Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Escape EVIL

Escape EVIL

Spring 2017 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Kitki
Price: $35.00

In the game of "Operation Escape E.V.I.L.," players are chemists imprisoned in the Earth Vision Industrial Lab for refusing to create a potion that will allow the owner to rule the world. Players have to navigate the board to purchase chemicals to create a "magic trick" (a chemical reaction) to allow them to confound the warden and escape the lab. Players collect cash for the chemicals by stealing from guards (squares on the board than can also send players back to jail) or by earning cash from other players. Players have to answer questions about chemical compounds and reactions and pay a fine if they land on another player's chemical square; to maximize the cash flow, players are free to buy any chemicals on the board, not just the ones they need to escape. The winner is the first one to exit via the fire escape behind the warden's office.

The game has something of a Monopoly feel, but with less emphasis on the cash and more on chemistry. Like Monopoly, this game is as fun as you make it—go round and round the board making minimal purchases and aiming only for the finish line, or play competitively, taking every opportunity both to earn and to spend cash, catching other players on your property at every turn. The board adds elements of unpredictability with Miss-a-turn spaces, and players can add strategy by purchasing and using "Action" cards which can allow extra movement around the board and penalties for other players. It is slow-starting; nobody has any cash until someone lands on a guard square, but it picks up quickly after that. The trivia questions are a bit limited; each square has its own question, and once it has been answered everyone knows the answer. However, the chemistry lessons are useful in showing how the science permeates everyday life.

We hope the game developers will consider making an expansion pack of questions to download, print, and play.

Emily Crawford   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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