Don’t forget your glasses
Welcome Team to Mission Force, we have a high profile case where the suspect is a Code Black target. Your team is to track this target down A.S.A.P.
The Locked Room are one of the many ‘real’ escape room companies who, when hit by the forced closures of the coronavirus pandemic, turned their hands to online games. We played their first game, The Heist, a number of months ago, and now it was time to play their recently released second game, Operation Code Black.
While their first game used Google Docs, it was nice to see that Operation Code Black was built on the Telescape platform. If you’re not familiar with Telescape, it’s a platform that has grown in popularity since the pandemic started. Some companies use it to run their inventory, while others have used it (just like The Locked Room) to run a complete game through.
When you first join the Telescape you are ‘welcomed’ by a detailed guide that explains everything you will see in your Telescape window and how to navigate the game. There are instructions for both mobile and desktop devices as it works on both, but they recommend using desktop for the best experience.
In the top corner you can see your timer for your game so you know how long you have taken, a nice touch as it both adds pressure but also keeps you updated on your progress (we normally set a timer anyway).
Telescape is great as it allows a good level in interactivity with the puzzles (depending on how it’s been created). For the most part we were contained to the browser although for one puzzle we needed to open up a new tab and use the internet to continue playing. Other puzzles enabled us to interact with the puzzles by dragging-and-dropping items in the window.
We found the interface a little cumbersome at times as items would be added to the inventory but not removed, so when we needed to find something we had to trawl through everything in there to find what we needed. If items were removed, or we were able to remove them ourselves, after we used them it would have made for a much more streamlined experience.
There really was a mixed bag of puzzles in this game, and a lot of online game staples. One puzzle style that appeared quite regularly in this game is one that I’m really not a fan of: riddles. For me, riddles aren’t really puzzles as you’ll either know it or you won’t and if you don’t know it, the only way to progress is with a hint.
Other than the riddles, there were logic puzzles (a few of them), a maze which felt far too small and detailed for an online game (we progressed past this puzzle by brute-forcing it), a hunt using Google Maps (which we got wrong three times yet still found something that could have been the answer we were looking for), and some very sneaky/tricky observation puzzles.
Saying that, there was one puzzle that I did quite enjoy. It could probably be classed as an observation puzzle but the first section of the puzzle was working out what you needed, then you had to piece it together. It was simple, but it was clever.
The final puzzle is a do-or-die situation where you only get so many attempts to capture Dr Braun. We took our time on this one and managed to get him first time, but it would be very easy to not understand exactly what you’re looking for.
Some puzzles had an option for hints, others did not, and we found the clues that were given were very limited. We were close to quitting on the Google Maps puzzle as it went on far too long and we kept taking wrong turns, only to find what we were looking for – well the same thing that we were looking for, but the wrong one. When we turned to the hints to remove our frustration we were told what we already knew and there was no way to get the answer just so we could move on.
This game is a step-up on their previous game but we found ourselves being more frustrated rather than enjoying it. With a bit of tweaking to the interface, a few enhancements to the puzzles, and a better and more graduated clue system, then this could be a decent game thanks to the sheer amount of content it contains.
- Device with an Internet connection
- Note taking tools
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 35 minutes (correct culprit caught)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.