Charming and perfect for festive fun!
Every year, Santa practices his “chimney falling technique”. Last night, he ate too many mince pies and it threw him off balance, making him hit his head inside the fireplace. So now, Santa cannot remember where he has hidden the naughty or nice list for this year! Mrs. Claus decided to hire the top rated festive detectives in all the world to help him find it (that’s you)!
Complete the puzzles and Christmas Challenges to find the naughty or nice list (and to see if you made the cut this year).”
Headlock Escape rooms aren’t your typical escape room company as really their games are designed to be mobile and come to you. Thanks to the pandemic, they had to do a quick rethink and are now offering their games online using Zoom. We had the pleasure of playing their Mystic Ruins game recently and portable or not, that was a fun game!
Historically, Liz and I have always really struggled with Christmas games. I think it is because they are designed for families so the puzzles are generally easier, yet we have a habit of over complicating them and getting frustrated. This was to be the second Christmas themed avatar game for us and as the first went so well, we had high hopes that those Christmas frustrations would be a thing of the past!
The first thing you’ll notice about this game is that it is not one of the all singing and dancing style escape rooms, this game was designed to be portable so don’t go in expecting full immersion. Saying that, our host Bob (more on Bob later) set the scene and explained that they had basically shrunk down Santa’s living room so we could help find that elusive naughty and nice list.
This is the type of game that would come to you and be set up in your own room, so your attention is solely focussed on what is in front of you and not what may be behind you. We played a mobile game years ago and it was literally just a few boxes that were set up in a room, it was fun, but Headlock didn’t settle for just providing boxes. The set, for lack of a better word, was charming.
This game did something that we haven’t seen many other online games do, and it was something that just made it extra special. I won’t go into details for fear of ruining the surprise, but an added element of personalisation in the game made us feel much more involved in the game and I’d imagine that if you’re playing this as a family then your kids would really get some enjoyment from this.
This game has no inventory but Headlock have started utilising screen sharing, this means that if you discover something in the room that has a lot of writing you can see it more clearly. It’s also one of the few companies we have seen who actively encourage you to take photos on your phone so you can more easily navigate the puzzles. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way.
Being a ‘portable’ room you won’t be surprised to hear that there isn’t a lot to explore in this game, but saying that there is still a good little search element to find what you need. Outside of the searching, you’ll encounter observation puzzles, decoding, pattern recognition and word play. There are even two levels of difficulty available, and the game can be adjusted to make things a little simpler for teams that include younger children.
Normally we like to over complicate puzzles in Christmas games, but in this game I tried a different approach and tried to really simplify them – and I still failed (fortunately the rest of my team was brighter than I). Headlock have created a family friendly game, yet Cracking Christmas has puzzles that will keep even experienced escape room enthusiasts happy and challenged..
Our host for the evening was one of the brains behind Headlock, Joel. Of course, he couldn’t just be Joel so he was in character as Bob Claus – Santa’s brother. Bob was lots of fun to interact with, and he was patient with us when we went off on complete tangents at many points. He also read the room well and responded perfectly to the type of humour we were throwing at him.
We didn’t actively need to ask for any clues but I’m pretty sure that Bob gave us subtle guidance by leaving the camera in certain places for just long enough that we may notice something that we had perhaps previously overlooked.
Headlock use a trolley/rig system which gives good control over the camera, meaning there was no chance of any motion sickness here! Bob/Joel was also very quick with the screen-sharing and quick to remind us to take a photo of something if it was useful.
The headlock games are some of the most favourable games in terms of price, and are the perfect introduction to online avatar escape rooms. This is 100% a family friendly game, and if you’re looking for some festive fun to get you in the Christmas mood, then this will make for a Cracking Christmas (see what we did there?).
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: Up to 6
- Price: £35
- Devices: Desktop or Laptop suggested. Also compatible with handheld devices
- Platform: Zoom
- Inventory: No
- 360º View: No
- Time Zone: United Kingdom (GMT)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 44:00 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.