Good things do come in small packages
Can you help save the earth from the impending alien invasion? NERD, an extraterrestrial, has been living among us for hundreds of years after crash landing on earth in his spacecraft.
With his ship now fixed, he is ready to harness the energy of Stonehenge to power up his Portal Opening Device. But the portal will allow his fellow aliens to destroy earth. You must infiltrate the ship and power down the POD before NERD returns. You are earth’s only hope.
What feels like a lifetime ago now we played Live Escape Salisbury’s room Spectre, and that room was something special, not just the puzzles but the whole experience. So when we saw they were releasing a live avatar online game we knew it was one we’d have to play, and soon!
As fate would have it we didn’t have to wait long to give it a try. We’ve played a few games lately with the guys at Brit of an Escape Habit (BoaEH), and they kindly invited us to play POD with them, that’s a no brainer!
When we joined the Zoom call our teammates, and Agent Pitcher (our GM) were ready and waiting to begin our experience, so we loaded up the inventory link, entered the password that was provided, and our mission to save earth began.
This is a live avatar room where our GM, Charlie, is our eyes and hands on the ground. I can only assume he was using some form of stabilising device for the camera as it was all very smooth. The space for this game isn’t massive but they have managed to cram a lot into it in terms of puzzles (more on that later), and every time we found an item we were excited by how we then needed to interact with it.
The room that this game takes place in isn’t huge, but they’ve managed to cram in a lot of fun into such a small space. Although no 360 photo is provided, you don’t actually need one. When you log into the game you are given the password to login to the inventory, and this is where items you find in the room are added so you can see them in more detail.
We’ve seen more complex inventories, but we’ve also seen more basic ones. What we liked about this inventory was how it was designed with usability in mind, and it worked perfectly, giving us exactly what we needed to be able to look at the items and solve the puzzles. Unlike many systems, we didn’t need to enter codes to reveal items, as soon as we discovered items in the room, our GM (or assistant, Claire) was very quick to add them to the inventory.
Another nice feature of this room is that the story is based around Stonehenge, which is just down the road from where Live Escape Salisbury are (normally) located. Obviously an alien story detaches it from reality, but the real world tie-in with their location was nice to see.
Perhaps it was our experience but we found the puzzles in this game to be on the easier side, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The puzzles themselves were incredibly fair, which meant they were just really good fun and the way we interacted with the room itself made every puzzle a real delight.
There was a mixture of puzzles, some wordplay, observation, but there was not a single puzzle we hated or felt out of place. Part of the fun was ‘exploring’ the room and seeing how we could interact with different items in it. Knowing what Live Escape are capable of creating in their physical rooms, we weren’t surprised by what we found in POD.
Normally when doing a room, if we encounter a smorgasbord of padlocks, we shed a little tear knowing that we are going to have to try every combination we find in all of the padlocks. Fortunately, Live Escape are really nice people and the signposting in this room was impeccable. Literally every code we found we knew exactly where to use it – top marks!
Charlie (and I think his assistant, Claire) did a great job as Agent Pitcher, giving us a detailed tour of the room when we started and staying in character throughout (we were only ever referred to as ‘mission control’).
As I mentioned earlier, Charlie’s camera holding skills were second-to-none so everything we looked at was perfectly clear and stable. I think what also helped is that when we joined the call we turned our cameras off so all bandwidth was available for the important stuff.
This was a really fun room and is very reasonably priced. With great signposting, clever puzzles, and a really fun set, it is worth doing! Get it booked before it is gone!
Looking back at our experience with this room, I can’t decide whether the highlight for me was the puzzles or the room design. I can’t give too much away, but we got far too excited about how we interacted with items.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 1-3 connections (1-6 players)
- Price: £40 (flat fee)
- Devices: Desktop/Laptop
- Platform: Zoom
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: No
- Time Zone: GMT/BST (Salisbury, UK)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 33:07
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.