Exit: The Game – Shadows Over Middle-earth Review

17 July 2022
Finding your way out of a paper Baggins

The Exit series is a workhorse. Grab a little box and you’re guaranteed to have a good time, as long as you like getting stuck on puzzles. For those of us who quite like that feeling – they’re great. This time we’ve got something a little special though, which might expand that appeal – a Lord of the Rings flavoured outing, and it manages to put an interesting spin on the series, even if the basics are the same.

This time you’re not stuck in a temple, laboratory or jungle. Instead, you’re working from the wings, the silent partner in a story we all know quite well. You’ve been sent ahead of Frodo Baggins and the rest of the fellowship to, more or less, sort things out before they arrive. With that, the players are setting the scene before Frodo and co arrive and, possibly, allowing them to ‘Mr. Magoo’ their way towards Mordor. It’s your actions that will help throw the Ringwraiths of the scent of the hobbits having just left home, and it’s you that arranges the important meeting with Strider. It’s an amusing conceit – it lets you experience all the action with an interesting fly on the wall angle to it all. In this version of the Tolkien universe, it’s you that’s made sure that the adventure can happen at all – not the so called ‘heroes’ of the piece. There’s a lot of love for the story shown here.

With this also comes a few odd moments where you simply know part of the answer. We can’t spoil it for you, and it’s only a small part of the overall puzzle, but those who are familiar with the story will be amused by the fact that the thing they simply know is right. It’s a great way to pay homage to the various puzzles found within Lord of the Rings itself, but does seem a bit jarring. It’s not often in these games where you have external information that’s simply correct.

That shouldn’t put those who only have a passing knowledge of the films off –  the puzzles are the good lateral thinking ‘spin it in your head then on the table’ kind of puzzles, and there’s the expected cutting up of stuff in the box. On this point there’s even a part where you’re asked to take scissors to cards themselves – which seems like a big leap forward. This puzzle is very satisfying however, and there’s even back up cards if you get the original chopping wrong.

We’d wager this is slightly harder than the ‘novice’ that is printed on the box, but that can be set right with a rewatch of the films, or brushing up on your GCSE Elvish. With everything in this Exit entry full of theme and love, we’d suggest that this is a great place for potential adventurers to start their escape to Mordor.



Buy your own copy here

One of the best entries in the series from Inka and Markus. The theme helps bring life to a story beyond the generic that sometimes slips into these games. Well worth dodging the eye of Sauron for.

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Check out our Lord of the Rings themed Issue!


Read an Unlock review here - Unlock: Star Wars

Our other favourite escape room series. If you’re looking for a quick escape, but have been put off by the sometime dry appearance of the other titles in the Exit series, here’s a great place to jump in.

Buy your own Unlock game here!

What’s in the box?

  • Decoder disc
  • 90 Cards
  • 27 Strange items
  • Riddle booklet


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