Present (sort of), in April 2020, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant
Colloquially known as B.R.U.C.E. (presumably to avoid the header-busting that has just happened on my website), this was our second ‘lockdown’ play-at-home game. And it was, very usefully, a huge contrast to ‘The Insiders‘, giving us a good insight into the huge spread of games now being output by Escape Room companies.
B.R.U.C.E. shares much of it’s DNA with more traditional computer games and is in some ways a love letter to the world of retro-geek tech, coupled with essentially modern nifty communication innovation. It all ties in beautifully with the robo-science theme, a lovely case of the medium reflecting the storyline.
We thought, at the time, that the actual connection to Escape Rooms is a bit shaky. The player moves through ‘rooms’ with the aim to open the next door, but the puzzles are very scheduled, without much mystery as to what to do next. However, subsequent games we have played have been much further from the original Escape Room concept, so now I can definitely appreciate the framing device used here.
This is a multi-location, multi-player game. Each player logs in to the game using the same code, and you all play the game as one unit, everyone being able to click on the screen to complete tasks. This is clever, and is used a little bit for teamwork, again reflecting a real world room in a way that many games don’t. But, be warned, you do need good internet connections all round. We did suffer from lag, and found it easier in many cases to nominate a solo clicker, which does lose some of the concept.
There isn’t an in-game chat mechanism, so you will need a second device with Zoom/Facetime/WhatsApp if you are playing with a multi-household team. Sound is also an important aspect of this game, so be prepared to use your mute button on your team mates frequently!
Despite our little techy glitches (a common theme, sadly) we really enjoyed this game. The tongue-in-cheek humour and individual spirit of the game producers is very prominent, making for a very entertaining hour (or two, if you get as stuck as we did, at one point!). Recommended.
- Storyline: Great fun, followed through, and wittily narrated.
- Theming and Virtual Set: Two-dimensional, as in just existing in the world as a single computer screen. But charming to look at and smartly done.
- Googling: Nope, self-contained game.
- Puzzles: Pretty straightforward in the most part, in a pc game way. Apart from one puzzle that completely bewildered us for ages, leaving us flabbergasted at how stupid we’d been.
- Physicality: Only physical impact will be on your ears. Celebrate!
- Scare factor: Family friendly stuff.
- Age suitability: If you don’t have control of a mouse, it’s kind of difficult to join in. So, good for kids joining on their own laptop, not so much fun for younger ones.
- Timed?: Yes. But you can play for as long as you want.
- Requires: PC/laptops, plus additional comms. Printer not needed.