The Haunted Roller Coaster is promoted by Kosmos as being the gateway to their EXIT: The Game series of escape room in a box board games.
While this wasn’t our first EXIT experience and we aren’t beginners, I do have to say that Kosmos nailed it with The Haunted Roller Coaster. This is a fantastic puzzle game and would indeed be an excellent entry point to the EXIT series.
Disclosure: Thames & KOSMOS provided me with a review copy of The Haunted Roller Coaster. Some links in this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Our previous EXIT The Game experiences:
The first exit game we played was The Secret Lab, which both my wife and I really enjoyed. It was quite difficult but in a fun challenging way. Check out our EXIT: The Game The Secret Lab Review for more information on our initial EXIT experience.
The second EXIT game we played was The House Of Riddles and it was a disappointing experience.
As you can read in our EXIT: The House of Riddles Review, House of Riddles is rated at a two difficulty which is actually the lowest on the difficulty scale (I don’t know why there are no level one games). We found that box of puzzles to be far too simple and not very rewarding. However, I did think it might be a solid gateway to EXIT Games, for people to see if they like the format of the series.
This brings me to The Haunted Roller Coaster. This game is also rated at a difficulty of two, which is something that gave us some trepidation going in. Was it warranted? Read on to find out.
What you get with EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster:
Exit: The Game – The Haunted Roller Coaster, like all of the Exit games, was designed by Inka Brand, and Markus Brand with this particular episode getting some help from Ralph Querfurth. The artwork was provided by Silvia Christoph, Martin Hoffmann, and Michaela Kienle. This escape room in a box was published by Thames & Kosmos in 2019.
The Haunted Roller Coaster is billed as a gateway EXIT game perfect for beginners, it plays one to four players and you are expected to complete it in under two hours.
The contents of The House of Riddles is very similar to the other EXIT games we’ve played. You get a short instruction booklet, another booklet that you are warned not to open, four different stacks of cards, a code wheel and some interesting “unusual items.”
In the Haunted Roller Coaster, these unusual items consisted of a punchboard with some monster parts on it and a folded sheet of mostly green paper with a grid on it.
The instructions in all of the EXIT games are written so that you read them as you sit down to play, there is no preparation required. Instead of using the instructions you also have the option of downloading the free Kosmos helper app and then grabbing the download for The House of Riddles. I personally recommend using this app as it walks you through how to play and presents all of the information in a cool thematic way. In addition, there is a timer in the app that plays appropriate music and sounds to add to the ambience.
The basic premise in this EXIT game is that you enter into a theme park haunted house, the door slams shut behind you and you have no way to get out except to progress through the house. To do so you will have to solve ten puzzles, in order. Due to the fact that this is a beginner level EXIT game, each of the ten puzzles is completely self-contained and the story is completely linear. You won’t need clues from one puzzle to solve a later one.
The actual gameplay in all of these EXIT games involves opening the included booklet and trying to find the first alphabetical riddle card you need. Once you have that you use the booklet and the cards to try to find a three-digit clue. You then enter that code into the code wheel and then look at the resulting Answer Card. If you are on the right track that will lead you to another Answer Card and if you’ve solved the riddle correctly that will have you draw one or more new Riddle Cards. These Riddle Cards will usually have you turn the page in the book and give you what you need to solve the next puzzle.
Play continues until you have solved all ten puzzles. You then stop the clock (or tell the app that you are done) calculate your final score and get your reward if any. Without giving away too much I will say this box has a cool reward that extends the gameplay past the initial puzzle experience.
If you get stuck on a puzzle the game comes with a number of Help Cards, three for each puzzle. The first card indicates what items you need to solve the puzzle. This is useful to make sure you didn’t miss something obvious. The second clue gives a subtle hint for solving the puzzle and the third card gives you the answer and explains how you should have been able to get there on your own.
Your final score is based on the total time you took and the number of clue cards you used. Note that clue cards that didn’t actually give you any new information do not count against your score.
Note: to play this game you will require scissors and a black felt tip marker. You may also want something to write with and a notepad or sheet of paper. During play, you will fold, cut, write on and otherwise destroy the components of the game. This means that this game can only be played once.
Does EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster make a good gateway to the EXIT Series?
It’s hard to talk about our experiences with EXIT: The Game – The Haunted Roller Coaster without spoiling anything, but I will make sure to keep this spoiler free while still getting across some things that stick out here compared to our past EXIT experiences.
Since this particular EXIT game was specifically designed for beginners and is noted to be a good introduction to the series we decided to include our oldest daughter who is 13 with us for this play. Together we managed to solve this escape room in a box in just under an hour.
As noted above, after playing House of Riddles I wasn’t expecting much from The Haunted Roller Coaster and I’m pleased to say that our expectations were exceeded in pretty much every way.
Both Deanna and I were surprised to see a number of very unique and interesting puzzles in The Haunted Roller Coaster. There was a coherent story here and the theme was present in every puzzle. There were all kinds of spooky twists and tricks. A number of very cool things were done with the components of the box this time around including some true surprises. There was something that even made us all jump.
Every EXIT game has impressed me in some way with the variety of puzzles, the out of the box thinking required and the unique use of the components, but this one just did it better than all of the others that we have played. This was by far the most interesting escape room game we’ve played yet with some of the coolest artifacts included. Even the reward was a cool surprise that lets the fun continue after you’ve solved the puzzle.
As for my daughter, she really enjoyed it. She was a great help when solving puzzles and managed to find the solution for a few of the puzzles, noting things that Deanna or I had missed. Out of the ten puzzles, only one was blatantly obvious to us on how to solve it.
I can’t help but strongly recommend EXIT The Haunted Roller Coaster. This was everything I want in an escape room in a box game. The puzzles here were very cool and the physicality was excellent. I really do think this is the best gateway to this series of games and I strongly recommend this as a starting point for anyone interested in checking out the EXIT games.
For fans of the series, if you don’t own this one yet, pick it up. Despite only being a two difficulty rating there’s a lot of fun to be had in this box, including some really unique puzzles that I think you will enjoy, even if they may not stump you for too long.
The only thing I think I may have changed is to wait to play this one on or around Halloween just to better fit in with the theme.
I couldn’t help but take some pictures while playing this excellent escape room game. Please be warned these do contain spoilers so click at your own risk.
Have you played any of these EXIT games or any other escape room in a box games? If you have I would love to know which is your favourite. Let us know in the comments below!