B.R.U.C.E. Saves Christmas • Bewilder Box & Eltham Escape Rooms • Point & Click Escape Room Review
Game Website | Company Website | Company Website | Based In: United Kingdom
💪 Difficulty: Not specified.
⏲️ Time duration: Approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
🔢 Capacity: 2 to 6 players per team.
💬 Hints: Hints available by hitting that big light bulb button! ALL team members must agree to use hints, however.
🛒 If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): 4 to 5/10 (team of 1). Really should be playing with team of 2, at least, however...
🔢 Ideal team size: 2 min is a must for co-op objectives. 4 max seems ideal, or everything may be solved too quickly.
A Christmas themed multiplayer online escape room adventure! (From Trailer: Are you ready to save Christmas? Assemble your team of up to 6 pals. Solve and sleuth your way through Lapland. Someone's gone and kidnapped the big man--that's right, none other than Santa Claus himself! If we don't get him back, Christmas is in the bin. Save Christmas! Find out who kidnapped Santa! Everyone is depending on you and B.R.U.C.E. And yes, Christmas jumpers mandatory.)
"B.R.U.C.E. Saves Christmas" is the third online title from a collaboration between Bewilder Box & Eltham Escape Rooms, with the others being the "B.R.U.C.E. Project" series. While the other two were respectable play-at-home game options, this new self-proclaimed "very festive" entry really, really impressed me--it's definitely my favorite of the three.
The narrative and objective of this holiday special installment is not as out there or sci-fi as its predecessors. In fact, it follows the tradition of Christmas being potentially ruined, and we gotta save it! The trouble this time? Someone on the naughty list has abducted the jolly old fellow, and has hidden him somewhere in Lapland. Our job is to explore the crime scenes, follow the leads, eliminates suspects and of course, recover the St. Nick himself.
Getting the game started, however, presented a little problem for me. Unlike the previous two titles, I had a hard time actually loading this particular online game in my internet browser. Thankfully, after multiple attempts, the game start screen finally graced my monitor! Unfortunately, while the game loaded, all the associated video clips did not.
(Side note: I did get to review all the missing video contents post-game through the developer's help, and I enjoyed watching them overall. They were not essential since I was able to figure out the plot relatively easily through the trailer, though they would've added a little something extra. The acting and production were also quite decent.)
The game began in a wooden cabin, possibly Santa's abode, with a locked desk drawer, a locked treasure chest, and other furniture and decorations that begged to be fiddled with. (That Rudolph painting looked way too thick and protruded way off the wall. Fishy!) Although only presented by graphics, this really did give off the vibe of a real, in-person escape room, which was something the "B.R.U.C.E. Project" series did not quite accomplish with its previous interface.
Speaking of graphics, this game looked GOOOOOD. (Yes, capitalized, with five Os level of good.) I don't think this is a product of simple mash-ups of available stock arts, and most likely a custom creation. Art style leaned towards cutesy cartoonish, which is fitting for the target demo. Colorful, nicely shaded to give illusions of depth, good quality stuff.
Puzzles were not difficult in the first cabin room. There was the classic "find a 4-number combo through patterns" puzzle. There was a slightly more confusing "follow instructions on a map" brainteaser. And then there was a big red button that didn't seem to do anything. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. No progress and I was stuck.
One quick clue later revealed "B.R.U.C.E. Saves Christmas" is a true cooperative game. The button bit required two users to proceed. When gaming in a team of 2 to 6, every action from every user is 100% synced across devices, a feature I find very appealing and useful for remote holiday gatherings, which is certainly very common amidst a raging pandemic. Solo play is therefore not technically possible or recommended. (I think the lesson here is, Bewilder Box is telling me to make some friends. In the mean time, I made an instant imaginary friend with a second browser. Crisis diverted.)
There were also tiny tokens just randomly lying around for me to collect. Turns out those were the world's smallest mince pies, bonus items to collect as a side quest. They served absolutely no real purpose at all, but I often relish these surprise supplemental challenges designed purely for fun and bragging rights. Hence, good job, game designers!
The cabin scenario concluded with pieces of evidence left behind by the kidnapper, and they in turn helped me, through logic of deduction, to eliminate unlikely suspects from a long list of 14, aka "The Naughty List". I must do so correctly before being permitted to leave the premise, so that's basically the key to each exit. Essentially a mini game of "Guess Who", it was an interesting and delightful way to advance game play. (I loved this as a kid, I recall fondly!)
This overall process would repeat a couple more times through the next two scenes, with more puzzles to solve, more mince pies to collect, and more suspects to cross off the list. I was truly impressed at the various types of challenges included, with all of them being different from one another. Among them, there was jigsaw puzzle, logic puzzle, cipher, and more combo code breaking. My personal favorites are musical recital and one certain arcade machine showdown!
Game control did become rather frustrating at certain instances: when I needed to rotate hands on a clock or a certain delicacy on a plate, my mouse cursor just wouldn't respond properly, causing problem for correct solution input.
And finally, this game is named after B.R.U.C.E. the android, so how come there is no mentioning of him thus far? Well, truth be told, that's because he really doesn't serve a significant role in this game! Like... at all. He simply and solely stands somewhere in the foreground, available to crack a bad Dad/great pun joke (depends on what camp you're in) should you choose to click on him. I requested his service liberally for old time's sake, but let's face it, 'twas I that saved Christmas.
Overall, this was a very entertaining Christmas game even for an adult audience of one, and I imagine this would be quite the happiness and laughter-inducing attraction for the entire family at any holiday celebration. So cheers to B.R.U.C.E.!
READY FOR FUN?
"B.R.U.C.E. Saves Christmas" is available for purchase HERE.
If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
ESCAPE MATTSTER 🙂
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Speed code for on-site search: BBChristmas