Nottingham seems to be becoming the hub of excellent games. Several companies in the city are really pushing the envelope with the kind of games they are creating and one of those that are at the forefront to this is Cryptology. With venues in both Nottingham and Sheffield, the company seems to be going from strength to strength and now the Nottingham branch has a new game for players to savour, Daylight Robbery. We were lucky enough to be invited to play test the game in its latter stages.
The plan is simple: one hour, your elite team of criminals, and an impenetrable vault. Get in, steal what you can, and get out. Oh, and don’t forget the diamond else you’re dead, alright?
There will be lasers to dodge. There will be security systems to hack. And there will be vault doors to blow to itty pieces.
Almost everything you grab will be yours to keep and will help get you far away from the heat, but whatever you do, you must get the Daylight Diamond. Without the Diamond, the big boss won’t be happy and that means you won’t be living. There’s no point being dead millionaires.
This is the final score, a flawless heist, a curtain call. Are you ready to steal from right under their noses? This is unabashed Daylight Robbery.
So, where do we begin with this game. First off, it’s set in an actual vault! Cryptology’s building was a Barclay’s bank and they kindly left the vault behind. Lucky enough for Cryptology, they had a use for that. The game play is split into two uneven halves, the prologue and the unashamed thriller that is the second half. The best way to describe the game is a little like a film. The first part of a movie is always the bit that sets up the main act. It teases the audience, grabs them by the balls and throws them into the action head first. This is exactly what Daylight Robbery does. The first part of the game is a little slower paced. It sets up the action and has enough in the room to keep a group going for the first 15-20 minutes. Everything supports the main action that you are going to encounter once your group has worked out how on Earth you get into that vault. The gameplay throughout is pure joy. There is one moment early on (which I won’t spoil) where one member of your group will be split from the others. Although, as I discovered later on, you can see what they are doing, the laughter that ensues when you can hear the noises makes for an entertaining few minutes.
The game heavily relies on technology, more so than any other game we have played to this point. There are times that reminded us on VX 2.0 by Trapp’d but this goes way beyond that! As you enter the game, you are given your swag bag (more on that later) and a suitcase full of a series of useful gadget. Each come into their own on more than one occasion during the game and the level of sophistication for some of them is beyond anything we’ve seen in an escape room before. One even results in a mini computer game experience!
The game has a great mix of puzzles although it heavily relies on the physical. Much of the game will require you to rush about like a mad man but this is part of the thrill and excitement. Add in the time pressure you are constantly reminded off and it adds up to some serious excitement!
The game also has a slightly different twist on the escape room. If you were to play it for the main objective only, you can get into the room and escape in around 20-25 minutes. The fun comes with the bits you get to do in between. Your swap bag is to collect as much of the contents hidden in the vault. Each is hidden behind some kind of puzzle which requires some kind of logic, maths, word or physical problem. Once collected, each item can be exchanged as a numerical value. The sooner you enter the vault, the more you can begin to collect. Knowing the Daylight Diamond will take you about 10 minutes to collect and with a constant reminder of time, you know exactly what time you have to collect everything you can. The problem is, there is more to collect that you will ever have time for and this, for me, makes the room re-playable. As a two, there were parts of the game we didn’t even touch because of the games large footprint. I reckon we could go back to the game and complete a totally different middle section and with only the beginning and end the same. There is a reliance on maths for a number of the puzzles in the centre of the game but if that frustrates you there is a simpler way of collecting what you need but I’m not going to give away that trick!
If I have to be picky, and this is my being REALLY picky, there is probably an overuse of one of the gadgets. If you have a larger group then each person could take it in turn to use it but as a two it did feel slightly repetitive (I told you it was picky!)
Overall, the game play and flow are outstanding. The sheer number and variation of puzzles is mindblowing and the sense of adventure is unreal. You genuinely feel like you have stepped into Ocean’s 11!
IT’S A REAL VAULT! Although a huge amount of work and effort has had to go into the design and construction of the game there are so many elements that still exist from when it was a functioning vault. There is clearly some design genius behind this! No corner has been cut and no idea has been shoddily implemented. I cannot impress enough on just how good it looks and how everything fits perfectly within the game’s theme and story. The decor also ties in the clue system and visual guidance which fits in seamlessly with the game. The fact that I don’t have a huge amount to write about the decor should give you some sense of how flawless the design of this game is.
Cryptology should really be mentioned in the same breath as people such as Xtremescape, Escapologic and Lucardo due to the quality of what they’ve produced with Daylight Robbery yet, it’s a company that can often go below the radar of many people. They are at the top of their craft and the quality they are producing is superb. Out of the countless companies in Nottingham that offer games, they are easily in the top 2. You cannot make an escape getaway to Nottingham without at least on of their games making your list.
Escaped: 59:30 minutes with £802,607.42 worth of valuables