Berlin, Nov 2017
Robot Paranoia is a sci-fi game set in a future dystopia where humans have mostly been eliminated by robots, where you have an hour to get out of the robot-controlled area before you’re caught.
The decor is more Bladerunner than Star Trek, a crumbling scene of urban graffiti and industrial machinery. From the start it looks impressively convincing, and improves as it goes on. More than how it looks though, I admired the way players are expected to navigate the game’s layout, with a couple of clever tricks and considerably more demanding physical movement required than for a typical escape room.
We stalled fairly early on with a puzzle that I think is enough of a leap that most teams will need a hint to get past it. It used the escape room style of logic where one thing is a clue to another just because they share some characteristic, not because there’s any earthly reason for them to be connected; and while that’s not an unreasonable approach for a game to take, in this one it’s at odds with pretty much everything else in the room. Other than that puzzle the game uses a mostly naturalistic style where the actions required broadly make sense for the situation and objects presented, but because of the exception to that we were needlessly suspicious for the rest of the game of what types of things we should be looking out for.
Having set up an interesting backstory, the game then doesn’t make a whole lot of use of it, with the task being essentially to just escape from the environment. Where the game uses actual puzzles they’re straightforward enough, with the more interesting sections being all the more physical or co-operative tasks.
We were a little spoiled in Berlin by the number of impressively built games we played. This was one of them, and set against a more standard selection of games it comfortably stands out, not such much for its puzzle content but definitely for its visual style, and the inventiveness for some of its exploration tasks.