Note: If you have any aversion, ethical or otherwise, to playing board game clones, then do not even bother reading further. Though themed differently, this is definitely a near-exact clone of Escape: Curse of the Temple.
Imagine for a moment that you’re trapped on a derelict space station that is dangerously low on oxygen and on the verge of violently exploding. You have no idea how you got there and no clue how to escape. Do you:
A. Look on a map to find the nearest escape pod.
B. Find a working computer console and launch an emergency distress call.
D. Run around mindlessly collecting alien relics.
If your answer is anything besides C, then congratulations, you are a sane human being. If not, then welcome to Trapped!
In Trapped, players have five dice that they are constantly chucking around, trying desperately to get the combinations required to do actions such as explore new rooms or move around in rooms that have already been revealed. Occasionally, a player will turn up a room that has one or more relics in it. When this happens, one or more players will need to work together to roll more symbols in order to obtain the alien treasure.
Every couple minutes, a warning will sound and the players will need to rush back to the starting room to refill on oxygen. After ten minutes, if the players have collected the required number of relics and uncovered the mysterious exit room, then they escape victoriously.
This game may sound very familiar to another board game called Escape: The Curse of the Temple. Though the developers have stated that they were merely “inspired” by this game and others like it, in reality, this is a straight-up clone of the game, albeit with less features (no curses, boo!).
I must give the developers credit in regards to the graphical presentation of Trapped — it’s pretty darn good. The menus are slick, the in-game interface is minimal and efficient, and the players and dice are well-animated. Players can even customize their little runner’s model and color. When the players need to go back for oxygen, the sides of the screen flash red indicating the urgency of the situation. Overall, it is a pleasure for the eyes compared to many board game adaptations.
The sounds are well-done, though a little bland. Sirens that go off when the player needs to return back for oxygen, the pitter-patter of spacemen feet, and the nice meaty (dicey?) dice sounds add to the experience but never really elevate it higher.
The biggest problem with the implementation lies in the dice themselves. Sure, it is fun to physically roll dice on a table, but rarely has that fun translated well over to the digital realm. Unlike playing the physical version of Escape where the players are frantically grabbing and throwing dice, in Trapped the players are just pushing the “roll” button over and over again. It is repetitive and can be quite boring at times.
Also, unlike the board game, there is little to no meaningful player interaction in this (your dice can never become fully “locked” like in Escape), which means it is a more solitaire experience in which the players only occasionally need to roll together. The AI has a couple set configurations (one which follows the players, one which explores more, etc.) , but these are not configurable and are random each game.
Trapped is a fun little game that will be amusing the first couple plays but will probably grow boring after a while. Though the space station is different every time, the visuals and gameplay feel the exact same each play. If there is an official Escape implementation in development, hopefully it will learn from the mistakes of this clone.