Basic, but fun point-and-click
You have been kidnapped during a worldwide pandemic!
You are two of the world-leading scientists working in the field of virus vaccinations. A known villain has identified the potential profit of a vaccination and is forcing you to discover one – as if it’s as easy as that.
Although the quarantined dungeon he is keeping you in is safe from the virus, you still need to get out so that you can get back to saving the world (properly)!
Villainous Vaccine Ventures, which rolls off the tongue quite nicely, is the first game by newly formed ‘Control the Escape’. Like so many companies recently, Control the Escape appeared during the Coronavirus pandemic and set their mind to creating online escape rooms. At the time of writing they have two games with a third on the way.
The theme of this game is one that people will either not have a problem with or will be offended by. Obviously with the seriousness of the current pandemic it’s a brave move to create a game that is likely influenced by Covid-19. The synopsis is simple, there’s a villain and he wants to heavily monitise a vaccine so he has kidnapped you (and a friend) who are world leading scientists and is keeping you in a dungeon until you create the vaccine.
Unlike some games that we have seen with a similar theme, the mission here is not to create or find the vaccine, but simply to escape your surroundings so you can get back to the day job of creating the vaccine.
We played this game as a team of two from two separate devices and generally it seemed to work well. The two games weren’t linked so we had to communicate our findings with each other so we could both progress, but that wasn’t a problem.
There’s no getting around it, the interface for this game is pretty basic as far as point-and-click games go. Saying that however, you soon get used to the gameplay and it becomes quite straightforward to use. To help you understand how the game works there is a tutorial that you can run beforehand, this covers everything you need to know and made things a bit clearer when it came to playing the actual game.
The way the game unfolds follows the story well, starting in your ‘holding cell’ you soon branch out (or escape) through the villains lair and then hopefully to your freedom. But this isn’t a one way journey so be prepared to go back and forwards a few times as you solve puzzles.
There were a variety of puzzles in this game; observation, maths, and arguably a little logic too. All the puzzles we encountered felt like they fitted into the theme well and nothing really felt out of place.
The puzzles generally resulted in combinations for padlocks (numerical and directional) or they would give words that enabled you to continue on your journey, all low tech but it worked with no problems. I’ll always take a low-tech game that works, over a high-tech one that is glitchy and causes nothing but frustration.
Our biggest frustration with the puzzles came down to the lack of signposting. We managed to get through the game in a pretty respectable time, but this was more from experience and being guided through. At times it came down to simply trying solutions we had in anything we could find to see if it would unlock them, most of the time it didn’t, but sometimes we got lucky. With a few minor tweaks to indicate what went where this experience would have been a little less frustrating.
We didn’t really get a good look at the clue system so it is hard to describe in detail what it was like, but I can definitely state that there was one. One most (perhaps all) screens there was a large question mark that we could click on if we felt we needed help.
If you click on the question mark it would ask if you were sure you wanted a clue (good to avoid any accidental clicks) and then it would start by indicating what puzzle would provide the solution for the clue. I don’t know if it goes to more detail than this, but hopefully that initial clue is enough to get you back on track.
A basic but generally enjoyable point-and-click game. This game has a DIY feel about it but it’s better than some ‘professional’ games we’ve played. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes next from Control the Escape, hopefully a little more signposting.
With the lack of signposting I think this could be a tricky game for inexperienced teams, even experienced teams may struggle (or get frustrated) in places. This game clicked with me and because of this we were able to get through it pretty quickly, but Liz seemed to struggle with it.
- Notepad and Pen may help
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 25 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.