Note: A fellow enthusiast made a visit in January 2018 and said that it was a much more rounded game: “Newbies will be impressed, enthusiasts will not walk away disappointed”. See the comments on my review of their other game for more details.
Outside the room
Having just escaped from the Cabin game, it was straight back in for round two with just a brief break to visit the facilities. We took the chance to have a quick chat with the owners during the break, and it came out that we would be the first paying team to play Alien Abduction. That was a slightly scary prospect – the other game had been pretty disappointing even after they’d had time to iron out the rough edges. How would this one stack up when it had barely been tested at all?
Once again we were given a laminated card to read in lieu of an introduction.
The earth is now living under alien torment as they hover over the planet abducting humans randomly. We have tried to communicate with the aliens in many different ways without any success.
I am Dr Ray Wyatt I was the last known human to be abducted and came very close to escaping back to earth, with a way for the military to bring down the mother ship. I was recaptured before I was able to power up the teleport and bring back to earth all that I have learnt. I managed to work out the alien markings and some of their technologies.
If you are reading this then you have also be abducted and you are now the planets next hope in stopping the alien race taking over. Use the clues that I have left, and find the information I have hidden in order to help you move through the alien ship.
You have just 60 minutes to find this information and work out how to use the teleport machine and make it back to earth safely and save the planet.
Inside the room
A long time ago, I used to class as spoilers some things that I’m now fairly comfortable discussing on the blog. Anything that happens before the 60 minute begins I consider fair game – the key thing is that you shouldn’t have a head start over other players or have any of the surprise aspects of the room taken away. There are two things that fall into that category in this room: handcuffs and split teams. Yes, you’re going to be thrown into separate areas of the game to start with, and you’re going to be handcuffed. There are plenty of players for whom those are red flags, so it feels important to mention up front.
Both are used to reasonable effect in this game, without feeling like they’re dominating the experience. You shouldn’t expect to remain restrained for too long. Equally, the split team aspect is soon over, and they made good use of it to add extra challenge to proceedings.
In terms of décor, it was always going to be hard to create an alien spaceship, especially in a space as tall as this one. They’d made a decent effort, though – nothing likely to really wow you but a significant step up from the original decoration in the space, and enough to carry the theme. Again, this isn’t a brightly lit room, so some of the decoration won’t get much attention, but later in the experience you’ll be able to see better, and the effort they’ve made matters. Sadly, there weren’t enough light sources in this game either, so it was a good thing that lighting wasn’t as critical.
In terms of story, there’s a little more than we read on those laminate sheets but really not very much – just a bit more context of what’s going on. It was given all in one go, and it felt a little bit wordy for my taste, to the point that you’re likely not to bother reading it. I’d have far preferred to see them give little snippets throughout the game to help players absorb it better.
The good news is that the puzzles made more sense than in their other room. The bad news is that they still weren’t great. While there were parts that could be done in parallel, they were by no means all, and we were often left watching one of our teammates progressing the game. There wasn’t a huge amount of variety, with a couple of puzzle types appearing several times. There was a lack of direction at some stages that resulted in us aimlessly searching the space to try to work out which way to go next. That was exacerbated by the red herrings that were strewn through the game, one of which felt absolutely gratuitous. I should mention that one of those red herrings was actually a bit of an Easter egg, so perhaps a little more acceptable.
It all built up to what was a pretty tedious and disappointing finale. In fact, it was such a boring puzzle that I felt almost certain that it wouldn’t be the end of the game. In the end, once we’d worked round some incorrect instructions, the exit door opened and we were out into a non-descript corridor with little to explain how we’d overcome the alien race…
We escaped in around 42 minutes with a single clue. A clue that came from a device that you only find part way through the game and have to solve a puzzle to gain access to…
See note at the top of this review for more context.
In contrast to the previous game, this felt playable. There were moments that impressed me and, while the decoration wasn’t great, it was clear they’d made an effort on what was a difficult theme to convey. You also need to take into account that this was effectively their first day, so they were likely still bedding in the game and trying to work out where the friction points were. Ultimately, though, it was a disappointment. A lack of direction, repeated puzzles and an abundance of red herrings took the fun out of it for me.
Four is a good number for this game. The split start lends itself well to an even number, and I always think it works better with at least two in each space. When deciding numbers, you should obviously bear in mind that there are a limited number of light sources. No promises that you’ll get more for a bigger team…
Detailed Room Ratings