Murder Mystery Escape Game
The Panic Room have always been up there with escape rooms in the UK and with lockdown in place, we were so pleased to hear they had decided to bring one of their games to us. CSI: Grounded was the first in a series of games The Panic Room are turning from their mobile games into an online platform. We gathered ourselves and friends (via Whatsapp video call of course), to see if we can solve the murder!
A man has been mysteriously poisoned on a flight, it must have been someone on board but who? Solve the puzzles and work together to find the who, why and how of this brand new detective mystery.
Although the game describes itself as an escape room game I feel it underplays itself a little. Yes, it’s partially an escape room game but it’s also a full on murder mystery. This game is chock full of information and, unlike a physical escape room, also includes some nice red herrings in order to try and throw you off the scent. You need to be just as much a detective as you do an escapee. I don’t remember how many notes, numbers and motives we wrote down in the end, but one of our team definitely ended up with writer’s cramp!
The principle behind the game is simple. There are a series of locked cases, bags and envelopes that require a password to access. The game reveals the next password you need as you search the evidence. Its a very linear game but being online it would be difficult to create something that wasn’t. We found that the majority of the game play was pretty well signposted. If there were occasions where you might get a little stuck, the hints at the bottom of each page will certainly help. If you get really stuck, the last hint is the answer. We found the puzzles were fair but challenging and, at times, pretty inventive. We particularly enjoyed the interviews puzzle and thought is was a really ingenious way of creating something a little different. There was only one point in which we felt the signposting was a little off and this meant that when we looked at the clues we were still a little lost. When we finally reached the solution, we could see where it was coming from but felt it may have been a little lost in translation.
On the whole, gameplay was fair and flowed well. It shows the creativity of the industry and how they can overcome barriers when something so major is thrown at them.
The game is a web based adventure so over complicating the amount of data that needs to load can compromise design. The game has some really good use of technology as part of the game and these worked well. The overall look of the game’s interface was basic but the design elements that were integral to the game were well done. We did have a couple of issues with loading but refreshing the page solved these.
What has to be taken into consideration is that The Panic Room have put this together with limited resources and in a short space of time. To take something that exists in the physical world and translate it to the digital world and it still remain a great game is a remarkable feat and The Panic Rom should be applauded for their endeavour.
The game costs between £15-£20 depending on whether you manage to get the early bird rates or not. Bearing in mind you can have as many players as you want over different locations, the game offers real value for money.
We have a really enjoyable evening playing CSI: Grounded. Although not a overly taxing game mentally, it was tough enough to feel you had to work for your victory. We look forward to the other games The Panic Room are working on.