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Party Game Review: ‘MacGyver: The Escape Room Game’ from Pressman

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game from Pressman is the ultimate in home puzzle-solving. Macgyver is, of course, the greatest mind ever to quick-invent on television. The original series debuted in 1985 with seven seasons of busting bad guys with a deep knowledge of the chemistry and engineering in our everyday lives. The reboot in 2016 is bringing another spin on MacGyver, while the term itself has become a verb working its way into dictionaries for clever solutions. With the popularity of escape rooms, MacGyver is a clear patron, lending strong storytelling while players work out a string of problems.

Escape rooms offer a chance to live out adventure, but they can often be a hassle of scheduling. They also may make some players nervous by the idea of being locked inside, spurring a touch of claustrophobia. MacGyver: The Escape Room Game brings all the fun of the scenarios of escape rooms into one’s own home without the issue of actually facing a lock. Instead, players follow the story of a MacGyver adventure with all the thrilling danger and ingenious homemade answers of the show.

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game comes with five packets, each its own adventure. Play goes through stages of puzzles, many referring back to stunts in earlier parts just as one would expect from the show. In the first mission, MacGyver must journey into an underground lab where an explosion has released acidic chemicals. He must find his way across acid-covered floors then repair air filters so he can breathe, giving him time to patch the leak. And why not take a snack break for a bit of chocolate along the way? Players will see why later. The same excitement follows through an endangered plane threatening to crash, busting terrorists, and more.

In each adventure of MacGyver: The Escape Room Game, players must solve a series of puzzles to progress. The solutions are judged by going to a website that provides additional details and allows players to test their answers without spoiling the solution as looking in the back of a book may do. It also keeps a running timer to ensure players are on their toes. Players may set their own difficulty level, giving more or less time depending how dangerous they are feeling.

The puzzles in MacGyver: The Escape Room Game come in a wide range. Some are deciphering puzzles, sorting through a veritable haystack of lines for a password. Others are geometrical puzzles that require finding the right orientation for blocks to fit a shaped grid. Still others may be math problems or determining codes. After each solution, players triumphantly break the tape seal in the game portfolio to reveal the next stage.

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game is a puzzle-solving game for one to four players aged twelve and up. Each adventure lasts about an hour with savvy puzzle-masters looking to minimize that time as much as possible. It is ideal for small groups, especially as many of the pieces can be small and players will need to get close for a good look. As soon as the first seal breaks, players will leap into excited puzzle-solving until the last answer stops the clock.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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