A unique concept, executed well
An investigation begins the day after an attempted heist at a museum. Despite being brought in for questioning as suspects, unease led to your attempted escape. Staying too long may lead to your arrest, or perhaps worse!
I’ll be honest, it’s unlikely I will ever visit Saskatchewan – my family tend to feel a little hurt when I make the trip to North America and don’t see them, so that limits our options a little when we do make the trip across the Atlantic. But I have to say, the escape room companies in Regina are certainly making me rethink whether or not it’s worth invoking the wrath of my family.
Fortunately, with companies bringing their games online, we can still experience some really fantastic games without worrying about the consequences of avoiding the relatives. District 3 started offering their games online in the middle of 2020, beginning with The Cabin. Since then, they’ve adapted three more games, with another on the way and are fast becoming one of our favourite companies.
Given how much I thoroughly enjoyed Haunted, we were only too happy to gather our friends Amy and Ian from Brit of an Escape Habit to become Brit of a Review Habit, and take on Interrogation Room. Surprisingly, this game was not at all what I was expecting, and that became apparent as we answered the call for help from David.
*FYI, online games at District 3 are 30% off through the end of April 2021. At CAD$19.00 (about £10.00) per player, I say just pick your preferred theme and go for it.*
Interrogation Room has been adapted from its origins as an in-person escape game to a game that is able to be played remotely through the use of a live avatar – in other words, we get to direct another human being around a physical space from remote locations. The story for Interrogation Room actually lends itself well to this adaptation, as rather than your team finding themselves in the rather precarious position of being detained and accused of a crime you didn’t commit, instead, our remote team members have answered the call for help from David, who has been put in this rather delicate position. Luckily for David, we didn’t assume he was just a telemarketer, and we actually answered the call.
I will admit, I was surprised by the strength of the narrative behind Interrogation Room; possibly because I expected that there wouldn’t really be much story at all. Given that David was also to be interrogated for a museum heist, I also wasn’t expecting much drama. But as the game progressed, the story unfolded, revealing much more beneath the surface, delivering a game that was fast-paced, and bringing in some rather dramatic elements as we rushed to save David from his interrogators.
Were you to play Interrogation Room in person, you would likely find that there are some non-linear elements to the game, as there are often at least two tasks that could be worked on simultaneously (and that’s not even counting the bonus Easter Egg puzzle that gives you nothing but the satisfaction of solving it). This is harder to actually make possible in an online avatar style conversion of the game, simply due to the limitations of the format, but the use of Telescape here does actually make it possible for the remote team to divide and conquer if they wish, and allowing Interrogation Room to claw back some of its intended flow.
Interrogation Room was full (and I do mean full) of puzzles, ranging from simple observation, to more in depth logic, with many more challenges in between. Search elements were aided by Telescape, and excellent signposting throughout the game ensured that even when something wasn’t immediately apparent, we were able to piece things together eventually by taking a step back. While many of the puzzles were the typical types we tend to see within escape rooms, they were no less satisfying in their completion, with a couple of really fantastic moments when we finally “got” them.
But Interrogation Room wasn’t just codes and padlocks. As we’ve played more games from District 3, one of the things that I have noticed (and loved) is that they’re taking the online avatar format for remote play, and expanding on it – finding new ways to make their games stand out from the crowd. This is tough to do with a game that hasn’t been specifically designed for online play, but Interrogation Room has managed to use Telescape to enhance some mechanics of play. Rather then simply using the platform to provide 360’s, closeups, and to help keep track of items found within the room, we found that some information was only available to the remote team, while our avatar had found other information within the room, adding an additional team work dynamic to some of the puzzles. Not only that, but Interrogation Room has the distinction of being one of the few games that we’ve come across where things that happen in Telescape will have a direct effect on what happens in the room.
Interrogation Room is the third game that we’ve played at District 3, and David has been our avatar for all three of them. (He seems to get himself into quite a few tricky situations). From a technical standpoint, David’s hosting abilities are great as he not only acts as our eyes, ears and hands with excellent camera work, ensuring that that the camera is placed at just the right angle to ensure we can see everything, but also lingering on certain points long enough to subtly clue us into something we have perhaps overlooked, but he also manages to do all this while also managing the inventory to make the game a bit more immersive. On top of his technical hosting abilities, David is also comfortable with the art of showmanship, remaining in character throughout the game while also integrating himself as not just an avatar, but an additional member of the team.
In a way, I almost wish we had needed a clue, as District 3 use immersive clue systems for their in-person games, and (if I’ve understood correctly) this is carried over to their online counterparts. But, as we found the puzzles intuitive enough that we were able to solve them without a nudge, all I can say is that help is available if you need it! Bear in mind though, while you can take as much help as you require, only the first two are “free,” and won’t affect your over all score (if you care about scores and leader boards, that is..
Interrogation Room is on the tougher side, and was not at all what I was expecting story wise, but still full of the satisfying, and solid puzzles, and fun that I have come to expect from District 3.
FYI, online games at District 3 are 30% off through the end of April 2021. At CAD$19.00 (about £10.00) per player, I say just pick your preferred theme and go for it.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 2-8 Players
- Price: $27.00 (+tax) CAD per adult (Child Discounts available)
- Devices: Desktop/Laptop
- Platform: Zoom & Telescape
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: CST (Regina, SK, Canada)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 50 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.