see picture above) escape room game.
Why So Long?
Why have we taken so long to look at the Escape Tales games? The Children of Wyrmwood is the third in this line, the first two being The Awakening and Low Memory.
Why so long?
- They are all rather expensive. Each Escape Tales game is about $35, which is a little expensive given that the Unlock, Exit, and Deckscape are so cheap ($10-$15) (but see below for content).
- They are daunting. Each game says 450+ minutes! That’s quite an investment of time!
- They are creepy. Creepy is good (take a look at our Top 10 Creepy/Spooky Cooperative games), but sometimes that can be a bit of a turn off. The first Escape Tales was about a hospital (not a fun subject), the second one was about hacking (not real fun necessarily).
We finally got The Children of Wyrmwood to the table because we nominally liked the theme (explore a forest in a vaguely fantasy setting: see below).
What Is Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwood?
Children of Wyrmwoods is an escape room puzzle game meets a storybook game. It’s quite long, taking 450+ minutes to play. It unfolds the story of travelling and exploring the Wyrmwoods. The game’s components are:
- Normal cards: There are a lot of numbered cards that you reveal when you explore or solve a puzzle (see below)
- Location cards: You spent “effort” (the little green tokens) to explore Locations (the game give you a certain number of green tokens at certain poiints) where you can explore some things (see Location below right, and corresponding explore card to the left of it):
- Storybooks: When you explore a location, you read the correspond entry in one of three storybooks.
- A Website: For solving puzzles, you have to go to website and enter the proper code to unlock content in the game:
So, the game does require an internet connection to run: it’s not even a standalone application you can download. (See us entering a code on my phone above).
Putting all these pieces together, you get an immersive story with 3 storybooks, some Locations to visualize and explore, a bunch of puzzles on cards, and a website to enter puzzle answers.
Gameplay: Storybook meets Puzzles
The game feels like a storybook game (see Top 10 Cooperative Storybook/Storytelling Games here) meets an escape room game. There is definitely much more of a story here than most Escape Room games! It has to: the game takes 450+ minutes, so there has to be something to hold your attention! It took us 4 very long sessions to get through the game. The first session (the tutorial) was about 1.5 -2 hours, and the last three sessions were about 2.5 – 3 hours each. Overall, we probably spent 10+ hours in this world exploring the Wyrmwoods!
The storybook part was good: the story felt very unique and fairly unified. My only major complaint was that I hated the font and size of the font and had to use my glasses. I feel like a better font choice would have made this easier to read. It was fine. (See my glasses below?)
The puzzles were in general pretty good. There were a few we got stuck on, but the website has a nice interface for hints. We never got stuck for too long and in general the puzzles were fun and challenging.
Little Paper Pieces
To solve a lot of the puzzles in this game, we had to make our own representations of the puzzles on scraps of paper (see the scraps above). If this had been an EXIT style Escape Room game, we would have simply torn/cut the card up. But, this is an Escape Room you can play again and again: the cost of that is making that work is you have to do your own cutouts. For example: see the puzzle below? Obviously, you have to rotate the wheels, but how do you do that?
Answer: make you own wheel!
The little “arts and crafts” we had to do through out the game was a fun little surprise. We actually quite enjoyed it.
Overall, we enjoyed the heck out of this game. We spent 4 weeks, with 2.5-3 hours immersed in the game! We liked living in the world and had fun reading the storybook and solving the puzzles. But, we did not enjoy the ending! We apparently got one of the “bad” endings (we got torn to shreds by wolves) which was very frustrating after having spent 4 weeks of our life in this world!! “We did all that work just to die like that?” It felt a little random to be honest. We were trying to figure out what we could have done differently and maybe we think we should have explored a little bit more? But we’re still not sure that would have helped: the ending felt a little random. How could we have done better? The first 99% of the game was great. The ending was … not so great and a little random.
This game feels a lot like Unlock games (because you use the website to help you enter puzzles), the Exit games (because of the arts and crafts you have to do to solve some puzzles), and a Storybook game (because of the three storybooks that direct the game). We figured out that there are at least 3 major different endings, so we think it might be feasible to replay this game! Most escape room games don’t really have a lot of replayability so that’s a nice feature of this.
We liked the puzzles (and there were a lot of them). We liked the story that unfolded and the vaguely fantasy world we lived in. We liked exploring the world, reading the book, and solving the puzzles. We liked that it felt like a story unfolded, we liked how the puzzles challenged us so that when we made progress, we felt like we EARNED our progress in this storybook. The ending was a little disappointing just because we had spent so much time in this world: it almost felt like an ending to a Choose Your Own Adventure book: we simply made the wrong choice(s).
Overall, we’d give this a 7.5 or 8. It would probably be a solid 8 if the ending weren’t so disappointing because it felt more random than it should. We probably just should have explored a little more: and that’s our fault.
Children of Wyrmwood is a great blend of a Storytelling game and an Escape Room game. I would definitely recommend it! I would also recommend passing it on to your friends when you are done so they can play it …