The Rolls-Royce of Escape Room Boxes
Cynthia Binks and her team are MIA. Escapement Network Agents will initiate Protocol 7 in the event that they have been compromised, if this is not the case, then we can assume those agents have been lost in the field.
The Alert was raised following intelligence that would suggest the Network has been infiltrated and information is being leaked to an unknown source.
From the computer records we believe a small group of low level network agents could be responsible. We need you to find out who they are, why they are leaking information and who got to them!
The Escapement has a reputation for having some of the best physical escape rooms in the UK so we signed up to buy The Network as soon as it was announced. It seems like all escape room companies are offering online experiences right now (for obvious reasons) so it was interesting to see The Escapement going a slightly different route and doing a play-at-home box game, although the Internet is still needed to complete it.
I think we ordered this back in March and then completely forgot about it until we saw a post online where The Escapement showed all the boxes packaged and ready to post. A few days later ours arrived and Liz came running into the room full of excitement about what she saw when she opened the outer packaging.
As soon as you take the box out of its packing materials it is clear to see that this isn’t your average game and that a lot of time has gone into making sure it stands out from the rest.
I could spend ages talking about the quality of the materials that this game is made from, but although that makes it feel like a top-quality experience, if the puzzles were poor then even using gold leaf wouldn’t save it.
It’s clear to see that the attention to detail that The Escapement put into their physical rooms has also been applied to The Network. Everything about The Network has been meticulously designed to suck you into its world and everything you need to complete the game is within the box, although a computer with an Internet connection is also needed (ok, so that technically isn’t contained in the box).
This whole experience is just refined, there really isn’t a better word for it than that. The physical aspects, the online elements, and the acting, everything had been worked on to make sure it all fitted together seamlessly without anything standing out as being rushed.
The Escapement doesn’t just do puzzles for puzzles-sake; if they don’t fit in the story then they don’t go in, it’s as simple as that. All the puzzles in this game fit with the story and there is a good mix of puzzle styles.
An online escape room favourite, ‘google street view’ plays a part in this experience but at no point does it feel out of place and it forms part of a much larger puzzle. In fact, this works hand-in-hand with other parts of the game and you use it in a way you may expect to if you were a real-life investigator.
The premise of this game is to identify a leak in The Network so it’s no surprise that all the puzzles involve untangling a web of clues and puzzles that lead you to that goal. Not everything is as straightforward as it may first seem, so expect a few twists along the way.
This game is played out over the internet using a webpage that is disguised as a terminal where you input your solutions to progress and watch videos which helps build the narrative. The clue system is cleverly integrated in a way that keeps the immersion intact and makes you feel like you’re a bit of a coding genius (you don’t need to know how to code).
With a well thought out story, great puzzles, and beautifully curated parts, The Network gets you as close to immersion as possible for a play at home game.
Technically the game is designed to be used once, but if you are careful you could probably re-gift it to allow someone else to enjoy it. We found ourselves being very delicate with it simply because it was so beautiful that we didn’t want to damage it.
There’s no denying that at £39.99 this isn’t the cheapest game out there, but this isn’t your typical game. The story, puzzles, and quality make this a more refined experience than your average game.
- Computer with an internet connection
- Pen and paper may help
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 45mins