Tuesday 6 November 2018

Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room from Smyths Toys - Review #ad

Spy Code Operation Escape Room board game

Escape rooms seem to be all the rage at the moment, they are a fun group activity that challenge your minds and encourage you to work together with others. Most of the ones I've seen around tend to be for grown ups and my puzzle mad 11 year old has been quite disappointed that he's not been able to experience the concept for himself yet. He was absolutely thrilled to to find that Yulu games have created an escape room in a board game that you can play at home!

Ideal for kids who love puzzles and perfect to play together as a family, Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room is aimed at children aged 6 and above and can be played by between 2 and 6 players. Gameplay includes a test of skill, strategy and luck and offers different levels of difficulty so that it can be played over and over without getting repetitive!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room -  what's in the box?

Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room - What's in the box?

Ben was very eager to get started and couldn't wait to open the box! Inside the box he found an instruction leaflet with game rules, a Timer strap, a Key Cage, a Quiz Master with 45 coloured puzzle cards, a Lucky Spinner, 2 sticks and 3 keys. There is some assembly required but this was simple to do and just took a few minutes to set up. The timer does require 2 x AAA batteries which are not included with the game so it's worth making sure you have these ready before you want t play. (As with most battery operated toys and games these days  - a small phillips screwdriver is required to install the batteries in their compartment.)

We were soon ready to play!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room -  locked in

How do you play Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room?

The concept of the game is that one player is trapped and the other players have to work as a team to solve the three puzzles in order to release them! The game is played against the clock and it's all about - Search - Solve - Release!

Each puzzle should be hidden around the room you are playing in and the first task is to find each one, solve it and then use the key that you release to start the next puzzle once you have found that! You must play the puzzles in order and you can't move on to the next one until you have solved the one before and released the key!

The final key lets you stop the timer and release the trapped player!

Firstly, you need to choose which player will be 'trapped' and they wear the timer belt, I have to say that the belt isn't overly generous in sizing so we found that it was best for one of the children to do this. (Don't worry - if you need to release the belt for any reason there is an an emergency release button on the back!).

Once it's in place you set the timer, the instructions suggested that we set this for 180, so we did but you can set it for any time to suit those playing the game. Once it starts it has a rather loud ticking which does help to build up the pressure of the game!

using fine motor skill in the key cage challenge

Puzzle One: Key Cage

This one is all about perfecting fine motor skills! You spin the arrow on the top of the cage and that determines which wall (each has a varying level of difficulty) of the cage you need to use to try and get the key, using the special shaped sticks provided! It's a lot harder than it looks and it great practise for children perfecting their fine motor skills and pen control, especially those like my son who have hypermobile joints and find this a challenge. Despite this, he was determined to  beat the cage and was so pleased with himself when he did!

He did it! Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the key cage

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master cards red

Puzzle Two - The Quiz Master

Once you have release the first key from the cage, it's time to tackle puzzle two which is the Quiz master, this time my daughter took a turn, she often has her head in puzzle books so she was eager to give it a go but being only 7, we did allow her to choose a green card (which are the easiest - yellow are medium and red are the trickiest). These challenges need you to use maths or science skills and knowledge to solve them, so are great for using STEM skills in a fun way. You turn the dial to the card number and then select the corresponding letter to the answer on the large dial - if it's correct, the key is released a third of the way! Three correct answers for three different cards and you have released your second key! 

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master cards

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the quiz master key

Puzzle Three - The Lucky Spinner

Whereas the first two puzzles used skill and knowledge this one is all about luck! Insert your key into the top of the spinner and then spin. Choose up to three doors to open to see if you can locate that final key!, if you don't find the key first time, you may be lucky enough to to get a clue in the form of an arrow telling you in which direction the key lies! You have three goes to find it or you need to start all over again!

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - the lucky spinner

Did you Beat the Clock?

Once you have your final key you can release your trapped team mate and you have 'escaped the room!'.

Play again to try and beat your best time!

What we thought of Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room

We had great fun with this game, there was lots of laughter, a little frustration and a good deal of team work! The children worked together really well and supported each other in each puzzle and they happily used skills and STEM knowledge without realising. 

Each challenge completed gave the children a sense of accomplishment and was a great way to subtly build their confidence. Although each game only lasts about 10 - 15 minutes it's something that can be played over and over again without boredom as they are plenty of different aspects to it and the children loved the idea of trying to beat their previous time!

This would make an ideal gift for any puzzle loving child and would make a great game to play as a family after dinner over the festive season.

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room in box

Where Can you Buy Spy Code Operation: Escape Room?

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room is available exclusively from Smyths Toys and has an RRP of £19.99 but is currently on offer at just £14.99 and as always with Smyths Toys, you can check the stock in your local store and 'Click & Collect' for free! 

We were kindly sent Spy Code Operation: Escape Room and some toy vouchers from Smyths Toys in exchange for writing this review, all opinions and images are our own.

Spy Code Operation: Escape Room - Kid's board game toy review

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