Immersive and full of puzzles. Wunderbar!
An Official Arkham Horror Files online escape adventure.
Players step into the shoes of Stella Clark in this Interactive Online Adventure with physical artifacts in a point and click escape experience on their favorite web browser in this digital one time play through game.
It feels like a lifetime ago when online escape rooms were dominating the industry, now they are very much few and far between. We recently read a stat that stated that in 2020 there were over 1,000 online/play at home experiences released, but so far in 2023 there have been less than 5. I must admit, we haven’t played many so far in 2023, but that’s not for lack of wanting to. So when we saw that Hourglass Escapes were releasing a new experience, we were chomping at the bit to play it!
If you’re not familiar with Hourglass Escapes, then you really should be. They seem to be the masters of getting approval for making official licensed games and are also pretty adept at releasing originals, they have released some crackers: Evil Dead 2, The Navigators and the Call from Beyond, and The Rise of the Mad Pharaoh spring to mind. Online experiences like this kept us sane when the world went crazy, and even now things are a little calmer, we still love playing online games.
I must profess to not being overly clued up on what Arkham Horror is, but from doing some research I now understand it’s a very popular board game based in the world of H.P Lovecraft and the mythology around Cthulhu. On a side note, if you are looking for a cool song, then ‘Cthulhu’ by Gunship is pretty fun. Anyway, The Road to Innsmouth takes place in that world and playing this game felt more like being in an interactive adventure than simply solving puzzles online.
It’s worth noting that there are two versions of this game available, the standard game and the deluxe version. We played the standard game which is purely online, but if you opt for the deluxe version then you get some cool looking artefacts that you can add to your collection (I’m very tempted to purchase the deluxe version just for the bits it comes with). But if, like us, you just want to play the game ASAP, then you’ll want to opt for the standard version.
For those of you familiar with online escape rooms I simply have to mention the word ‘Telescape’ and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how this game works. If you’re not familiar with Telescape then there is an amazing world of online escape rooms out there for you to explore. Telescape is a great platform for online experiences as it enables a co-operative platform where players can interact with items independently of each other, but also see the cursors from other players so they know what they’re looking at. It is worth noting though, that you won’t be able to see or hear any other players so if you want to make it more social, then you’ll want to load up Zoom or something like that.
Hourglass Escapes appear to always be striving for perfection with their onlines games, we’re yet to really encounter any issues when playing them. The Road to Innsmouth incorporates audio, video, point and click, inventories, and puzzles, and they all work together in perfect harmony.
Once you have your crew assembled and are in the lobby, you then click to start the game. Rather than dropping you in it right away, it gives a lovely (themed) instruction area so you all know how the game works. It’s at this point where you get to choose if you’re playing the standard of the deluxe version. If you’re playing with friends remotely, then you’ll probably want to choose the standard game.
Anytime we play online games, by default we will switch to using Google Chrome. We find it generally seems to function better and so far we’ve not had any issues with it.
I mentioned earlier that this game felt like an interactive adventure, and I stand by that comment. With all the videos and cutscenes that were present, it really did make the game more immersive. Fortunately, the quality of the production didn’t come at the expense of the puzzles and we found the puzzles to be set at just the right level and were varied in their approach.
You’d quickly get bored if a game that lasted over two hours had repetitive puzzles, but The Road to Innsmouth was certainly varied in the puzzle types we encountered; communication, observation, minor searching, decoding, logic, spatial awareness, and maths. All the puzzles felt like they belonged in this odd world, and all were extremely fair.
The only places we seemed to struggle was when we didn’t realise that we needed to use something from our inventory, perhaps in a different way to what we already had, and we forgot about it. In hindsight I’m pretty sure that once an item in our inventory was obsolete it then disappeared – so that should have helped us if we had picked up on that at the time. Turning a negative into a positive, this meant we got to check out the clue system…
The clue system was integrated into the game and was contained in your inventory disguised as letters. Any puzzle you encountered had help available to get you back on track should it be needed. The first hint was more like a free nudge that would likely help you to identify the items you needed to pair together to be able to solve the puzzle.
If you required more help (and we did on a couple of occasions), then you could simply open another letter which would give you more direct help. Ignoring the free hint, there were three clues available for each puzzle – ‘first attempt’, ‘second attempt’, ‘final attempt’, each less cryptic and more direct. We found the clues to be just right to get us back on track and get us through with minimal frustrations.
The Road to Innsmouth felt like it squeezed a lot into a Telescape game. Ok there were cut scenes and videos etc, but it still managed to keep us occupied for over two hours (as a team of two), so if you’re looking for an evening’s entertainment then this could be a good shout. I am also lead to believe that this game has a tie in with a physical game that Hourglass have at their location. It’s unlikely we’ll make it over there any time soon, but it’s on the list!
This felt more than just an escape room and did a great job as a world building experience. If you’re familiar with the works of H.P. Lovecraft and The Great One, then be sure to check out The Road to Innsmouth.
- Computer and Browser
- Zoom (or equivalent) if playing remotely with friends
- Audio turned on
- Pen and paper may help
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 2hr 23 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review