🗺️ Based In United Kingdom
⏲️ About 90 Minutes ▪ 💪 N/A ▪ 🔢 4-6 Players Recommended
📚 It is October 31st, the eve of Movember, and ‘T’ is working late instead of hosting his famous annual Halloween party, but this leaves him without his shaver when he needs it the most. Movember starts tomorrow, and the Wexell Corporation competitive mo-growers take it VERY seriously. So seriously in fact, that if he hasn’t shaved by midnight, they will count it as him CHEATING AT MOVEMBER. You’ll have to break into the security at the Wexell Corporation, but only if you can help his colleague, Joey, get into his house and locate his surprisingly well hidden ‘special razor’. Why does he need this specific razor? Why is Joey going along with this mad-capped adventure, and can you help a rapper come up with an on-brand rap before it’s all over? All these questions and more can only be discovered by playing ‘The Movember Virtual Moscape Room’. It’s about to get hairy!
A Close Shave: The Movember Virtual Moscape Room | Deadlocked Escape Rooms & Movember
THE (QUICK) GUIDE
THIS, IN A NUTSHELL, IS...
▪ Classified As: Play At Home » Purely Online Digital Game
▪ An immersive, augmented-reality online game that spans across multiple platforms; also doubles as a fundraiser for Movember, an organization that raises awareness for men's health issues such as depression and testicular cancer. The premise involves finding and delivering a special beloved razor for T, who got stuck working at the Wexell Corp overnight, and he MUST shave before the start of Movember, and with his own razor only! It is a lighthearted adventure filled with laughter and puzzles on the easier side, and can be a versatile and appropriate game night choice for any time.
YOU'LL ENJOY THIS, IF...
▪ If you are a group of beginners looking for a lighthearted, even a tad silly adventure with puzzles that aren't difficult to solve.
▪ If you enjoy reality-augmented puzzle games that use a mix of real-world data and applications mixed with fictional elements.
▪ If you appreciate a narrative-driven title produced by decent talents that cater to humor and puzzles with equal importance.
▪ If you want to support a good cause (Movember for men's health) while purchasing a fun game for not much admission fee.
SOUNDS GREAT, NOW WHAT?
📖 CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW BELOW!
🛒 WHEN YOU'RE READY... TO BUY, CLICK HERE!
💻 A note from the company: Use a desktop/laptop. Chrome, Firefox, or Edge browser recommended. Safari may not work.
💻 Another note: This is an audio-led game, so have the sound ON. (Or turn on subtitles.)
💻 One more note: A Facebook account is required to play, for both communication and for "research".
🧐 Based on everything discussed below in the review, with my team of 1, the difficulty subjectively feels like a 4/10, (which may differ from the company's official rating). It could be easier for London natives. As such, I recommend a team of 1 to 2.
THE (FULL) REVIEW
Help T get a clean shave via a virtual desktop | Deadlocked Escape Rooms & Movember
▪ I received a thank you letter in PDF format, informing me about my booking of a soon-to-begin Moscape Room adventure. Upon logging in though, I saw a computer desktop interface in the style of Windows, complete with Recycle Bin, Network, and Messenger icons. Also sitting in its lonesome is one strange Movember Puzzle Pack, quizzing the user all kinds of mustache knowledge. That's fine and all, but how do I get started? Is this the game?
▪ After an intentional fake-out period, a video conference call arrived and, ah-ha!, T had finally made contact and explained his dilemma, which summed up to be: he'd got to shave (before Movember's start), but he would only do so with his lucky razor from home, and he couldn't go home in time due to working overtime. Such utterly silly yet ingenious premise to tie back to the game's charitable cause, and this was most definitely the first and the only that I'd heard of so far.
▪ Regarding production value, the game split its time between a handful of platforms, including the aforementioned virtual desktop, Facebook website, Facebook Messenger, Google Map, and various other faux in-world websites that I had to visit to extract information from. Of the in-house created materials, I admired the details and pleasant designs of the various webpages. They looked authentic, were visually pleasing, and contained various Easter Eggs sharp-eyed Deadlocked fans would surely appreciate. The virtual desktop related applications, however, while effective and functional, had a retro feel and looked a bit dated. It could've been fully intentional by design, though it was not my preferred type of aesthetics.
▪ What WAS my preferred type of visuals was every single scene when actors were involved. I am fairly certainly all on-screen characters are Deadlocked owners and staff, but everyone's got really decent acting chops. Delivery of dialogs were natural and convincing, and comedic timing was excellent across the board. Humor and lively personality are both big components of this game, and thanks to the cast, I was continually entertained primarily not by the puzzles, but by the charming characters. It's fair to say, at least for my case, they stole the show. Joey absolutely had a way with words; never did I know that you can call someone a seemingly endless roster of fruits (mango?!) as an endearing tease!
▪ The theme is obviously predetermined to be facial hair related due its association with the Movember movement, so there is a little bit of limitation when comes to building the story. The writers did a decent job in creating an "excuse" for all the events to plausibly transpire, and even openly admitted its loophole in a tongue-in-cheek way by having Joey questioned T, "Why can't you just grab a disposable razor from the shop?" Hey, Joey, the man knows his skin type and the importance of self care, mmmkay?
▪ The objective of dropping off a dear shaving tool from T's home to his office involves mobility, and the players, obviously playing safely at home, will require a certain level of immersion and illusion to convince themselves there are indeed actions and tasks happening in real-time. In this aspect, Deadlocked did a great job in pulling out useful tools and tricks from its arsenal:
▪ The virtual desktop, obviously make-believe, made use of familiarity of IP addresses and download progress bars, imitating real world internet interactions quite nicely. Next, by blending in actual web tools such as Google Map, Facebook Messenger, and YouTube (as a guise for "live feed"), the line between fiction and reality are blurred just nicely enough to transform a stationary at-home adventure into a more dynamic and exciting experience.
▪ There was a couple of instances in which I was given choices on what to do next. Should I have Joey display her athletic prowess or have her boogie down? Should she kung fu her way through obstacles, or practice her best pick-up lines? The choose-your-own-adventure aspect added more opportunities for jokes, a layer of personalization, and, again, an illusion of actual real-life interaction, which all converged into an experience that much more delightful.
"Real world" applications like Facebook Message integrated in-game | Deadlocked Escape Rooms & Movember
▪ The difficulty of all the puzzles, from beginning to end, is actually quite consistently easy. I had a rough time with the first puzzle unfortunately due to overthinking. Otherwise, this moscape room is 100% novice friendly.
▪ There are two main categories of puzzles that you would jump back and forth from: First, there are the typical escape room-style challenges that have you figure out a password, input a certain sequence into a machine, and the likes. Those who do escape rooms regularly will mostly have seen similar tropes before. T's apartment is basically a mini point-and-click escape room, a game within a game. Of note, one particular combo puzzle made use of road data from London, so local residents may have an edge there. (I, a US citizen and a horrible locator, just opted to use clues liberally to move things along.)
▪ The other class of puzzles you will encounter are more real-word oriented and application based. These will not require much thinking, and often the clue will be shown to you point-blank, and it's up to the player to notice and implement the information as intended. A common example is to visit a made-for-game website, and perhaps even a little online stalking. Though technically easier than escape room puzzles, these are often more creative and is my preferred choice of the two.
▪ My favorite scene is, hands down, the cyborg-like receptionist interaction. So was he human? Or a robot? Was he really gay (his words), or would he say just about anything to shoo off an uninvited guest? One thing's for sure--he's hella creepy.
▪ As briefly mentioned, there're various Easter eggs littered throughout "A Close Shave" from the Deadlocked Escape Rooms universe, pertaining to the company's previous online titles and their physical rooms both, if I conjecture correctly. Returning patrons and long-time supportive fans should feel extra appreciated for these extra gags only for those who're in-the-know.
▪ For US audience, the game costs $20, and one-third of the money is donated to charity of Movember to help raise awareness for various men's health issues, which is truly awesome, since I do sometimes feel men are neglected when it comes to certain public movements, and mental illnesses and cancers do not discriminate. Men are also often less likely to be vocal in seeking help when needed, in part to maintain a societally expected image of masculinity--and that should change. In essence, you are paying $13 for a quality online game, and donating about $7 to help men in need. That's some values I can get aboard with.
▪ The game music, produced by InvAsian, was sick. I already knew this prior, but this game just confirmed that the man's got flow. Don't miss a post-credit scene where he potentially raps about balls. (Yeah, you read right, and it's 100% wholesome.)
▪ I liked "A Close Shave" for its overall entertainment value, and admired its aspiration to fundraise for charity while making people happy along the way. It truly felt like the makers had a great time producing it, and the target audience will have just as a great time consuming it. Even though I didn't think the puzzles redefined the escape game world, the writers achieved what they have set out to do with much competence, and when presented in a neat, feel-good package as such, packed with so much playfulness, wits, heart, and talents, it's hard to resist its appeal.
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. DLERMovember.