Check yo’ balls!
It is October 31st, the eve of Movember, and ‘T’ is working late, instead of hosting his famous annual Halloween party, but this leaves him without his shaver when he needs it the most. Movember starts tomorrow, and the Wexell Corporation take it very seriously. So seriously that if he hasn’t shaved by midnight, they will count it as him CHEATING AT MOVEMBER. You’ll have to break into the security at the Wexell Corporation, but only if you can help his colleague, Joey, get into his house and locate his surprisingly well hidden ‘special razor’. Why does he need this specific razor? Why is Joey going along with this mad-capped adventure, and can you help a rapper come up with an on-brand rap before it’s all over? All these questions and more can only be discovered by playing ‘The Movember Virtual Moscape Room’. It’s about to get hairy.
It’s no secret we’re fans of Deadlocked Escape Rooms. Just take a look at our reviews for The Phoenix Research, The Testing Chamber, The Time Machine, The Insiders, or The Cyphstress if you need any convincing regarding how great their games, both physical and digital, are.
The Cyphstress is my favourite play-at-home experience (that doesn’t involve a live host) that we have played to date, so when the announcement came that a third play-at-home game from the brilliant minds of the Deadlocked team, Charlie and James, was in the works, Gord and I were overjoyed. But imagine our surprise when it was revealed that this time, Deadlocked had partnered with Movember. Yes, the same Movember that has achieved cult status and has seen over five million Mo People across the globe bringing back the moustache with style every November since 2003, to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues; most notably prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.
But the question is, just how exactly do moustaches and men’s health issues fit into the Wexell Universe? The answer is, in fact, mo-st spectacularly. (See what I did there?)
Now, I will be perfectly honest with you, The Moscape Room didn’t manage to knock The Cyphstress from her throne in my mind, although it was a close shave. In some ways, however, it may actually be a better game for some. Despite familiar characters, and stepping back into the world of the Wexell Corporation Universe – the umbrella under which the stories for all of Deadlocked’s games sit in some fashion – it felt as though Deadlocked deviated slightly from their usual style. This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, and is perhaps one of the strengths of the game, as Movember felt much more accessible for those that may have never played an “escape” game. The biggest reason for this is, unlike its older siblings with their anticipated run times of three to six hours over the course of two to three sessions, Movember is expected to take most players 60-90 minutes in one sitting. This is a much less daunting prospect for those who want to try out something new, but also ideal for more experienced players who may not be able to devote that much time to a game.
As an aside, if you’re reading this because you’ve never played a Deadlocked digital game before and are trying to decide between them, Movember is a perfect choice for your first one. Of course, if you’re a keen puzzler/masochist and up for a challenge (or you’ve played The Insiders and/or the Cyphstress and want a more traditional Deadlocked experience), you could always add “EX” to the end of your access code for a special treat.
Like Deadlocked’s first two play-at-home experiences, The Movember Virtual Moscape Room is an ARG, or Alternate Reality Game, blending real-world elements with the fictional Wexell Universe. Expect to see cameos from some familiar faces and characters as you make your way through, as well as Easter eggs from the non-escape room lives of the Deadlocked team.
Although the game is entirely browser-based, it had a feel similar to a physical escape room, with each new revelation akin to discovering a new secret room as we worked our way from the remote desktop of a Wexell computer, and a slightly questionable moustache themed puzzle pack, and around the internet. Thanks to the ARG format, we were quickly sucked into the hunt for T’s razor, as the game became an immersive, interactive, and unique choose-your-own adventure with delightful homages to the Moscape Room’s physical cousins, riddled with silly humour and ridiculous puns. The game flowed seamlessly from task to task, and while it was relatively linear, it still managed to convey a sense of exploration, and allow our team of two to both work independently and in tandem.
Codes, pattern recognition, observation, logical deduction, social engineering, cyberstalking… if you can think of it, chances are it will appear in The Movember Virtual Moscape Room. There is one puzzle which could be quite a challenge, but if you use all the technology available to you, you may find a little work around that can help.
Those that have played The Insiders and The Cyphstress will, of course, know about the dreaded machines, and may be anxious to know if the fiendish minds of James and Charlie have invented another torture device. The Moscape Room does include another machine, but this one is unlikely to cause the collapse of any relationships.
In my opinion, Deadlocked have nailed the immersive clue system, and it only seems to improve with each game. In the case of the Moscape Room, help is always readily available from the host of characters you meet throughout your adventure to reunite T with his all-important razor. In places, the clues are powered by some surprisingly conversational bots. (Of course, players may want to be careful what they say – Deadlocked keep an eye on many of their games, so you never know when you may be talking to a real person ?). In other sections of the game, there is a clearly marked button to request assistance, which is still delivered in character, and thanks to the linear structure in these parts, the system is able to track exactly what you may need help with, so there is no need to scroll through pages and pages of irrelevant clues, with no risk of spoilers or break in the immersive narrative.
With a catchy theme song, immersive narrative, wacky humour, and clever puzzles, not to mention achievements to unlock and a nifty completion certificate, there’s nothing not to love about The Movember Virtual Escape Room. Plus, with ⅓ of the proceeds going to Movember, I can’t think of a more entertaining way to support such a great cause.
- Desktop/laptop computer with an internet connection (and sound turned on)
- Facebook account
- Materials for notetaking
- Optional secondary device
|Value for Money|
Time Taken: Approx. 80 minutes