Control The Escape (Based In The United Kingdom)
◣ GAME'S SPECS
💪 Difficulty not specified.
⏲️ 1.5 to 2 hours duration expected from company.
🔢 Suggested for 1-6 players by company.
💬 Hints available throughout in game. Actual solutions also available on a separate web page.
🛒 If you PURCHASE GAME due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout out! ;)
◣ MATTSTER'S TAKE
💪 Difficulty: For Mattster's team of 1, easy, 2/10. Straightforward puzzles. (Hints used when I was confused by wording.)
🔢 Ideal Team Size: 1, maybe 2 max. A fun option to pass the time when bored and alone in the house.
🤷♂️ Best Fit For: Novice. A well done, but by the book escape game most apt for beginners. Experts will fly right through.
🍵 Boils Down To: An escape room like experience portrayed by photos of real life building(s), as opposed to those of a set or computer graphics. Features respectable gen 1 puzzles with emphasis on finding combo codes/passwords.
🙂 Overall Rating: Considering how this product is programmed by a uni student, and not an industry professional, this product is impressive! Interface is smooth running, though story and puzzle aspects will likely improve with time.
You have been kidnapped during a worldwide pandemic! You are two of the world-leading scientists working in the field of virus vaccinations. A known villain has identified the potential profit of a vaccination and is forcing you to discover one – as if it's as easy as that. Although the quarantined dungeon he is keeping you in is safe from the virus, you still need to get out so that you can get back to saving the world (properly)!
Storytelling • A Familiar Villain's Hideout Abduction
As the real world races to find a viable vaccine for the coronavirus, in an alternate Control The Escape universe, scientists are doing the same. That is, except, it seems like in this time line, an illogical villain decides to capture two of the field's brightest minds, hoping they will make the breakthrough first, monopolize the invention, and pocket the profit.
Except... he gives them no proper required materials or equipment, except some syringes, masks, and one single microscope. That's not how science even at its most basic level works, Mr. Evil!
Due to this doofus's gross misunderstanding of how the scientific methods actually operates, or in real world terms, the lack of actual equipment and proper laboratory setting relating back to the central theme, one would argue "Villainous Vaccine Ventures" is either a deliberately sarcastic, humorous look at the burning hell that is the world today, or a simple villain's lair setup with a topical overlay.
In either case, it sets up adequately for your two scientists' needs to escape, and quick! This place looks... Bleh! So grimy!
Villainous Vaccine Ventures | Credits: Control The Escape
Production • Easy & Enjoyable To Use Interface
Perhaps the most impressive feature of this point and click online escape room is the interface. Players are given first-person perspective through photographs of an actual real life location--what looks like a claustrophobic basement at the start of the game--and the ability to navigate around the room via arrows on the far edges of the screen.
This system is reminiscent of virtual mapping service like Google Map, so it is easy to pick up and works exceptional well for an escape game experience. Exploration felt natural and intuitive. I've once played another game which employs a similar (though more advanced) strategy, but developed by a more experienced industry professional. And to know that Control The Escape manages to provide a comparable production at a college student's skills set BLOWS! MY! MIND!
The decision to include irl photos as the setting is a wise one. Without an actual set, many companies resort to using computer visuals, and depending on the artist's capabilities, some games turn out less than desirable aesthetically. The photograph approach eliminates this problem, and despite the props pictured look a tad modestly budgeted, it still brings an additional layer of authenticity, which I highly prefer over cheap graphics.
Who's a good boy? Yes, you are. Yes, you are. | Credits: Control The Escape
Puzzles • Common Tropes With Good Variety
Since this is the creator's first escape room project to date, I assume, the puzzles department does reflect this sentiment. For the record, there is no shortage of puzzles to solve. Anyone would be fairly entertained by the sheer quantity of challenges they have to wade through, and a good variety at that.
The designer does seem to have a solid grasp of how conventional escape room puzzles are written, so they are able to replicate a lot of commonly seen, gen 1 style riddles, and further customize them to better fit an "escape from the evil captor" narrative. You'll be opening a good amount of locks, and also, possibly my favorite part of the game, hacking into Evil's email. On the down side, however, most of them leans a bit formulaic, and lacks a true creative angle.
Certain puzzles do not necessarily pertain to vaccine making at all, but are still rather--delicious--to solve. The final puzzle contains ambiguous wording that may benefit from sentence restructuring. In other words, a few hiccups here and there.
Also imitating how a real escape room would work, "Vaccine" progresses the game play and plot through different room advancements, and I really enjoy the multi-room experience. Initially expecting myself to climb to freedom through a flight of stairs, coming to find out there is another entire room to play through was a pleasant surprise!
Villainous Vaccine Ventures | Credits: Control The Escape
While there are some minor kinks to iron out, as is, "Vaccine" is a humble but definitely creditable effort for the mainstream audience to enjoy. Though there's room for improvement, there's already *plenty* to keep one busy, and for its price point, this is quite honestly a bargain.
★ If a found password doesn't seem to work, it's probably for the next step. Save it for now, use it later.
★ The final puzzle's wording leaves room for multiple interpretations. Consult a friend for a different perspective if stuck.
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. CTEVaccine.