Full disclosure: A review copy of EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin was provided by KOSMOS.
Alright, the penultimate EXIT game! Last one is The Polar Station, which has its own fun story associated with it; seems like a fitting one to end on. In the meantime, let’s talk about The Abandoned Cabin.
In The Abandoned Cabin, your car breaks down in a place with no cell service (as they are wont to do), and so you go to sleep in someone’s cabin that you just … find. Surprisingly, you don’t wake up dead, but you are instead locked inside the cabin by a mysterious person who pretty solidly threatens to murder you once he gets back, unless you can escape. Naturally, you would prefer to not get murdered, so, time for some puzzles. Will you be able to get out of this apparently-not-abandoned-after-all cabin in time?
Alright, let’s do one more of these. Grab the cards out, take the starting booklet (but don’t read it yet!) and also take the disc:
You’ll also probably need to provide your own scissors, stopwatch, and notetaking device(s). Do that, and you should be ready to roll.
Like the other EXIT games, this game is primarily made up of three types of cards and a booklet. The booklet has information about rooms in the cabin and the cards are split into three types:
- Riddle Cards have puzzles on them or help with puzzles in the booklet. Solving these will give you answer codes that you can enter into the disc to indicate an Answer Card.
- Answer Cards verify your solutions and whether or not they’re correct. If they’re correct, you’ll generally get further instructions (and more Riddle Cards!) as a reward. Solving the final Riddle Card will grant you escape from this scary cabin and the murderous host.
- Hint Cards are mostly to help you get unstuck. Using one will potentially negatively impact your final score, but only if it provides material new information. Otherwise, well, it’s not like it helped you, so does it really count? We say no. (And so does the game.)
Solve the Riddles and you’ll be able to get out of the cabin!
Player Count Differences
None that I noticed, really, but we played it at two. I think it’s probably fine not at two, though; we always had stuff to do, but an extra set of hands on both sides might have sped us up a bit. I still generally lean towards preferring two with these games, but I’m sure 4 is fine.
- Again, don’t wait too long to use a Hint Card. This is what always trips us up, and ever since we just kind of shrugged and decided to go for it we’ve been having a lot more fun with these. The game flows a lot better when you don’t care as much about scoring and you’re just kind of enjoying the puzzle experience. Take some time, of course (you don’t want to just read all the answers), but I personally think we’ve overall liked the games more once we started being more forgiving of ourselves.
- Your solutions may be color codes or number codes! Remember, all the numbers on the disc are double-coded with colors. So 1-4-9 might be a code AND red-green-blue might be a code. That can trip you up from time to time, so just keep that in mind.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Solid theme. Spooky cabins are a lot of fun!
- Very inventive puzzles. I mean, they’re all pretty different from game to game, but this has a specific style of puzzle that I like much much more than the other standard EXIT puzzle fare; I’m always really happen when they insert these ones into the games. On second check, it actually had two puzzles I really like a lot, and two more that I thought were super fun, so, the quality puzzle ratio on this one is super good.
- Good starting point. This is another good one to start the EXIT series with. I think any of this, Pharaoh’s Tomb, and Forgotten Island are probably the ones I’d give to interested parties. I actually already did this for a white elephant gift! It makes a very good one.
- Had your standard amount of “hmph” puzzles. A hmph puzzle, for us, is any puzzle where we’re pretty sure we have the right solution but we’re blocked because of something dumb about the puzzle or something dumb about us. In this case, it was definitely a bit of both. That’s okay; this is just why we usually go through a few Hint Cards.
- Be careful with color puzzles. The disc has some issues with (at least via my checks) deuteranopes, at least, which might make this more challenging. Double-coding the colors might not be a bad idea (but this was also decently early in the series, and I haven’t seen these kinds of issues pop up in subsequent games, so I think it’s mostly been addressed).
Overall: 8.75 / 10
Overall, EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin is a lot of fun! I think it’s a solid example of “here is how the EXIT games work, if you’re interested”, which makes it an ideal gift or game experience to get for someone else. I’m planning to show a coworker The Polar Station (which is part of why it’s the last one I’m reviewing) and if he likes it, I’ll probably get The Abandoned Cabin for him to try out (or The Pharaoh’s Tomb, another favorite of mine). Personally, I’m a big fan of the series, so, I feel like most of them are going to be solid entries, anyways, but this one is pretty standalone (and has two puzzles I like a lot), so I feel like it’s also a good potential series representative. Either way, I like the theme, I like the puzzles, and while I don’t love the color requirement for some puzzles, I do think they’ve taken steps to make it more clear in subsequent games, so that’s also good. I’d say if you’re looking for a place to get started with the EXIT games, The Abandoned Cabin is likely a great choice!