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Escape Quest Queenstown - "Empire Escape"

Updated: Apr 25

Photo above is property of Escape Quest Queenstown

Company: Escape Quest Queenstown

Game: Empire Escape

Country: New Zealand 🇳🇿

Language: English

Type of Game: DIY Escape Kits 🖨️✂

Genre: Adventure

Date Played: October 23, 2021

Difficulty (based on 6 players): 5/10

Size of Team: Unlimited

Time: Unlimited (Suggested 1.5-2 hours)

Price: $35 NZD/ Team (Approx. $24)


Inspired by a true story, "Empire Escape" follows the 1855 robbery of a gold bank in Victoria Australia where fugitive Henry Garrett has been unidentified as the ringleader of the operation. Garrett is well known for his intelligence and charm, so you have brought together your team of detectives to catch this fugitive who has disappeared with the plunder. Can you find him before the trail runes cold or will Garrett once again outwit the authorities?

Video above is property of Escape Quest Queenstown


"Empire Escape" is a Print-n-Play game, with an AR app companion designed by Escape Quest. As such you will need a printer (black and white is fine), a pair of scissors, tape, a pen/pencil, mobile device that can download apps (IOS 10+ / Android 27+ required) and a device with internet access. The tape can be optional and, while not all pages need to be printed for cutting, printing out the pages does make using the AR easier. After purchase you will be provided with a website that will introduce the game in more detail as well as be your guide throughout the experience. It will provide an anecdote of the story along with details about which paper clues are relevant, hints, and solutions. I particularly liked how they had a section that would tell you the number of characters in the puzzle solution in order to have a better idea of what you were looking for. The AR app provides a 360-degree view of various important objects and works in conjunction with the puzzle pages it is associated with so make sure to look at both the original page and the view through the AR. Volume does play a part in the game so make sure to have the volume on.

Not all puzzles require AR and I recommend looking at each page with the AR before you start the puzzle to ensure you have all you need. The AR does need to be moved around and zoomed in at times to ensure you have viewed all clues. This experience is a linear experience as the website keeps you in line. No outside research is necessary to play.

Photos above are property of Escape Quest Queenstown


The puzzles for "Empire Escape" is more focused on searching for clues than traditional puzzles. The AR app provides a refreshing avenue to explore the searching mechanic and it was a blast turn looking around the page for clues. The solutions themselves were a mix of related words to the game but there were quite a few number solutions that didn’t feel very connected to the story. This wasn’t very hard a game but make sure you are looking around carefully as you search for clues as some things are quite easy to miss.

One thing of note was the disconnect between the goal of the game and the puzzle solutions. There were a few times where I questioned how this puzzle solution actually achieved finding Garrett or what did it reveal. In this frame of mind, the puzzles take the forefront over the story. The history acts more for creating a theme for the game.


"Empire Escape" was a wonderful experience with its AR application and sense of historical intrigue. I would have liked a bit more connection to the true story it highlighted but the smoothness of the puzzles and the AR app make this an excellent game for puzzling. The searching element makes it perfect for kids to explore while parents keep track of information using the website. If you want a game that can easily be played in an evening and want something a little lighter to play but with a fun twist, check this out!


** We regret to inform you that this game is no longer available for booking. Check out the other games on their website.

(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)

Disclosure: We thank Escape Quest Queenstown for providing us with a sample of the game. Although complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.


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