Escape from the Starline Express

Escape from the Starline Express box

Escape from the Starline Express by Alessandro Deriu, published by Professor Puzzle in 2019.

I bought a used copy myself, because this was a new escape room game series for me – I’ve never tried one of these before.

Elevator pitch: An escape room puzzle game where you hunt down diamond thiefs in a 1920s train from London to Paris.

What’s in the box? The box flips open to reveal an array of envelopes depicting train cars. Some are bulky, some are thinner, but you’re not allowed to open them for now.

Everything looks nice. Nothing spectacular, everything is very much in the standard style of escape room games. Escape the Room games seem like the closest comparison here.

What do you do in the game? The short sheet of instructions explains how to start the game and then your task is to figure out which envelope you should open next. Each envelope has a puzzle with a solution that points to the next envelope.

The puzzles offer a variety of fairly typical escape room puzzles. Escape from the Starline Express is strictly a linear game – you’re railroaded through the puzzles, one by one, until you reach the end. This makes it an easy game, on the level of the easiest Exit: The Game games, and at times makes solving the puzzles a bit too easy (when you have one numbered carriage left, it’s pretty obvious the solution will be the number of that one carriage).

Lucky or skillful? No luck involved, everything is up to your wits.

Abstract or thematic? The theme is just background narrative and decoration. The story makes no sense, so in that regard this is just like any other escape room game.

Solitaire or interactive? I prefer escape rooms with fewer players, but having more than one set of eyes looking at things is always good.

Players: 2–8. Most puzzles have duplicate sets of components, which is really good – it makes two-player games more fun and supports bigger player counts, too. Since this is a linear one-puzzle-at-a-time affair, there isn’t much to do for players, so I’d say 2–5 is more realistic player count range.

Who can play? The publisher age recommendation is 12+. You’re probably going to need adults in the game as well, but the game works as a family game.

What’s to like: This is a solid easy escape room game: nothing spectacular, nothing challenging enough for the pros, but a nice theme, nice components and some fun puzzles (I particularly liked the identification card puzzle).

What’s not to like: If you’re an experienced puzzle solver, this is going to be way too easy. I also prefer the non-linear games, as they give the added challenge of figuring out where to go.

My verdict: I paid 15 euros for my used copy of the game, and I think it’s fairly realistic to expect I can sell this for 10–15 euros. At that price point, sure, I’ll give a new escape room game a go. Now that I’ve played this, though, I’m not particularly interested in playing the Escape from the Grand Hotel, another game from the same company with a similar linear structure.

If you prefer the easier games with linear structures and fairly straightforward puzzles, Escape from the Starline Express is a fine choice. It reminds me of Escape the Room series of games, which I slightly prefer over this.

On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, Escape from the Starline Express gets Indifferent from me.

Escape from the Starline Express carriages.

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23 responses to “Escape from the Starline Express”

  1. Please help me on two of the puzzles!!!

    The clock ones and the fruit with the shillings

  2. The clock is pretty straightforward. Convert times to decimals (so five past ten is 10.05 and so on) and then just do the math. The tricky part is the arrows that shows the direction of the equations – one is done in reverse order.

    In the fruit puzzle, use the two fruit items on the menu to calculate the prices of the individual fruits, then use that to figure out the price from the three-fruit menu item.

  3. The clock puzzle is doing our heads in. There’s 6 of us and still can’t get the correct answer that’s in the game. We’ve converted to decimals and spotted the clock face rotations and the order of the arrows and still nowhere near the correct answer! HELP!

  4. If you can show me a picture of the puzzle, I can help. I don’t have the game anymore, so without a picture I can’t help.

  5. Not impressed! The clock face game has flawed maths and it is impossible. The clue was not particularly helpful – assuming you know how to tell the time and how to apply basic maths, it gave us nothing new. We got stuck, despite being rather intelligent as a group, and took a guess at the next room so we could move on. The solution in the final package actually shows that the maths does not work and the clue was actually very unhelpful as it steered you AWAY from using the only method that would get you to the correct answer. Frustrating.

  6. There’s no error in the maths. The clock puzzle is perfectly solvable as is. The clue is useless, I agree, but I was able to solve the clock puzzle after failed first attempt. It is the hardest puzzle in the game, sure.

    I found the notebook I used when playing, and here’s how it works:

    W: 1.10 * 5 + 11.45 = 16.95
    X: 1.15 * 3 – 3.45 = 0
    Y: 11.45 – 3 * 1.15 = 9.60
    Z: 1.15 * 4 – 3.45 = 1.15

    W + X – Y – Z = 16.95 + 0 – 9.60 – 1.15 = 6.20 and the answer is 620.

  7. Hi we have been struggling with the baggage car ID cards since last night!! Even with extra clue and the solution we cant figure out why ronnie sweet cakes is the odd one out or why or how the others are paired together.

  8. Jane, you need to take a really close look at the ID cards. They look the same, but they have very small differences and all other ID cards can be paired with an identical card.

  9. Thanks mikko – even after looking really closely we took a while but we finally got there! This was our first ever game so we are novices! Would happily take your recommendations for other games.

  10. Mikko, the answer to the clock puzzle in our game was 830, not 620. I don’t have it in front of me, either, unfortunately, as it stayed at our host’s house, but I have not been able to make the math work at all to equal 830. We simply figured it out by process of elimination, but several of us are perfectionists who would really like to understand it. Maybe someone else will be able to post a photo and we can all figure it out together.

  11. It may be my notebook doesn’t have the final solution. In any case I was able to make it match, so if someone has a photo, I can reproduce it.

  12. Yep it’s 1.10 not 1.15 on the clock puzzle so z=.95 not 1.15 that’s all :), should give 8.3/830 in the end

  13. Mikko thank you so much for you reviews. So interesting!

    This is how I solved the clock puzzle: You have to look at the numbers as times on a 24 hour clock, even when in the equation format.
    W = 1.10 x 5.00 + 11.45 = 5.50 + 11.45 = 16.95 or 17.35 on the 24 hour clock
    X = 1.15 (note this clock is anticlockwise) x 3.00 – 3.45 = 3.45 -3.45 = 0.00
    Y = 11.45 – 3.00 + 1.15 (note this clock is anticlockwise) = 8.45 + 1.15 = 10.00
    Z = 1.10 x 4.00 – 3.45 = 4.40 – 3.45 = 0.55 on a 24 hour clock
    W + X – Y + Z = 17.35 + 0.00 – 10.00 + 0.55 = 8.30 on a 24 hour clock
    Solution = 830

  14. Ok so on the ID cards Where are we looking for the difference any ideas on which area.

  15. I played this game twice. Firstly with three people who got so frustrated they packed it up early. Then I started it again on another day and sat quietly until I could join in at room three.

    The engine room was really difficult to do- it would have been better with a larger diagram. The clock clue was useless (agree with previous comments) and we were nearly there without the clue, just we weren’t putting decimals in e.g 110 for 1.10. The clue took us down a completely different route, think of an hour as 60 minutes, not 1 so we changed 110 to 70! Then we started all over again with decimal places once a trusted member stepped out and gave us a clue from the answers.

    Passports were the best part, even though again they were really small and faintly printed in part.

    What on Earth was that string and bead contraption?

    The key match up at end- pointless with one pack left over!

    Didn’t bother passing it on to anyone else, I wouldn’t put them through it when there are so many other good versions out there!

  16. Really stuck on the glow in the dark card clue and note. It says to use both cards together. I see some random letters that dont seem to spell out anything.

  17. Sorry Angie, can’t give detailed help without the game, but the letters do spell out a number, and no complicated tricks were required, the solution is fairly straightforward.

  18. Angie, I didn’t see that solution myself — it was solved in a different (dark) room by other members of my team — but I do remember them saying something about the cards not lining up exactly. Maybe try moving them to see if you get different letters that do spell the answer?