Lewis Westbury

Played: 2018-11-02 Team size: 5 Time taken: Outcome: Successful escape!

Mission Impossible positions you as a team of operatives, charged with breaking into an art thief\'s private collection to seize a stolen jewel. It\'s very much a team game, and fun to play.

Starting outside the building and facing down a guard dog, the decor really suggests an episode of an old TV favourite (take your pick). As you break through different forms of security to enter the building, the game keeps that feeling alive with some fun props and tasks to complete that make perfect sense with a bit of cartoon logic.

We were a team of 5, and it felt just slightly too crowded. A group of 3 would be perfect for this game.

Played: 2019-05-05 Team size: 2 Time taken: Outcome: Successful escape!

The haunted pirate ship is a lovely, well themed room. It has a little of everything you\'d expect from the ghost of a pirate captain... rum, maps, flags, mice and puzzles.

The puzzles were fun, and the game let us start on a few different things at once - which meant we could fan out around the room and get going quickly.

In a few places, we found ourselves plugging the same number into a number of different padlocks. Perhaps a little more signposting could have helped there - but it didn\'t really dent our enjoyment.

The room would be playable with 4, but we felt like you\'d probably have the best experience with 2 or 3. Overall, a fun game and really good for a family or some first-timers.

Played: 2019-05-04 Team size: 2 Time taken: Outcome: Failed :-(

Starpoint Alpha is an interesting game. It has some really great design, ideas, and story-driven puzzles. We loved scrambling back and forth through the space.

The game has an interesting outcome model: You can save the space station and escape, or if you\'re down to the last 5 minutes you can escape by completing the puzzles in the escape pod.

In a few places, implementation holds the experience back. Some parts of the game felt more like we were completing work than puzzles - perhaps because quite a few of the solutions to problems required many iterations of the same task. (For instance, searching for a large number of similar things distributed across the playing area.) If we were to fix this, we\'d reduce the number things to find, or iterations in some of the other puzzles - and add an extra puzzle or two to the space.

Our games master was friendly, if a little too ready to give us clues. We\'d have preferred to finish trying to figure a puzzle out and then to ask - but your mileage may vary. He had better knowledge than we did about how much there was to do, so perhaps he felt like there wasn\'t enough time for that.

Despite these flaws, we had fun playing. The whole experience came with a welcome dose of humour, and a fun twist to the story that felt like it might have had a little inspiration from Red Dwarf. The game works for a team of 2, but because of the iterations involved you\'ll probably do a little better in a team of 3 or 4.

Played: 2019-05-02 Team size: 2 Time taken: Outcome: Successful escape!

The Machine is a fun game with some really interesting features. The space available is well used, and the game seems best suited for 2 or 3 players. The room and puzzles seem really well suited for beginners, with some classic puzzles and interesting new ideas woven into the room. The hosts are friendly and helpful.

It\'s not search heavy, but not everything is laid out for you. In a couple of places we were a little stumped by slightly cryptic instructions, but in each case it just needed us to think a little more loosely about what we were being told. One particular clue should have been extremely obvious to someone with a programming background, but I\'m glad I drew blanks and we didn\'t short-circuit that particular puzzle.

A fun game I would recommend - especially if you\'re bringing a beginner or two.

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