A Hunt Across the Capital by Questventure

Following the fantastic time we had testing and reviewing Cocktails, Spies and Murder, we couldn’t wait to have a go at their longer game – A Hunt Across the Capital. With a mix of escape style problem solving, online detective work and real life location tracking, what’s not to love?

Tasked with investigating a mysterious Heist, your team need to follow a series of clues across London. Luckily, you are not alone – you have the support of your colleague Detective Huntley who is there should you need a helping hand.

With this, players do not interact with an online interface but instead work through a series of password protected pdf puzzles. Many of the clues require you to visit social media sites where you have to look closely at the content in order to pick out the information you need. Others need you to use the internet or online maps in order to track important locations. Once you think you have a solution for a puzzle, you are required to send a text message and will then receive the next password and challenge information.

Unfortunately, we did experience one or two technical hitches but this is likely to be due to the mobile network provider and not the fault of Questventure.

This game is the longest that Questventure currently have to offer with an approximate time of 2-3hours. With our team of 3, we managed to solve the clues in 1 hour 39 minutes but chose to work solidly with our game heads on instead of using it as leisurely evening entertainment.

Overall, we found this game much more challenging than their Cocktails, Spies and Murder game but loved the clever clues and use of social media and websites. Both games have been so much fun to have a go at and we would highly recommend them!

Price: £14.99

https://www.questventure.co.uk/huntacrossthecapital

Just a sneak peak – don’t want to give too much away!

Cocktails, Spies & Murder by Questventure

This online game is absolutely brilliant and makes excellent use of one of our favourite themes – cocktails!

Using a “cocktail menu” which you can download using a QR code, you tackle a series of puzzles. However, as you might imagine, it is no ordinary cocktail menu; observation, decoding and problem solving skills are needed to find the hidden information and then use it to help with the missions. The main mission is to find out which deadly mixture of ingredients was used to commit the ultimate crime. Once that has been completed, you need to find the culprit by solving a range of numerical clues.

The user interface is fantastic. It is easy to navigate and the graphics are amazing. If hints are required, there are also handy QR codes which can be scanned. Luckily, we only needed one clue but we were impressed with how seamless the system worked. We connected up our laptop to the television so that we could see the documents really clearly and involve the rest of the family.

In terms of difficulty, the main mission is rated at medium and the side mission as easy. We would agree with this and loved how logical and well thought out the puzzles were. Unlike some online escape games where you have to rely on guesswork or the processes seem a bit random, this one made total sense and everything could be worked out by the players.

The clock allows you to have 90 minutes to solve the challenges which is plenty of time. Our team (of 3) managed to move steadily from puzzle to puzzle and reached the end in 22 minutes. We were pleasantly surprised with our time and so chuffed that we managed to top the leaderboard (for now)!

We honestly cannot recommend this game enough and can’t wait to have a go at the other games that Questventure have on offer.

If you are looking for a fun way to spend an evening with family or friends, you really should give this a go. See if you can beat our time and top the leaderboard.

Price: £9.99 (a bargain for what you get in our opinion).

https://www.questventure.co.uk/

Endgame – virtual escape room by @russbuilds

What a fantastic game – and all for free!

This Cold War themed game, which involved using a range of puzzles provided on an encrypted pdf alongside a virtual avatar, was clever in its simplicity. Connected using Zoom, we were presented with a series of padlocks (including digit codes, letter codes and symbol locks) securing hidden objects as well as a mysterious chess board with missing pieces. We had the puzzle pdf ready on our tablets and devices and off we went.

The puzzles themselves required us to really think outside the box, use our decoding skills and really look closely at the detail in the documents given.

As a team, we found that the clues which required more logic we were ok at and it was actually the more simple or obvious clues that we totally missed. It certainly made us realise that we need to work on our powers of observation!

A scoring system is used, linked to the time taken to complete the challenge and the amount of hints that were needed. Overall, we managed to score 9.5 points, putting us in second place (at the time of this review). If you fancy a challenge, please do have a go at this game and see if you can beat our score.

The game was created by the very talented Russ who has put this out there for free for people to enjoy. His clear passion and skill for creating escape games was inspiring. We really can’t wait to try the next one in his series.

Houdini’s Secret Room – Printable Escape Room Kit

Another first for us in the ever-growing escape game market – a printable escape room kit.

This brilliantly designed escape game, which is aimed at children aged 10+, impressed us from the off. The easily downloadable pdf files showed incredible graphic design with vivid colours and mysterious-looking documents. Unsurprisingly, we couldn’t wait to print and get going.

Using the handy set up guide and game master’s how to play guide, one of us set to work on organising the resources and sorting them into the three challenges. The guides themselves are colourful, detailed and very easy to follow.

It is very simple and can be set up anywhere – all you need is a printer, scissors, glue and a stapler.

We did find that a lot of ink was required and used about 1 and a half ink cartridges to print it all. However, some of the pages we printed at A5 size. We also decided to laminate those which don’t need to be cut up during the game so that we can reuse them (it is worth checking the “How to Play” guide for which sheets need to be full size for the puzzles to work). Overall, spending on the ink is worth it to give justice to the high-quality graphic design.

The game itself involves working your way out of Houdini’s museum after being trapped inside. The mission is to find the hidden key by solving a series of clues. Along the way, there are characters to help you with specific clues or to give you hints and extra time should it be needed. With an hour on the clock, would we escape?

As escape room enthusiasts and primary school teachers, working with the target age group on a daily basis, we were interested to see how the game had been pitched. The whole challenge took us about 25 minutes but bearing in mind this is aimed at children, it provided a decent level of challenge. We can easily imagine our year 6 (UK – age 10-11) classes grouping together to come up with theories and ideas for how to solve each of the clues. We would love to try this out with them in the future.

Considering all of the components were printed, there was a large variety in the type of clues – some logic, some riddles, some physical and some skill.

Overall, we would recommend this printable escape room kit for older children and think many of the accompanying adults will love it too. It is a fun way to spend an hour and the quality of the artwork is outstanding.

Recommended teams: 2-6 players (additional copies can be printed for larger groups)

Age: 10+

Price: $29

Visit https://houdinisecretroom.com/ for more information and to purchase.

Sherlock Holmes Online Escape Room by The Panic Room

As well as the escape boxed games and escape books, another way we have been scratching our escape room itch during lockdown is with online escape games.

This one by The Panic Room was the first professional online one that we tried and we were very impressed.

First of all, the buying process was easy and it was straight forward to set up. Having been given a link and a password, we were ready to go. We did this one as a couple with one computer but you are able to play virtually with other people using the same code and a video calling app such as Zoom.

The puzzles and story are very well made and work seamlessly. They use a good mixture of videos and documents with a range of clue types. We did find that some clues were extremely easy whilst others were quite tricky but overall this made for an appropriate game length.

Overall, we would highly recommend this online game.

Rating 8/10

Price: £15

To access this game, as well as other games by The Panic Room, visit

https://www.thepanicroomonline.co.uk/