◣ GAME FACTS
🎮 Game: Sector X - The B.R.U.C.E. Project: Part 1 & 2
💪 Difficulty: N/A
⏲️ Time: 60-90 Minutes (For Each Part)
🧑 Capacity: Up to 6 Connections
🏢 Company: Bewilder Box Escape Rooms Brighton
🏘️ Location: Brighton, United Kingdom
📝 In Association With Eltham Escape Rooms
◣ FORMAT SPECS
🕹️ Format: Online Puzzle Game
💻 Platform: Web Browser, (Conference App)
🔊 Media Used: Text, Images, Videos, Animations
◣ "TL;DR!" BRIEFS
📝 Game features synchronized interface for true, real time, co-op session. This is a unique selling point since I haven't seen any other competitor actually being able to do this.
📝 The plot follows our attempt of reviving a now melted, gooey scientist. Bewildering, indeed! This backstory is chuckle inducing, though it made little impact to actual game play.
📝 There're over 10 sectors worth of great variety puzzling fun. Some challenges caught my eyes more than others. Graphics style could benefit from more uniformity across the board.
📝 B.R.U.C.E. the android loves cracking jokes and making puns, putting forth a wholesome charm that keeps things from being bland. Who knew? This is an escape game and a show!
💪 Difficulty rating: With Mattster's team of 1, pretty easy.
🧑 Best team size: 1-3 connections to minimize chaos.
🧑 Best audience: Family friendly, puzzles are well suited for beginners.
◣ THE PREMISE
Renowned scientist Dr Wilder Sr., dies tragically after a routine dimension hopping adventure goes hideously awry. He's reduced to nothing more than a brain in a tank of fluid. His son, Wilder Jr., aka Benji, is determined to resurrect his father's genius and so begins the B.R.U.C.E. project. The plan? To create a robot that can be controlled by a human mind. Work is completed on the prototype... Now the final phase of testing begins. The droid is passed to Dr Dirk Banana so that it can be deposited in his experimental holographic testing chamber. Will these magnificent minds work as a cohesive unit or will all of Benji's work have been in vain… It's time to find out as you enter 'Sector X'.
• • • • •
◣ THE REVIEW
"Sector X - The B.R.U.C.E. Project" is technically served as a two part experience, though now that both are published and available for sale, let us dive into Sector Zero and traverse all the way to Sector X.
A TRUE CO-OP EXPERIENCE
The biggest selling point of "B.R.U.C.E." is the probably the synchronized game interface, accessible by six connections simultaneously. (For you IT geniuses out there, it resembles a collective remote desktop access... I think. For I am not one.)
A minor drawback does occur when two participants want to examine different areas of the game at the same time. For instance, if one opens a puzzle, this will effectively force everyone else, ready or otherwise, to look at the same materials instantly.
This is easily remedied through the use of an online conference app, such as Zoom. As long as communication is maintained among players, "B.R.U.C.E." is the only online puzzle game I've seen so far to truly allow teamwork to visibly solve challenges together in real time. Bravo!
A VERY KOOKY SCIENCE PROJECT
The game intro consisted of a narrated summary of what's happened so far for those not so familiar with Bewilder Box's sci-fi saga. Though I tried my best to catch up, the text was scrolling a bit quick, and there was an earful to listen! Oh boy! This was a puzzle in itself.
What I managed to gather: An accident turned a scientist into a puddle of gooey plasma! His son hopes to revive said goo as an android; and now, some banana doctor and we shall run some final tests to ensure this experimental procedure will be safe and successful...
That can't be right. That sounds outrageous!
...Except, it was!
It wasn't until I heard the same story again in Part 2 that I confirmed, my gosh, the story was indeed that zany! Fans of the company should be delighted to find "B.R.U.C.E." is basically a sequel to Bewilder Box's in-person escape game. So here's to more crazy science antics!
SECTOR-FUL OF FUN OBSTACLES
This game is composed of two halves: Part 1 (Sector 0 to 5), and Part 2 (Sector 6 to 10). I've managed to finish both chapters all in one go, though you can always decide otherwise.
The visuals--it wasn't the best I've seen, and it wasn't the worst, either. While there was a deliberate attempt to portray everything as wacky and cartoonish, the art style of individual pieces was not consistent enough. Some scenes hit the mark, while others fell flat.
The puzzles, on the other hand, I surely enjoyed.
Sector 0, basically the tutorial on how to navigate the game, was cleverly written. Knowing most gamers wouldn't bother reading the instructions manual, the game designers unapologetically threw the first puzzle inside the manual. The tedious task now became mandatory AND magnitudes more interesting.
The puzzles that followed included cipher decoding, logic deduction, and other children friendly brainteasers. While I've seen variations of most of these prior, there was enough variety to maintain both my attention and interest.
After powering through the first few sectors, it became obvious there was a formula to solving each level: Solve puzzles, log in to PC, solve more, and exit via keypad. I felt ambivalent: On one hand, the standardized input was easy to master. On the other, this quickly became repetitive and even a bit lackluster.
Again, the individual puzzles themselves packed enough excitements to help overcome said weaknesses. The more interactive challenges--those that involved dragging elements across the screen, or required clicking through options (colors, for example), or included an audio listening component--they were quite entertaining and stood out from the rest.
EMBRACE THE DAD JOKES
Solving puzzles was satisfying, but the true reward came in the forms of robotic Dad jokes. Perhaps to adequately prepare the android named B.R.U.C.E. as the new home of a paternal soul, the programmers uploaded a series of "so bad it's good" pun based banter, to be delivered after each successful stage clearing.
Every bit as corny as they came, I appreciated the amount of bionic inspired word plays the writers managed to cram in. B.R.U.C.E.'s little stand-up moment at every sector made me a fan. I progressively went from going meh at the very first joke, to eventually looking forward to hearing new funny/punny remarks on final levels. Yasss, B.R.U.C.E.!
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
If players choose to enjoy the two installments separately, they get to take a breather and let their exhausted brains reset, if necessary, between Sector 5 and Sector 6. I as an expert player opted to complete both in one sitting, reaching the conclusion after about 80 minutes.
To me, if time and skills permit, it most definitely feels more organic to sustain game play without interruption. Ultimately, it's up to your personal preference and mental endurance. Try out Part 1 for taste, and come back for more if one should desire.
B.R.U.C.E. will be waiting with his punchlines.
• • • • •
◣ PARTING TIPS
★ First to do: check exit keypad, and find out how many digits you'll need.
★ In-game screenshots are allowed; use them in Paint to your advantage.
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⤻ Though game access was complimentary, this article was written basing on unbiased and genuine opinions.
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