Friday, December 1, 2023

Exit: The Sacred Temple, Perfect Puzzle Adventure Game

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Here at The Fandomentals, we’re pretty big fans of the Exit game series from Thames and Kosmos. Having played The Enchanted Forest, I was super excited to see this year’s new set of games including two whose boards are actually four 88 piece puzzles! As an anthropologist in training, I had to try out The Sacred Temple from authors Inka and Marcus Brand, which follows a grad student trying to find their missing professor and get to treasure before some hunters do. What a time!

Rated as a 3 out of 5 difficulty and for 1-4 players, this entry into the world of Exit The Game is for anyone who likes puzzles, riddles, and/or escape rooms in a box!

What’s In The Box?
exit sacred temple contents

Like all Exit games, there are few game pieces but what there is all comes together as you progress past each riddle. 4 88 piece puzzles, 12 riddle documents, 3 strange items, 1 decoder disk, and 1 rulebook come with the game. You also provide scissors, a pen, and scratch paper.

I was actually surprised at the quality of the puzzles considering Exit games are one play only. (You could technically get away with playing this a second time with different people if you use all the hints for one riddle.)

The cardboard is hefty but not overly so and the finished images are the kind that let you keep the puzzles instead of immediately recycling them. As always, the strange items, riddle documents, and rulebook are printed on high quality cardstock and paper.

How’s It Play?

Each Exit game is themed around a story and this one is no different. As the missing professor’s grad student, you’ll need to find them and stop the treasure hunters from getting whatever the treasure is in the sacred temple. As you start the game, all you have are the puzzle bag containing pieces with a grayish-blue back and no pattern, and the decoder disk.

Once the puzzle is finished, you’ve got your first location with items to peruse in your goal to solve each riddle and move forward. In this case you’re working your way through locks on different items and must use the decoder disk to first find the correct combination and then find the associated riddle document.

If you’re struggling, there’s always the back of the rulebook to help you, which includes two hints per riddle, and a solution. However the hints section will not solve all your puzzles so if you’re not the kind of person who can figure out an image with just the pieces, this game is definitely not for you!

Additionally if you wish to play it timed (the rulebook recommendation), you can use the Kosmos Helper App which will provide a timer and atmospheric background music! I personally like to just play the game as I can and timing myself just stresses me out.

The Verdict?

No spoilers, but the story actually holds up and is definitely not Indiana Jones style shenanigans. Rather, as archaeologists it’s your and your professor’s goal to preserve whatever treasure and artifacts you find throughout the game.

Each puzzle had beautiful art and the various locks and items relevant to the story make sense in each location and could be found in a real archaeological site! The riddles are also really interesting and adequately difficult. I definitely had to use a few hints but for the most part was able to work through the riddles, and the full game (with breaks because I am easily distractible) took me around 3 hours.

One of my favorite riddles involved taking pieces out of a puzzle to make a new one and since they fit together, I might keep those pieces and recycle the rest when I get bored looking at the finished ones.

exit game pieces
A closer look at some of the pieces.

Of course the actual aim of the game is to get to the professor and exit the island as quickly as possible, so if you’re into games that ratchet up the tension due to speed and competitiveness, this game is also perfect for you. I like to play escape rooms in a box at their own pace because in real life the escape room concept is stressful enough! (Though very fun! One day I’ll feel alright doing it again.)

I absolutely recommend this entry to the Exit game universe. In fact, this might be my favorite board game series! You can also check out Exit: The Deserted Lighthouse which has the same puzzles format and requires you to get to the top of the lighthouse so you can turn on a beacon or a ship will smash into the cliff.

You can grab a copy of either game soon at Thames and Kosmos for $24.95 which is a great value in my opinion!

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Images and review copy courtesy of Thames and Kosmos

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  • Seher

    Seher is the Associate Editor-in-Chief at The Fandomentals focusing on the ins and outs of TV, media representation, games, and other topics as they pique her interest. Otherwise, she's reading away for graduate school. pc: @poika_

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