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REVIEW: Episode Two: Alpha Brain System FROM clueQuest (Print + Cut + Escape)


OFFICIAL INFO FROM COMPANY...

🕹️ Episode Two: Alpha Brain System

🌐 clueQuestclueQuest "Print + Cut + Escape"

🗺️ Based In United Kingdom

⏲️ 120+ Minutes ▪ 💪 4.5/5 ▪ 🔢 N/A




THE PREMISE

📚 Your mission in Alpha Brain System is to help Mr Q infiltrate the CUBE - a mysterious facility owned by the world's greatest villain, Professor Blacksheep. Once reunited, you must all work together to find out exactly what the Professor is planning - and put a stop to it!




THE GUIDE

THIS IS CLASSIFIED AS...

▪ Play At Home » Print & Play Puzzle Game


YOU'LL ENJOY THIS, IF YOU...

▪ ...Appreciate professionally drawn and produced, uniquely designed graphics and videos exclusive to a game series.

▪ ...Enjoy entertainment deriving from a decent spy story that does not overshadow the real stars--quality puzzles.

▪ ...Want to give paper crafting-based, 3-dimensional puzzle clues a go. These are quite innovative and rare to find!

▪ ...Are a veteran escape game player and need something moderately challenging that easily passes 1 to 2 hours time.

▪ ...Fancy these (similar) titles: A mix between The Panic Room game format with CU Adventures print & play elements.


GREAT! ANY ADVICE OR TIPS?

💪 On company's site, difficulty is officially listed as a 4.5/5.

🧐 However, based on my team of 1, it felt subjectively like a 6 to 7/10, especially true for the harder puzzles in the end.

🔢 With the reasoning above, I would recommend a team of 1 to 2. More eyes to see details, more brains to think.


MY BODY IS READY! NOW WHAT?

🛒 TO BUY, CLICK HERE!

▪ For this: Print & play media requires PDF Reader to load the file, printer and paper to print, and scissors to cut.

▪ Alternatively, the company can have everything printed and mailed to you for an optional premium surcharge.




THE REVIEW

Three dimensional action starts right off the bat... or golf club! ▪ clueQuest



INTRODUCTION


▪ "Alpha Brain System" is the second installment in a 3-chapter series about Agent Crimson's fight against Professor BlackSheep's evil plan to take over and revamp humanity. The game format is branded as "Print + Cut + Escape" by UK escape room company publisher clueQuest. This at-home print-and-play adventure takes place between print media (that you print out, cut, fold, and what-have-you) and on-the-web puzzles and video narratives.


▪ Alpha follows a linear format where you first get a cut scene vid (usually lasting a few minutes) and a corresponding puzzle online. Players then proceed to fiddle with various paper-based games or crafts to produce clues and props that help solve puzzles. Once solution is obtained and entered on the web, and the correct answer will unlock the next act. Since Chapter 2 is much more plot-driven, it can be considered an interactive story with brainteaser elements. More visually and mentally engaging, this follow-up will easily have you more invested in our heroes' battle for mankind.


▪ Last we checked in Episode 1: Stolen IQ, to be honest, nothing much really happened besides loads of preparatory expositions. Characters are introduced, relationships are explained, motivations are clarified, and it sets the stage for real actions to begin. In Alpha, things finally pick up speed, and lots of exciting events unfold. Crimson is rescued by her murine partner Mr. Q, and they're about to discover the Alpha Brain System controlling the minds of many scientists. Compared to the previous relatively slow and quiet pace, this welcoming improvement really elevates the sequel to another level.


All eyes on Sir Bugsy, a face that only a mother could love ▪ clueQuest



ARTFUL PRODUCTION, UGLY BUGSY


▪ One thing that I thought did not reach full potential in the original was the theatrical aspect of the plot. The storytelling mostly depended on texts and pictures to elaborate. While it worked just fine, when the final chapter (from chapter 1) came, an almost noir style, monochromatic motion picture played, and I was immediately thinking, "Why can't we have more of this? This is kinda awesome!" Well, it's almost like the company heard my thoughts telepathically, because there're plenty of videos to watch in this episode, and I couldn't be more pleased.


▪ Not only are the video clips a great way to advance the narrative, it's also highly entertaining. In particular, the fight scene featuring head baddy Sir Bugsy makes quite the lasting impression. The filming must've take a while: because many of Bugsy's body parts are depicted in sketch-like aesthetics, the actor must've donned and doffed multiple custom costume pieces to complete the entire shoot. In addition, Mr Q needs to be added in post-production for every clip he appears in. The time and effort gone into producing these live action-animation hybrids merit recognition and praises.


▪ Insertions of humor and in-jokes also give the narrative a touch of personality. A running gag made crystal clear in the first chapter, Sir Bugsy is the poster child of ugliness and ridiculous composites. Chapter two now doubles down and makes sure to reemphasize this character design, which in turn makes his actual on-screen debut all the more surprising and comical. To actually bring someone so ludicrous, so cartoonish, so hideous alive in live action--I smirked. Various puns, found in spy gadget names (G.O.L.F.B.A.L.L.) and puzzle solutions also bring delights to my nerdy heart. Puns are my jam!


▪ And the illustrations continue to be top-notched and unique to the clueQuest brand! I've seen a couple of behind-the-scene snippets from the art team, and there really is no shortage of talents and amazing artworks from this department.


I'm positively obsessed with these 3D puzzle crafts! ▪ clueQuest



PAPER BASED, BUT HARDLY FLAT


▪ The one new concept not present prior, but really sold me this time, is the broad scope of activities customers get to do with papers. Previously, there was cutting, putting jigsaw pieces together, and the more memorable interweaving. In Alpha, this evolves to building some simple yet considerably elegant paper-based model kits, from 2D to 3D! City landmarks, experimental contraption, and air vent are among some mini (and let's face it, sort of adorable) structures you'll create on your desk. Not terribly difficult to execute, though a bit time consuming, the end results gave me a weirdly proud sense of accomplishment. I really enjoyed the crafting process--and I usually hate crafts.


▪ As for the actual puzzles, they are consistent to what I've already seen in Stolen IQ. There is no major breakthrough; puzzles follow a general trend of looking at the certain specific area, copying down some letters or codes, and ultimately they form a phrase which is the answer. If there is any limitation to the "Print + Cut + Escape" games, this would be it, that it'll always be a transformative process that ends with a similar result. The journey to each solution, however, stays varied and involves combining deduction, observation, and details discernment. Overall, a good mix that is far from boring.


▪ The puzzles start off quite easy and obvious, and difficult steadily climbs, to the point I actually had significant trouble solving the final puzzles without consulting the hints. The penultimate puzzle involves keen inspection and requires the player to pick up on multiple elements hidden in fast-shifting images in a video. Not exactly "blink it or you'll miss it" level of hard, though it comes close, this offers some solid challenges to even seasoned adult puzzle fanatics. The finale meta puzzle is similarly satisfying--in that I am amazed at how many hidden details I've just casually passed by and missed!


OVERALL: 😃 [RECOMMENDED RANK!]


▪ "Alpha Brian System" is miles away ahead of "Stolen IQ", not because Episode 1 is bad, but because Episode 2 is just that good! This sequel has elevated every single aspect of the game by drastic measures. We have some good actions going and an ominous cliffhanger in the story, we have great visuals thanks to the amazingly produced videos, and we have some rarely found 3D puzzles that literally make things pop (and also bring nostalgia to my model-building childhood days). I'm only two-thirds way through, but I have darn good feeling about the final chapter to this intriguing trilogy!


Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER

Instagram @EscapeMattster Facebook.com/EscapeMattster










Full disclosure: complimentary game access was generously provided for review or testing purposes. All media are sourced from and credited to rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. In certain cases, media materials are made available under fair use doctrine of copyright law. CQAlpha.

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I am Matt, aka Escape Mattster (Matt + Master... It's a pun!). I am a Southern California-based escape rooms and puzzle games enthusiast from United States, chronicling my puzzling and brainteasing journey one passionate blog entry at a time!

 

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