How to keep two teenage boys entertained during the extended summer school holidays? A sophisticated, intellectual masterpiece of puzzlecraft – part artwork, part profound philosophical experience? Or a hilariously hammed-up concoction of ghost-hunting, puzzles and willy jokes? Hmmm… Find out which one we chose…here.
We’re venturing out into the real world after lockdown. But then we discovered the real world is still nasty and scary, so we decided to go Back To The F… oh no, wrong movie… back to 1988 and play with all our old toys. To see how we got on being Big kids click here
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.
Remarkably prescient game name, really. I don’t know if, when they began work on their new ‘virtual’ Escape Room, Deadlocked had foreseen a fairly captive audience. But, with the release rushed forward to keep their business afloat during the current difficult times, they have found read more here
Escape Rooms throw up many questions. Is it difficult to build a convincing shipwreck in the middle of Watford? Did Aunty Ant and her GATAPAE team enjoy Blackbeard’s Quest? How much guidance are you looking for in a room? Why did the pirate walk the plank? For these answers and more read on here…
A lure of Escape Rooms is being the star of your own film. Some rooms are a bit B-movie, some are distinctly am-dram. I’d never before played a game quite as Hollywood blockbuster as The Lost Treasure of Alexander von Humboldt. Read on here..
Harry Houdini. The Great Houdini, “world famous jailbreaker and Handcuff King”, master of mystery, icon of escapology. Basically, this guy should be the patron saint of Escape Rooms. Enough about him. Want to read about how we got on with being handcuffed, shackled and thrown in a box? Read more here…
I’ve always liked the idea of playing detective. Too much 80s pop American crime drama and reading Harriet The Spy, I suppose. To see how we got on in Clue HQ Harrogate’s police investigation room, read on. Bring your best magnifying glass/bloodhound/pathologist/alcohol dependency issues with you.
A rare child-free review from a child-friendly venue… Aunty Ant visited LockHouse/Lockhouse in Cambridge.
We picked Egyptian Tomb as there was just the two of us, Armageddon is a good room for large groups and Secret Agent is the hardest room, so it seemed our best option…read on here…
It is tricky trying to find an Escape Room that will take a team of seven plus a non-playing (non-paying) six year old. Puzzlescape at Dereham has accommodated us before (despite not having the most spacious of rooms) so…read more here