A great game from the land down-under
The Future Directions Bureau sent their top agent (code name Fox) on a crucial mission in the 21st century to preserve the timeline. However, Agent Fox has now disappeared from the time stream. Enemy action is suspected – it’s up to you to trace his whereabouts and save the future.
We’ve been on a bit of a world tour lately and Temporal Tangle by Next Level Escape which is based in Australia was the next destination on our list. I must admit that I really didn’t know much about it so didn’t know what to expect, I think I had seen one review saying it was decent so we took a plunge and gave it a try.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve never actually played any of the physical games at Next Level Escape however from what we’ve read online this game is actually a digital representation of one of their real life games.
The first thing to note about this game is that despite being able to play it on multiple computers simultaneously, each session is independent so if you solve something make sure you pass on to your teammates about how you did it.
So on separate laptops, but sat next to each other, we walked through the portal and enjoyed the dulcet tones that greeted us as we entered the lobby.
Often when we play an online game we come across a page of text that states what browser we need to use and that’s it. That’s not good enough for Next Level Escape, when you first join this game you essentially enter a lobby which contains a digital tutorial where you can test compatibility and learn how you will interact with the game and the items.
We didn’t encounter any issues at all and everything worked seamlessly from start to end. The story was interesting, the game play was good, and the ending was actually really rather good. There was also a good amount of humour around the game which made interactions with seemingly worthless items much more entertaining than they probably should have been.
This game plays out like a point and click adventure where you use your mouse to interact with your surroundings. Actually, calling it a point and click game feels like it is not doing this game justice, as there is so much more to it and the way you interact with some items takes it a step further than that. Usefully there is also an inventory type of system which collects items that you find as your progress, when you no longer need them, they are automatically removed.
Accessibility has also been factored into this game, so when you find a written document in the game, or an audio recording or video, you will also be able to read a transcript which is written in a clear and easy to read font. System crashes were a consideration in this game too, there is a button always visible in your game window that you can click to ‘soft-refresh’ if things get a bit glitchy. Each ‘room’ you enter has a different ambient background music track for you to enjoy, but if you don’t you can turn off the music.
Quite often we’ll play a game and there will be at least one puzzle we don’t like and will say ‘that was weak’, that puzzle never appeared in this game. I really can’t recall a single puzzle we didn’t enjoy or think was clever. In fact writing this review is taking me longer than normal as I am playing through the game at the same time just to refresh my memory and enjoy it again.
The puzzles you will encounter in this game are heavily weighted to observation puzzles, with some logic, deduction and a little maths thrown in. I really wish I could be more critical of the puzzles, but not one single puzzle stands out to me as being out of place or poorly designed. Later on in the game there was one puzzle that stumped us a little, but once we gave it some time it became clear.
Most of the puzzles gave combinations that were entered in padlocks but there were also some more involved puzzles that had more creative ways to enter solutions. Padlocks in physical rooms are a love/hate type of thing (I love them), so you may not be a fan of them in this game, but they were some of the most user friendly digital padlocks I’ve ever used.
At all times throughout the game there is a ‘?’ visible in the top corner of your screen so if you ever need a hint you can click on that, you won’t be penalised. When you click on it you will choose the stage you are at and then you can navigate through the system to find where you need help. It offers you a few nudges in the right direction and if you’re still not sure where you go you can get the final solution to help keep you moving.
I loved this game, so much so that I played it twice. If you’re looking for a digital game that has subtle humour, a strong story, and great puzzles, then this is the game for you.
The ending of the game was great and really rather lovely. You get to choose how this game ends, make sure you choose wisely.
- Computer with Internet Connection
- Notepad and Pen (for notes)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 70 minutes
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.