The end of the trilogy?
This is it, the grand finale. Confront Bozo on his Moon base, and foil his evil plans once and for all. The fate of the Earth is in your hands.
The Agent Venture games by The Adventure is REAL are so different to everything else out there that really they deserve their own genre. B.A.D. Side of the Moon is the third instalment in the chapter and continues the story from the first two; The Heist, and Cyborg Island. Technically you don’t have to have played the other two to enjoy this one, but you’ll get so much more from the experience if you can play them in order so I’d definitely recommend doing that.
If you’re considering doing any of the Agent Venture games then the first thing you should be aware of is that these are audio-led rooms. When we say audio-led that means that there are no visuals or room like you would normally expect to see. Instead what you get is a very talented host who helps build a picture of the world you are in, thanks to some impressive accents and storytelling.
Like the other games in the series, you really need to have a team of four players, although you can add a fifth player. Every person in your team has a role to play and each role requires a very different set of skills – make sure you read the pre-game information so you can make sure everyone has a role that suits their strengths.
We assembled our team, which consisted of James and Charlie from Deadlocked, Liz, and me. Three actors and me. This is certainly one of those games where you get out what you put in, and the actors of the group certainly put in a lot (I’m just boring).
We’ve played as this team before so we knew where our strengths were so we played in the same roles as before;
- Communicator: Charlie
- Researcher: James
- Hacker: Liz
- Navigator: Gord
- Coordinator: Vacant
I’ll be the first to admit that normally I am not a fan of games like this where you have to use your imagination and really get into character, but strangely I loved it. The whole experience is like a wild ride that lasts the full hour (or less if you’re on form), and this is a ride we didn’t want to end.
Using Google Sheets and webpages, coupled with story telling sounds like a basic experience, but it isn’t. The way that each character directly affects outcomes is truly impressive, changing things in real time that affects the rest of your team.
In previous games it could feel like one role had more to do than others and there was more waiting around, that was not the case for this episode. The game clearly laid out which areas were heavy for which role so you could choose who you wanted to be front and centre (like choosing a team member for a physical/mental challenge on the Crystal Maze). However, just because the area was heavily skewed to one person, everyone was involved and everyone needed to input.
Succeed or fail on this game, you get an outcome. Obviously you want that outcome to be a success of your mission, but even if you fail the story concludes. None of that ‘sorry you failed’ malarkey here!
The puzzles in Episode 3 felt harder than what we had previously encountered in the other episodes, but they also felt more enjoyable and more involved.
You basically get to choose the puzzles you solve so you won’t play everything in the game, think of it like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. You choose your path but you could have gone many other routes to get to the same point.
As you only play one role you really only get to see one set of puzzles so it’s hard for me to comment on what everyone else saw, but here are some sound bites from each role:
The description of the Hacker’s job always mentions that it’s a job well suited to people that like Sudoku, and they aren’t lying. In previous episodes, the puzzles were very much logic based, and either sudoku or similar in nature. Episode 3 is no different, although they’ve cranked up the difficulty by including some minor maths into the logic puzzle. Not to mention, there’s still the communication aspect of letting the team know exactly what can be hacked. But be prepared for something a bit out of the “norm” if you’ve played as the Hacker previously, as at least one Hacker-centric module will take you out of Google Sheets, and into the Internet (sort of).
Our communicator was Charlie, but she is off being an international film star right now, so this is what I think she would have said:
My role was all about duping the agents of B.A.D. Corp into giving me the information or performing actions that was needed for our mission, I could then pass this on to my team. Accessing my database of information I was able to find key pieces of data that I could use to make my story that little more convincing to them.
Most of my experience as a Researcher was spent finding out information for other people to use, or passing information between others but translating it into different formats. Someone may have a code word and someone else needed a number, and I had the code word = number info. There were a couple of moments where I felt I had exhausted my information while I waited for others to complete their task, but it was minimal and acted a little like a breather. I had one task where I had to select something in the right combinations, using information given to me by others in the team, which then reacted as I chose the amounts. The interface for it seemed responsive and well designed, despite it being just on Google Sheets – like a well designed tech puzzle in a live escape game.
This role felt very tactile and involved as you may expect, a lot of puzzles to do with direction giving. But there was more to it than that and the puzzles had a surprising amount of depth to them. Observation is key, as is giving clear and concise instructions to your team (and Agent Venture).
We didn’t have a coordinator but if we did they would have had access to everything that everyone else had and they could dive in and assist where needed.
Our host, Jason was the same host as we had for our previous games with Agent Venture. I can’t tell you if there are better hosts, but Jason was exceptional. He remained in character from start to end, pulled off many different accents, and really immersed us in the world he was creating.
If at times we got a little stuck (and we did), he would offer useful little bits of insight to get us going again. Again, never breaking character. All games should have a Jason.
The first games were great, this game was even greater. It was harder, more intense, slicker, and just generally a top quality game.
If you’re a completionist, this could also be a game that you could replay if you wanted, the first puzzle or two are linear but as soon as you get away from that you can just choose the puzzles you didn’t choose before.
- Number of players: 4-5
- Price: £10 – £14 per person
- Devices: Laptop, PC, tablet (best on laptop/PC, with split-screen)
- Platform: Zoom + Google Sheets
- Time Zone: GMT/BST (London, UK Time)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 60:00 (we failed, didn’t like the Earth anyway…)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.