An Immersive Set
There were no winners, only losers. Humanity was plunged into chaos in which morality, solidarity and dignity burned.
London 2099, 72 years have passed since the Great Fire; among the radioactive debris of this once-great city, rats have survived and transformed, trying to take the lead in this new disfigured world.
Your mission is to thwart the plot of their leader, King Rat, hidden within the depths of the London Underground.
It had been a while since we’d last played a game at Mission Breakout (The Lost Passenger & Codebreakers), or in London either for that matter. So when work dictated a trip to London we made sure we stopped by Mission Breakout to try out their new game, Underground 2099.
Underground 2099 is quite a fitting name/theme for this game as it does indeed take place underground. Mission Breakout are housed in a disused Tube station so extra kudos points there for a cool venue! The venue was easy enough to find and once we entered the super secret door code into the main door, we descended the stairs into the underground lair where we were greeted by Filip, our GM for the evening.
Filip allowed us to put our stuff in the lockers, and then showed us through to the briefing room where we filled in the health and safety waivers (along with another team playing a different room). Eventually he came back to give us our room specific briefing, a nifty looking backpack type thing (we looked like trick-or-treaters out for halloween in our low budget Ghostbusters gear), and then he took us through to the room, strapped us in, and we were on our own.
I must admit, when we played the other games at Mission Breakout we didn’t really get on with them too well. Aesthetically they generally seem to be decent, but for whatever reason we don’t seem to click with their puzzles, we hoped this time it would be different.
The set for Underground 2099 felt very familiar to that of The Lost Passenger. Whether that’s because the latter has been moved, and this game now lives in the same space, or because the rabbit warren of underground tunnels just blend together and become interchangeable, I’m not entirely sure. Eitherway, despite the feeling of deja vu, the tunnels are still cool and fit the theming really rather well. I would imagine it would be a very short list if you had to list all escape rooms that were set underground and actually took place underground – so credit to Mission Breakout for creating a unique theme around the space that they have.
The start of this game felt very cramped although later on it does open up a little, although I’d imagine if you play in a larger team then you’ll likely find it even more cosy than we did. There is an element of being ‘restrained’ at the start, but this doesn’t last too long and it’s very easy to free yourself should you need to.
Another thing to note with this game, as you may expect from a game that takes place underground, it’s dark. At times it got really dark and we did find the extreme darkness caused us to find this game harder than it probably was, a torch or two would have been nice just to make it a little easier to find our way around.
Probably the highlight of Underground 2099 was the space that it took place in. They also added in some extra tech and surprises which was nice to see, and perhaps helped this game stand out from their other offerings.
I don’t know if we just think very differently to the puzzle designers at Mission Breakout, but none of the puzzles felt intuitive to us and it felt like we struggled one pretty much every single puzzle we found, but there were some fun moments.
Underground 2099 was a very linear game, where each puzzle led onto the next and there was no chance of taking a different path. I would guess that when we played this game it was still evolving, it felt like some puzzles had been removed from the game, but left in place which inevitably confused us a bit more. Having spoken with another blogger who played this game, it’s clear that our game differed slightly to theirs, so there’s a good chance they’re working out the kinks to find what works best.
As a team of two we found there were puzzles in the game that really only one or two people max could participate in, so as a larger team you may find that there is a little waiting around while these puzzles are being completed.
The puzzles that we encountered generally fitted into the following areas: communication (very heavy on that), pattern recognition, searching (hard in low light), lateral thinking, and observation. As I said, we struggled with many of the puzzles and couldn’t really get into our flow. This could be because it was dark and we find dark games much harder/more frustrating, or to us, it felt like there were some leaps as to how we knew we supposed to do certain things. There was one puzzle in particular that wasted a lot of time for us, and despite getting the same result multiple times, it was only after we spoke to the GM did we suddenly get a different result, so I’m not sure if he changed something because it was faulty, or it was just a coincidence.
We certainly kept Filip busy and he did a decent job of providing clues, although at times we found it a struggle to hear what he was saying. We had walkie-talkies that could be used to receive clues and if we needed help we generally just had to ask for it.
There was no timer in the room so it was anyone’s guess as to how long we were in the room for, but I’m 99% sure that we went over time – although they still kindly let us finish the game.
Mission Breakout run a slick operation to get through as any teams as possible. This means that when you complete a section of the game it is sealed off from you and reset ready for another team. The issue with this is that the GM is then distracted and if this happens at a time where you need help, you may have a little wait – as we found.
Underground 2099 has some cool moments and a good sense of adventure, but I’d like a little more signposting and definitely more light to make this a truly fun experience.
I can’t quite put my finger on how I feel about the games at Mission Breakout. They have a lot of promise, and the venue is cool, but the puzzles always just leave us feeling a little deflated and frustrated – but that could just be that we’re wired differently.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 65 mins (we think)
Address: 141-145 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8PB
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.