I’ve been struggling to write full articles for both of these 2019 installments but if I stick them together in a double feature, it’s just right! So, welcome to my very first Head-to-Head Review. Both are ranked as Level 2 difficulty on the box so which one is better? Read on and find out!
The Stormy Flight
Premise: Repair the aircraft and land safely through the storm.
This is the first installment since Dead Man on the Orient Express that I genuinely liked. My main struggle with writing up Exit games these days is just the lack of imagination in the puzzles and the repeated constructs. They do indicate difficulty level and some information on the back of the box but I do not find that it’s ever helpful.
Mostly notably upon opening the box I noticed the clipboard style on the booklet. While I hardly see any of the flight attendants on planes actually holding clipboards anymore, certainly the captain does? I haven’t had the pleasure of checking out what the front of the plane is really like and what all those gadgets do but at least this game gave me a fictional taste. Not gonna lie, this installment gave me a little nostalgia to see a seating map back when I was jet-setting in the Before Times.
In The Stormy Flight I encountered lots of order of operations puzzles. There were also some leaps of faith and mind’s eyeing of things but the game is reasonable about it. If you’re okay with just saying to yourself “I think this is what I’m supposed to do but I’m just not physically seeing it”, then don’t be shy about looking at the solutions to validate your thinking. Despite all this positivity, there was yet again a spot the difference task I did not like. Publishers: if you’re going to allow this in print make sure it is absolutely precise. Don’t make people like me try and work through printing imperfections!
The Haunted Rollercoaster
Premise: This horror ride has suddenly stopped, so you need to escape.
Now a broken roller coaster is a great way to have a stalled set of linear puzzles! I can’t believe an escape room hasn’t tried this theme before — well, short of designing an entire theme park ride I at least think it’s a viable theme. Solving puzzles and problems seems to push the horror ride along the tracks so it builds in the urgency of “when and where will this end” even more. As is with most theme park rides, it does have an interesting but brief story and this installment has my favorite character in recent boxes.
I will warn you though, if you have arachnophobia DO NOT PLAY THIS. I cannot reveal more than that but there is no warning for it on the box that I could find.
There is quite a bit of focus on crafting in this one, which I have mixed feelings about. They try to keep the box a standard size and if you have ever opened up an Exit box you’ll know that the insert is really only optimized for two small decks of cards. Consequently, crafting with things that end up a fourth of a standard card since they’re in pieces can get frustrating.
The Haunted Rollercoaster also has more logic puzzles (e.g. if this, then that) which I appreciate; it historically seems to not be as favored a construct in this series so it’s a treat whenever it shows up.
Winner: The Stormy Flight!
This was a difficult choice because I am a fan of logic puzzles (The Haunted Rollercoaster) but I am just not cool with the arachnid trigger. Both installments had stop signs galore but The Stormy Flight had the better theme and therefore had better options for puzzle constructs. Some of the best ways to build in deduction is through trying to repair something, and for those of you who are the handy or crafty person at home used to fixing stuff you’ll definitely get your fix in this one.