Posted in The Panic Rooms

Mansion: Impossible – Panic Rooms

Online Escape Game

Mansion Impossible is the first family orientated online game from The Panic Rooms. Solely played online, your job is to investigate the goings on inside the mansion.

STORY

Hello there spooky explorers! You heard of an abandoned mansion somewhere out in the woods and finally, you found it, mist rolls in across the grounds and the front gate slams shut behind you.

You are greeted by a strange but friendly ghost…Go say hi and start your adventure!

THE GAMEPLAY

Mansion: Impossible is a fun ghost story without the scares. Designed to be suitable for the whole family, it does a great job of mixing easier and harder puzzles so that there was something for everyone. We found that their elements of the game we breezed through but others we did have to use some of our brain matter. The game play wasn’t too easy and gave us a fun experience. Sometimes we like a game that doesn’t overly tax us as long as the gameplay is enjoyable. This is what we found here. There is a nice mix of puzzles and these are a all in keeping with the overall theme.

DESIGN

A really well designed game and the graphics and puzzles give you the feeling that you are inside the mansion. There are some clever hidden illustrations that support gameplay and the visuals really add to the overall feel of the game. A really good fun hour for the family

OVERALL

Outside of the CSI range of games, this is probably our favourite Panic Rooms online game. Very much aimed at the whole family, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves inside the mansion.

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Posted in The Panic Rooms

My Dearest Emily – Panic Rooms

Online Escape Game

The Panic Rooms have been working hard to provide people with a range of games during lock down. We took on a very different type of game.

STORY

My Dearest Emily is the puzzle-filled tale of a young couple John and Emily who were separated during the Oklahoma land rush in the USA in 1889. Months go by and John sends his letters back home to his dearest Emily.

THE GAMEPLAY

The game, as you’d probably guessed, is based around a series of letters that take you through a whole year. I guess, the idea of basing a game around a particular concept can have limitations to what you can do with it. Puzzles can only be created that you might find within the containment of a letter. Although the game does it’s best to vary the puzzles as much as they can, we found that many of them followed a similar theme. We also found that they were often labour intensive which slowed the pace of the game.

The story of this game is very different to any we’ve played before. It’s less of an escape theme and more of a love story which play out across the backdrop of American History. The Oklahoma land rush is probably something you know little about, so it gives you a bit of a history lesson in the process. The down side to this is there is a lot of writing. The game does a good job of offering an audio of each letter being read aloud by Emily but, as I’ve previously stated, it slows the flow of the game considerably.

DESIGN

The game is web based and uses the template of an old letter for each puzzle. There are some really lovely illustrations that make up some of the puzzles and the aesthetic of the game fits with the era. Our only gripe is that, at times, the font is tricky to read and the letter template is rather pixelated which lets it down at times. It doesn’t effect the overall gameplay though.

OVERALL

Although we applaud Panic Rooms for trying something a little different it didn’t quite hit the spot for us. We prefer a game with a little more variety and a little more pace

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Posted in The Panic Rooms

CSI: Grounded – The Panic Room

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!

THE STORY

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.

THE GAMEPLAY

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.

DESIGN

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.

OVERALL

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.

Escaped: 48:37

Theme *****

Design *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Posted in The Panic Rooms

Old Father Time – The Panic Rooms

Game 17

I love impromptu escape games and this was one of them. Being half an hour from The Panic Rooms and suddenly having a free evening it was time to play our first room at one of their venues.

THE STORY

It’s New Year’s Eve and Old Father Time – The master of the most powerful force of nature – has gone missing! Without him, the clocks won’t reset at midnight and the sands of time will run out – permanently!

The effects have already started – the forest creatures have started turning to stone, and in 60 minutes, the waves of time will cease to ripple and the rest of the world will follow suit! Start a new chapter and work together to explore a beautiful tree cabin straight from the pages of a fantasy novel to discover the secrets inside. A mystical fairy tale escape room awaits where time is more important than ever!

THE GAMEPLAY

The Game Center’s around a storybook, one that cleverly helps to tell the story you are playing out. Not only does it do a great job at immersing you in the story, it also helps to show the amount of progress you are making through the game. The game is a mix tide of linear and non linear and flows beautifully. There are several aha moments and nothing within the gameplay feels forced or out of place. The puzzles are wide ranging and, as the website states, fairly accessible for children aged 8 and up. There is a frustrating sound puzzle but once you take a step back and take it in it becomes less complicated than you first think. The room provides a countdown clock and both audio and visual clues. If I was to give one piece of advice, don’t overthink things. Often the answer can be as simple as it first seems.

DECOR

The room real feels like you have entered a fairytale. The decor is perfectly themed and really well done. The nice thing about the room is that, although the theme is thorough, there are distinct areas that work beautifully together. The decor does a superb job of immersing you in the world your are playing in. We really struggle to fault it. If we were nitpicking, there is one prop that can move (although it shouldn’t) and reveals a large selection of wires and extension plugs. It didn’t ruin the game in the slightest, we were worried we might have pulled out something important in the game. Thankfully we didn’t! A beautiful room and one that it perfectly tailored for families.

OVERALL

If you are looking for a game for the whole family this is a perfect one to play. There are puzzles for all ages and the family can really enjoy this together. Puzzles are not overly difficult and it’s a very fun and entertaining hour.

Escaped: 30:42

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****