They walk among us!
The government has been lying to us all. Covering up the truth for decades. You are a journalist for the Washington Post and you are about to investigate the story of your life.
It took us a long time to make it down to Chatham to play Hysteria’s physical rooms, Aftermath and Motel California and strangely it took us a long time to get around to playing Project Blue Book. I must admit that when we heard about Project Blue Book we assumed it was something to do with buying a car (‘blue book value’?) so we were pleasantly surprised when it was actually about aliens.
There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in the way Hysteria have chosen to put this game together, as they use Google Forms, but it works and we didn’t encounter any technical issues at all.
The gameplay is structured around a number of puzzles that utilise a number of different mediums including images, video and audio. It’s worth noting that one puzzle requires you to scan a QR code and another requires you to download a (free) app – so you will need a smartphone to be able to play this game, also internet searching will be needed.
One small thing, well a big thing for us, was that we could actually see the words we were typing in for our answers. There’s nothing more annoying than typing in a password and it says it is wrong, but you don’t know if your answer is wrong or it was simply a typo – no issues here.
If there was one way this game could easily be improved it would be to use higher resolution images as it would make things easier and gameplay a bit smoother/less frustrating.
Project Blue Book contained a variety of puzzles, which included decoding/deciphering, some internet sleuthing, impressively they even managed to make searching a puzzle; not searching the internet, simply paying close attention to what was in front of you – they were very sneaky at times!
For the most part, the puzzles were fitted around the story of extraterrestrials, although I must admit I lost track of the story at times and found we were just solving puzzles without much concept of the story, but that could have just been me as I am terrible at following stores in escape rooms.
There was one puzzle which wouldn’t have taken very long if you could have just copy and pasted it, but as it was added as an image it meant it was a more time-consuming process as we had to read it out and type it in manually. Fortunately, Hysteria were kind and didn’t make it too long so we got through it and were able to move on relatively quickly (before we got bored of it).
At first glance some of the puzzles were simple, but more often than not, they weren’t. One puzzle, in particular, took us what felt like a lifetime as you really needed to focus on small details to work out what needed to be done. We got there eventually and looking at it now, it’s actually a clever puzzle and the rage we felt at the time was unjustified.
One puzzle in particular I thought was wonderful; was it simple? Yes. Was it tricky? Yes. But it was simple once you knew what to do and the way they created this one was just very clever, I wish I could say more, but if you play this game and get to the puzzle on page 15 – that’s the one I liked.
Unfortunately where this game really falls down is on its clue system, in that it is practically non-existent. Now this may be a decision made by Hysteria to push you to spend the time to work out the answers, and it did for us, but less experienced teams could hit a wall and get frustrated that there is no way to continue.
The hint system is a separate Google Docs form that has one clue per puzzle, and unfortunately, that clue will often just tell you what you already know. So if you are stuck the only solution is to contact Hysteria on Facebook/email. We’d have liked to have seen a more detailed clue system in place just to help guide teams through if it was needed.
A few frustrating puzzles and a weak clue system meant that at times we were annoyed and our enjoyment waned. However, looking back at this game we can see that some puzzles were actually quite clever and our perseverance paid off to make a mostly enjoyable experience.
- Smartphone – capable of download Apps and scanning QR codes
- Computer with Internet Connection
- Notepad and Pen (for notes)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 8minutes