*Underground Murder – Virtual Escaping – Home Play Game*

Present-ish, March 2021, were: The Ant, Aunty Ant, Lioness

I love a good set. And a game based in a whole underground metro station, complete with train, sounds utterly fab. Sadly, although this is the set for Underground Murder, this offering from Virtual Escaping is digital-only rather than a real-life physical room (clue’s in the name!). So we can’t really chalk this one up as another to add to our occasional series of “Escapes on a Train” but we had fun anyway.

This is very much a “does what it says on the tin” game. There’s been a murder on the Underground (although appears to be a New York subway) and you’re there with the Cluedo police to identify culprit, weapon and motive from your list of suspects. There’s stuff to find and space to explore and, of course, puzzles to solve. A classic mix of codes and padlocks, plus piecing together the evidence into a coherent narrative, which keeps it fresh.

For me, the game suffered a bit for using “Escape Room Logic” to fit solutions into the game. Either that, or it’s the world’s worst metro station which needs to take a long look at its approach to security… Frustrating, because it wouldn’t have been much effort to use clues that were more grounded in real world logic. However, some nice subtle but sensible signposting did help to match up what would have been otherwise incompatible clue/puzzle combinations.

Two of us found the scenery to be unhelpfully dark – of course we didn’t think of the obvious altering screen brightness until far too late in the game! Definitely our settings, not theirs. From a technical point of view, some doors were a little sticky to open, you had to catch them in exactly the right place. And I’d advise anyone playing on a tablet to use landscape rather than portrait. I was maybe 10 minutes into the game before realising that was why I couldn’t see what my team-mates were describing!

But overall, this was one of the more straightforward games we’ve played. The puzzles themselves were mostly satisfying and the flow was good. We played “normal” mode – I think the “easy” option offered at the beginning is more about a point-and-click tutorial than actually altering the fabric of the game. Those new to the format of online games may well find it helpful. We didn’t find the game itself particularly difficult, although we did end up asking for one hint. We also found we could solve the overall mystery without actually completing all the tasks, although we did make sure to tidy up the loose ends, just in case there was a sting in the tail.

A pleasant, well-produced police procedural that will provide a nicely judged hour of entertainment for anyone who enjoys playing detective.

  • Storyline: Neat little murder mystery.
  • Theming and Virtual Set: Atmospheric, believable looking set, appropriately employed although not always in the most logical way.
  • Googling: Not needed.
  • Puzzles: Main meta mystery a good addition to some classic-style conundrums.
  • Physicality: None.  
  • Scare factor: Mildly adult theme of murder. No visible gore.
  • Age suitability: Company says “you should be able to get through it by yourself from the age of 14. It is also suitable for younger ages, but if you decide to play under the age of 16 we always recommend playing with someone older”. Slightly contradictory advice, but I think the second half of that is right.
  • Timed?: You can choose a restricted time version (75 minutes) or unlimited time. We took 45 minutes using unlimited, and it gives you your final time at the end.
  • Requires: PC/laptops recommended. Decent-sized tablet was ok. Includes in-game video comms, but we didn’t use it as this isn’t compatible with tablets, so needed additional comms. Pen and paper useful, printer not needed.

Virtual Escaping website

Also from this company: Artifact Isle