The trilogy is complete
Agent Crimson and MrQ have destroyed the Alpha Brain System, but not before Professor BlackSheep managed to escape. But the Professor no longer needs that old piece of machinery. He’s now setting his sights on a new vision, Humanity 2.0, a world order where humans only have access to the intelligence they deserve.
After the brain-melting that occurred following our completion of Episode 2 in clueQuest’s Print+Cut+Escape series, Alpha Brain System, back in May, (I loved it, but it was perhaps one of the most challenging escape games I have played, and that’s counting live games too) the announcement of Episode 3 in the series, Humanity 2.0, elicited both a feeling of excitement and slight trepidation (Episode 2 was definitely not for the faint-hearted, even after the adjustments to make it slightly easier). But we decided that we were more than up for the challenge, and a time was agreed amongst our other escape-mad friends to convene on Zoom, and prevent the evil Professor BlackSheep from enacting his evil plot.
Humanity 2.0 followed the same format and structure of both of its predecessors, with, unsurprisingly, printed pieces to deliver the puzzles and parts of the narrative, that needed to be cut and manipulated in order to be solved. The solutions from these printed elements could then be entered into a website. Those that have played Episodes 1 and 2 may be pleased to hear that the cut element of Print+Cut+Escape seems to have been reduced somewhat in Humanity 2.0, particularly when compared to Alpha Brain, so game prep time is greatly reduced, as is your risk of an RSI. But Humanity 2.0 has stepped up from the earlier episodes in another way. Where Episode 1 and 2 really only used the web portion to allow players to input solutions in order to progress through the game, or get clues if necessary, Humanity 2.0 has managed a more integrated melding of the printed components with the internet browser-based portions of the game.
As with the previous games in the series, Humanity 2.0 was divided into several chapters, with each chapter presenting a new bit of the narrative and a series of puzzles that were each thematic and satisfying. Like most play-at-home games, Humanity 2.0 is generally quite linear, but within each chapter, often we found ourselves confronted with an abundance of information, and a series of puzzles that each needed to be solved, with the information gleaned contributing to one overriding “mega” puzzle, almost as though each chapter was its own little “mini” game.
Difficulty is always a bit subjective – things that I deem to be simple may not be for others, and vice versa. That being said, the majority of the tasks in Humanity 2.0 felt as though they were much easier than some of those in its predecessors. (As a group of four, we completed Episode 3 in just over an hour, whereas Episodes 1 and 2 were completed in 1:30 and 1:55, respectively, if that gives you any indication of what I mean.) Often, I found myself doing something, thinking, “That can’t be it, it’s too simple,” only to have this simple process result in a correct solution. Whether this is a byproduct of having played the previous games and therefore knowing “how clueQuest think,” or if the tasks just generally required a more logical thought process instead of lateral, therefore allowing our brains to make connections faster, I’m not quite sure.
There was one puzzle that we actually managed to complete by some bizarre fluke using a convoluted, lengthy, and, ultimately, wrong process that was probably closer to brute-forcing the solution than solving it – we just didn’t realise it at the time. Although we did actually manage to complete this task without taking a hint (by some miracle) we ended up going back to clueQuest to find out exactly how we were meant to have solved this. It turns out that the process was actually quite simple, but it was sneakily hidden within the paper elements of the game.
The one questionable puzzle aside, the puzzles in Humanity 2.0 were logical when followed through to their conclusion. Each chapter of the game presented a new challenge, with puzzles varying in style with some using wordplay, others requiring observation, and still more that relied heavily on spatial awareness, all underpinned by a need for logical thinking.
Sign-posting throughout Humanity 2.0 was more prevalent than in the earlier games in the series, and I’m unsure how I feel about it. Part of the challenge in both Stolen IQ and Alpha Brain was figuring out how the physical printed components of the game interacted with eachother – how do you fold them, how do they line up? Should I glue them? Humanity 2.0 often had step by step guides on how to set up some of these elements (though not all of them did this), rather than relying on the lines simply stating “Fold Here.” Ultimately, this probably removes the frustration for some players, but also the satisfaction for others when you finally figure out what you were meant to do.
I am making an educated guess here, but I imagine if you’re reading this review, you’re already rather familiar with the Print+Cut+Escape games, given that Humanity 2.0 is Episode 3 of the series, so I don’t really feel the need to elaborate much here, but just in case you’re a rebel and playing the games out of sequence, clueQuest have opted to utilise the same system employed by Episodes 1 and 2 of the series. It’s no surprise, the clue system is effective and works perfectly, with gradual nudges back in the right direction, culminating in the solution should you really need it.
clueQuest have added another excellent play-at-home option to their already stellar collection. Humanity 2.0 continues the narrative begun with Stolen IQ, and takes the series through to its conclusion. Although clueQuest are now open for live games, I hope that they continue to develop games to play at home as these are some of the best on the market.
- Device with Internet Access
- Printer with 20 sheets of paper (or select Print&Post for £25.00 in the UK)
- Tape/glue (optional)
- Video/audio conference call software of your choice (remote teams only)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 1hr 03 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.