The devious Ruby Hymen has betrayed the Drag Task Force and has stolen all of their powers. The leader of the DTF, Flo Mingo, has selected you and your team to help the DTF infiltrate Ruby’s secret lair. You must find a way to stop Ruby and help the members of the DTF get their powers back!
The last time we virtually visited Mystery Mansion in Regina, Canada, we talked at great lengths with Mitch about the plans for the company’s future – once we finished our babysitting job in Seen, of course. That sneak preview of what was to come piqued our interest, and we’ve been waiting for the chance to give the new online experiences a go. Which finally presented itself the first week of Lockdown 2.0 in England; just what we needed to raise our spirits.
Of course, we can never seem to just play one escape game, and after helping rid Alex of his nightmares in Night Terrors and a short break it was time for DTF. Get your mind out of the gutter – DTF does not mean what you think it means (although I have no doubt that the innuendo is intentional). In reality, DTF is the acronym for Drag Task Force (and the Fabulous Flo Mingo). The game is a cooperative affair between Mystery Mansion and the local drag community in and around Regina. In fact, not only did the dazzling queens lend their expertise but also their dresses. Every queen featured in DTF is actually local to the area, and the ladies have put their stamp of approval on everything as well.
Drag Task Force begins with a video briefing (in your confirmation email), and so, fully briefed on Ruby Hymen’s evil plans, it was time to hack into our FloBot, and save the world.
DTF was built from the ground up with the online experience in mind when it became apparent that live-streamed escape games not only work, but work well, and are here to stay. Designing a game specifically for online play opens up a world of possibilities for the types of things that can be done and Mystery Mansion have taken full advantage of the format to bring a bit of magic into the entire experience. Drag Task Force also makes use of Telescape to provide an interactive inventory to keep track of puzzles, locks and take a closer look at things, as well as provide a 360 degree view of the room to help the team better direct the FloBot. Of course, in order to take advantage of those things, first you must learn how to operate your FloBot and come out of the closet. (There’s definitely a metaphor in that imagery).
There’s no getting around it – once you’re out of the closet, DTF is an assault on the senses, with dresses, shoes, disco lighting, and sequins galore. Perhaps the first puzzle is actually figuring out where to begin, and the volume of content is precisely the reason why Mystery Mansion recommends teams of 3+. But once the initial exploration concluded, a starting point presented itself and we were off. DTF was relatively linear in structure, but thanks to the interactive nature of Telescape, we were still presented with opportunities to claw back some of the more open structure that is often missing in online games as we could divide and conquer with one or two people working on one task, while others could explore with FloBot. But in all honesty, Telescape wasn’t really necessary, and at times I felt it actually made it harder to get into the flow of things, although it was handy for a few tasks. But once we did get into the flow, it was clear that there was a much stronger narrative driving the game forward than I had guessed. Each task built on the last, and finally culminated in saving the world. But I must admit, I was actually rather sad when the game was over.
In reality, the puzzles were not the star of the show. That honour was reserved exclusively for our FloBot, and made DTF feel a bit more like an interactive show with puzzles, rather than an escape game. The puzzles contributed to that feeling in part by being incredibly thematic, and laced with the same sort of humour that permeated the entire experience, with each task serving to drive forward the narrative.
There is a fair amount of exploration, and a bit of searching needed. It’s not a particularly search-heavy room, but it will require a good look around to determine what’s relevant, and what’s set dressing. Your powers of observation will be particularly helpful, as will a sense of humour. And of course, the usual escape room standbys of logic, deductive reasoning, pattern recognition, not to mention a bit of thinking outside the box.
I don’t really want to give too much away, because this is definitely a game to play. The online format ensured the game was full of delightful surprises that kept us guessing, and yet remained perfectly plausible in the story. These surprises wouldn’t have been possible in a live room, and allowed the game to venture away from puzzles that only resulted in codes for padlocks (although there were a few of those too).
As we’ve found with every online avatar style escape game we’ve played, the thing that makes the experience truly special is the avatar. An otherwise mediocre game can be made excellent by a wonderful host, but a wonderful game can be rendered only average by a robotic avatar. In the case of DTF, the robotic nature of our FloBot (the lovely Mitch in disguise) was entirely intentional and completely charming, making DTF not just wonderful, but truly excellent.
Getting to know our FloBot took a little bit of getting used to and gave DTF what felt like a bit of a slow start. But once we knew how to interact with her, we were off and running. Of course, being a robot, FloBot is not particularly good at thinking for herself but executes directions to perfection. But where DTF really excelled was with the interaction between FloBot and the team, and the entire game was filled with jokes, innuendo, and general hijinks. Like any interactive experience, you do really get out of it what you put in.
And while I said the puzzles weren’t especially difficult earlier, we did complete the game in roughly 65 minutes, and only thanks to the assistance of FloBot at some points; thank goodness FloBot was able to hack the timer to give us a little wiggle room in saving the world! (I gather the game is actually now officially a 75-minute experience because FloBot had to hack the clock for many people.)
DTF is delightful, campy fun, made even better by the interaction with FloBot. Filled with laughs aplenty, satisfying puzzles, and all the glitz and glamour I expect from a drag show. Not to mention, a portion of the proceeds from every ticket will be donated to Lulu’s Lodge in Regina, so you get to help others simply by having fun.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 3-6 players recommended
- Price: CAD$25.00 per person (+ tax)
- Devices: Desktop or Laptop suggested. Also compatible with handheld devices
- Platform: Zoom/Telescape
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: Regina, Canada (CST)
|Value for Money|
Team: 3 players
Time Taken: 65 minutes
A portion of each ticket will be donated to the Regina non-profit organization, Lulu’s Lodge.
*All content of this room has been reviewed and approved by the Drag Community and is not intended to offend any parties*
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.