All the way from New Zealand
Katy has gone missing. Race against the clock in this online puzzle hunt to find her before it’s too late.
Use Facebook, email, Google Maps, and your phone to solve puzzles, unravel the mystery and hopefully find Katy.
I’m not sure if we first came across the CodeBreaker’s digital games on Escape the Review, or if it was the word of mouth recommendations we were seeing in the various Escape Room Enthusiast Facebook groups, but for a grand total of NZD$10 (£5) to play Missing, we decided to give it a go and get out of the sun for a little while one weekend.
The game begins with a cryptic email, and a plea to help your contact, Mike, find his friend, Katy. We tracked Mike down, as per his instructions, and joined the hunt for his missing friend.
Missing uses a secure chatbot to replicate the feeling of text messages, and like other alternative reality games, makes use of other real-world platforms to give a heightened sense of realism. The game saw us pouring over social media pages, looking for clues that might implicate what has happened to Katy. The chatbot platform itself was very slick, and as we progressed through the game, it was easy to be drawn into the narrative. Codebreakers have even provided a ‘Missing’ Spotify playlist to help set the mood.
The narrative of the game is really where Missing excels though. It’s built into the story that you’re working and helping Mike track down Katy remotely, allowing the game to feel a bit more immersive as you comb various social media accounts for clues to her location (n.b. At least one person on the team will need a Facebook login.) But the story throws in a few twists and turns to keep things interesting, culminating in a do or die ending. Gord and I love a good finale too, and Missing didn’t disappoint on that front either.
We played as a team of two with the game on one laptop and used an additional device for extra eyes in the social media hunts. CodeBreakers state on their website that you won’t be able to log into the game from multiple devices if your team is spread across multiple households, but due to the linear game structure, it’s not really necessary; using screen share will enable the entire team to see the information from Mike, and then everyone can use their own devices to hunt for the information needed, making Missing an excellent choice whether you play from the same location or multiple locations.
As one might expect from a game that is essentially a manhunt, the majority of the game was a cryptic puzzle hunt through various parts of the internet. There were other tasks involved, of course, after all, it wouldn’t be an escape game without a bit of logic, decoding, or deductive reasoning, plus a few more surprises thrown in here and there.
I wish I could say more about the puzzles, but in all honesty, there isn’t much more to say. I can tell you they were fair, and well signposted, although occasionally long-winded, with a great deal of information that would need to be sorted through.
The chatbot platform that Missing runs on has an inbuilt clue system. If you’re stuck, you can always say “help” for clues, which will provide a nudge to get you back on track. If you’re really stuck, the option to “skip” is always there as well. While I like that the game offers a way to push you forward, I would prefer to see more than one nudgey hint, as sometimes this simply states what you already know, or a way to be given the solution, instead of skipping, so that the puzzle can be reverse engineered, as the lack of completion would be incredibly frustrating to me if we needed to skip.
On the other hand, by keeping the hints in a conversational style between the players and your contact, it gives the game a more realistic feel, as though you really are assisting Mike in combing through the information to track down his missing friend, and by extension, he becomes a part of the team.
If you’re looking for something that feels a bit more realistic and immersive than many of the online escape style games out there, look no further than Missing for your next mission.
- Device with an internet connection
- Facebook login
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 47:31 minutes