New series of escape games come onto the market regularly. However, there are very few things that are truly extraordinary and noteworthy innovations. Now there is the new “SideQuest” series from the Polish publisher Board&Dice, which is in cooperation with the makers of “Escape Tales” (LOCKME). was created, an interesting novelty. Escape games in the Nemesis universe or in the world of “7th Sea” promise to offer a special atmosphere. We have played through both “SideQuests” and report on our experiences.
Both titles in the new series take place in two popular game worlds, each of which is very detailed.
The slightly lighter “SideQuest” takes place in the world of semi-cooperative horror-survival games Nemesis. Many elements of the expert game can also be found in the escape game. Under the leadership of Captain Jessica Kowalski, players must explore a badly damaged ship, evade the aliens that have spread there and bring the valuable cargo safely to Earth.
In the other game, players are transported to the world of the pen & paper role-playing game “7th See”. In the role of the adventurer Tomas Lindenbart, the group sets off for Nüllrode. The Dragonsteel Shield was found there. Since the Vatican Inquisition is also on the way there, haste is essential.
Three-dimensional game environment
The structure and rules are almost identical in both games in the series. With the help of two foldable cardboard sides, the bottom of the game box becomes a three-dimensional object. This is cleverly integrated into both games and is part of the solution to different puzzles. In the adventure from the world of 7th Lake, I liked this integration a little better because it was simply used more and more diversely.
As we know from other representatives of the genre, solving a puzzle leads to new cards, which in turn contain new clues and puzzles as well as story elements. Each puzzle and all the associated cards are marked with a letter, so you don't run the risk of spending ages getting the wrong clues for a puzzle. This makes the game flow very pleasant and puts even more focus on solving the puzzles.
The puzzles are structured quite linearly. By solving one puzzle you get to the next one, which in turn opens the way to the next puzzle once solved. Here, too, the adventure for “7th Lake” is a little freer and sometimes there are several puzzles at the same time, which gradually complement each other. Since everything is well integrated into a story, the puzzles feel very rounded despite their linearity and are rarely in an abstract space “outside” the game world. Everything seems to be cast from a single source.
Four tiles for a solution
In addition to the three-dimensional game environment, the heart of the game is the answer matrix. It follows a similar principle to the decoding disk of the EXIT games. Each of the eight answer tiles shows a number, color and symbol.
If you want to solve a puzzle, you place the tiles corresponding to the solution found on the letter of the puzzle. The connecting pieces on the tiles are always placed adjacent to each other and thus form a connection from the puzzle letter to a number. If the same symbol is visible to the left of the tiles and an identical symbol is visible to the right of all the tiles, then the solution is correct and you can continue with the card shown.
Information about SideQuest
|Number of people: 1-4 people|
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 60-120 minutes
Difficulty: expert game
Long-term motivation: one-time game
Classification: escape game
Game idea: Jakub Caban, Bartosz Idzikowski
Publisher: Board&Dice, LOCKME; German edition: Grimspire (2024)
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2023
Cost: 16 Euro
The two titles in the new SideQuest series do not revolutionize the heavily saturated escape genre. Nevertheless, for me they stand out from the mass of comparable games. It seems a bit like they looked at the EXIT series and decided to implement the basic concept better.
What I have to particularly emphasize in this comparison is the fact that nothing is destroyed in the SideQuests. Everything can be reset so it can be played again. A feature that is unfortunately not found in EXIT games to this day.
SideQuest proves that great and varied puzzles can also be created non-destructively. Because the quality of the puzzles is very good, even if you already know most of these types of puzzles. The letters that clearly assign individual cards to specific puzzles are an element that particularly stood out to me. This prevents you from getting lost in a puzzle with wrong clues. No puzzle gave me the feeling that the solution was absurdly far-fetched.
Basically, the difficulty of the puzzles is not very high. The rating of 3 out of 4 possible difficulty points is not noticeable in “7th See”, even if it is clearly the more difficult of the two games. But the puzzles are never too easy. The balance fits very well here.
Overall, I like “7th Lake” a little better than the adventure from the world of Nemesis. This has various reasons. For one thing, the puzzles are more challenging. In addition, the 3D environment is integrated more strongly and creatively and I also like the relaxed, funny way in which the story is presented better than the Nemesis adventure, which seems a bit forcedly serious, especially at the end. There is also an element in the finale of “7te See” that really surprised and convinced me.
I can only judge the thematic implementation for Nemesis, but it's well done there. Because the puzzles rely heavily on logic, both games are of course somewhat limited, but an effort has been made to adopt many elements from the large board game in order to earn the name “Nemesis” in terms of content.
Overall, the SideQuest series offers very good escape entertainment. Even escape newbies will find their way around the world of Nemesis without any major problems, while “7th See” is more suitable for more experienced people. Even if the wheel is not being reinvented here, the sensibly used 3D environment, the good thematic implementation and one or two new elements (some of them thematically related) offer enough fresh ideas to make SideQuest a series that is suitable for I can easily play in the highest league of escape games.
|Modiphius The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – Adventure Board Game,... *||122,59 EUR||Buy|
* = affiliate link. If you purchase via one of the links, we receive a portion of the purchase price as a commission. There are no additional costs for you, but you can support our portal by doing so. Last updated on September 30.11.2023, XNUMX / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. Images from Amazon PA API.