Hard to describe – Easy to love
The Keeper has awakened. This only happens every 1,000 years when the evil Paxillus is released from his mushroom prison. Your team, The Guardians, must help our hero defeat this dreaded Mushroom King and save the people of this land.
We’re big fans of the team behind Headlock Escape Rooms, having previously played The Mystic Ruins and Cracking Christmas we loved the quirky and intimate feel of their games (not to mention their pricing is some of the most favourable out there). So when we saw they had released a new game, we knew we had to try it.
We’ve been in this pandemic for a long time and with the world (or at least the UK) starting to open up a bit more, we’re seeing the demand for online games dwindle somewhat, and it appears that companies too are focussing on their ‘real-life’ offerings. With The Keeper & The Fungus Among Us (TKTFAU), Headlock have not only released a new game, but also seem to create something new and unlike anything we have seen before – we knew Joel (from Headlock) was planning something big, but we had no idea it was this!
We arranged to team up with escape room legends, Brit of an Escape Habit, and got booked in as soon as possible! We were already hearing great things about this game and didn’t want to miss the boat on this one.
Firstly, forget everything you know about avatar-led escape rooms as this is something new, something different, something amazing. TKTFAU is a masterpiece of both story-telling and set design where everything comes together to immerse you in this completely bonkers tiny world. We don’t normally include photos of games in our reviews, but this game is so different that we thought we’d be different and give you some insights.
We’ve been trying to think about the best way to describe this game, and really all we can come up with is that it is like Rocky Horror Picture Show, mixed with an escape room, with some role playing, perhaps some old-school Zelda, and a good smidgen of a choose-your-own adventure story too – oh and of course, this all takes place in a bizarre miniature world.
Some people moan if a game doesn’t have an inventory system for you to keep track of items (we don’t really care). I’m pleased to state that this game does indeed have an inventory system, kind of, in a cool retro-videogame type of way. It kept the same level of whimsy and I’ve never known an inventory to add to the game in the way it did here.
We were in hysterics through-out this game and, although it’s been a while since we’ve played an online avatar game, I think I’m going to make a bold statement: THIS IS MY FAVOURITE AVATAR GAME THAT I HAVE PLAYED. There, I said it. I loved this game, and judging from all the laughter in our team, I think they loved it too. (Liz would also like me to add that, “This is the best thing on the Internet.”)
After the game, Joel treated us to a little behind-the-scenes tour, and this made the game even more impressive. During our game everything worked seamlessly, with not a single problem. Transitions between live footage and pre-recorded was perfect, and audio was spot on. I am struggling to find any way to fault this game.
We were lulled into a false sense of security with this game. I think with the cutesy set and whimsical story-line, we expected the puzzles to be easy. They did start off pretty sedately but then it was ramped up to 11 when we encountered puzzles that were much more cerebral than we had previously encountered in this magical realm.
The puzzles that were in this game involved maths, logical thinking and observation. All of the puzzles fitted perfectly into the world that Headlock have created and nothing felt out of place. It was nice to find some really challenging puzzles.
Although there were puzzles, and they were great, I think this game is about much more than the puzzles. This is a game for escaping reality and remembering what it’s like to have fun with something that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you love puzzles, play this game. If you love to laugh, play this game. If you want an amazing experience with friends (or without), play this game. In a nutshell – play this game.
It’s always a delight to play a game that is hosted by Joel. He adds the right level of humour and as this game has humour as a key ingredient, Joel was once again perfect. Joel listened to our commands, went along with our stupid ones, and waited for us to work out what we needed to do next. Then when he needed to interact, he did it perfectly. Considering we could only see part of him, it very much felt like he was a big part of the team. Also, can we just say how incredibly talented Joel is (and his wife too, whom we have never met)? This game is perfection, and he and his wife created everything from the sets to the music. Yes, music!
Part of the joy of this game is that at times it plays out like a video-game, and of course video games have save points and loading screens – and this game did too! We had our dim moments where we may have needed to go back to a save point to try something again, but this is where the hint system was very clever. If you messed up a few times, a ‘hint’ would be displayed on the screen (just like in videogames). The hint was subtle but it was more than enough to give that nudge in the right direction.
Should we need more than the subtle on-screen nudge, Joel (sorry, The Keeper), was on hand (yep, I went there) to offer little bits of guidance or perhaps just position himself in such a way that it made us take notice of something else we may not have seen.
This game is a true delight! With original music and songs, beautiful set design, great puzzles and a wonderful host – this will likely be unlike anything else you have ever played. We don’t do awards, but if we did, this would be a winner!
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 6 players
- Price: £75
- Devices: Desktop/Laptop
- Platform: Zoom
- Inventory: Yes – in an awesome way
- 360º View: No
- Time Zone: UK time
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 70 minutes (90 minute game)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.