These sewers don’t stink!
You’re still on the hunt for the gold reserves of a shady politician, and have unexpectedly activated a secret passage in his office. Fighting your trepidation, you take a deep breath, and descend into the darkness. Uncover the final secrets of the corrupt Congressman, find his gold, and escape the subterranean labyrinth!
We played the first online game by Crime Runners, Back to the Congressman back in May 2020 and it was only the 20th online game we had played. We’ve now played a lot more than that and were pleasantly surprised to hear that Crime Runners had finally released a sequel, ‘Beneath Vienna’ – a game designed to pick up where the first one left off (but you don’t really need to have played the first game to enjoy this one).
As we played the first game as a team of two, we decided to tackle this one in the same way. We loaded up our laptops and were ready to play. It’s worth noting that although this game is made by an Austrian company, it is available to play in both German and English (obviously we opted for English)
The setup of this game felt much like the first game, only the set felt a bit more real – I think quite simply it’s because it was real. I gather they had access to the sewer system beneath Vienna to get the material needed – talk about dedication to the cause!
It is possible to play this game either on one computer or you can play remotely from different locations (or sat next to each other on the couch like we were). One thing that I can’t decide if we liked or found frustrating was that every player had to see the same thing. This meant if one player clicked on the arrow to go to a different section, or investigate an item then every person connected had to see the same thing. At first it took some getting used to but eventually we did after we found a system that worked for us – being able to see each others’ cursor was also a useful tool.
Beneath Vienna was well put together and we didn’t have any issues with the game at all. We did originally attempt to play this game while we were in a remote holiday cottage on Dartmoor and it was having none of it, it seems like this game is quite bandwidth intensive, so make sure you have a good internet connection before playing.
This game played out in ‘Chapters’ but to us it felt like it had a very different feel towards the end where the set changed to something that would feel much more familiar to any escape room enthusiast. But just when we thought we were escaping, Crime Runners ramped up the pressure and made us really work for our victory!
The puzzles in this game were clever and fitted the narrative well, often being multi-step or discoverable before being solvable – don’t forget what you’ve found and where! The sewer is a bit like a labyrinth and there is a lot of ‘walking’ to get between areas so it would be quite easy to get lost or forget where you found something that you eventually need to go back to.
My favourite puzzle was one of the first ones we encountered. At first we thought we needed more information but after a few minutes of simply staring at the screen we saw what we needed and it was like a light-bulb moment for us.
The puzzles in the game were varied, and as I said, clever. They broadly fit into the categories of; logic, physical (or as much as they can be physical online), observation, light searching, wordplay, audio and pattern recognition.
Fortunately there was a decent clue system available at all times in the game (or atleast at anypoint when there was a puzzle to solve). All you needed to do was to click on the large question mark in the bottom left hand corner. Once you clicked on this you would be taken to a gradual hint system that would give you the option of revealing gradual hints before finally revealing the solution.
This felt like a nice continuation of the story that we enjoyed in Crime Runner’s first online game. With clever puzzles and a well delivered narrative, we enjoyed our time in the sewer.
The point-and-click ‘all at once’ interface takes some getting used to, but if you’re happy to designate someone to be in charge of clicking it will work much better.
- Internet connection
- Pen and paper for notes (optional)
- Sound turned on
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 11mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.