Official Premise (from Agent November): Agent November needs your help! Our best agent has been captured. Experimental Gadgets allow you to see through his eyes... But only for 60 minutes. can you solve the puzzles and help him escape?
► ROOM ESSENCE AT A GLANCE ◄
📚 NARRATIVE: Plenty of background on each characters, well developed
👀 VISUAL: Intentionally built with lower budget, temporary set
🧩 PUZZLE: A great variety, unexpectedly challenging, A LOT to complete
🧠 IMMERSION: Great! Complete with pre-game and post-game briefings
🎮 REMOTE INTERFACE: Zoom and website based, simple & direct
🏪 VENUE: N/A
💁♂️ STAFF: One of the obvious standouts from all escape games I've played
💭 OVERALL: Just all around entertaining, especially given the price point
🎟️ BEST FIT FOR: Anyone! If you enjoy some comedy, you would love this!
🎫 IDEAL TEAM SIZE: Anywhere from 4-6 (You'll want to work fast)
can now call himself a British super spy. Move over, 007.
"Virtual X-Caper" officially joins the "MUST DO!!!" rank!
► LATE NIGHT ADVENTURE ◄
This is an interesting story that shows you, sometimes, even with a modest budget, you can create something wickedly special if you just put in wits, humor, passion, creativity, and a dash of wacky acting for good measure.
Virtual X-Caper (Credit: Agent November)
First, I want to introduce you to Agent November, a company based in the UK that features 3 in-person experience, all of which can be played outdoor.
From my understanding, they aren't an escape room company per se, but rather a venue that provides puzzles for customers to solve while they travel on foot to explore, investigate, and get some light exercise (We have similar services in the US, so the idea wasn't too foreign.)
Due to recent events with COVID, however, these puzzle tours are suspended. But the show must go on! So Agent November specifically designed a virtual, remote, but temporary experience, "Virtual X-Caper", that functions as a prequel to the plot lines from the other 3 titles.
Virtual X-Caper, a possibly limited run play at home remote adventure
Given the circumstances, it would explain why the showtimes could run as late as 10:00 pm local time. The game master, aka your avatar, is actually running this game out of a residential building.
This also explains why the admission is quite low, and the production value seems modest--because it's intentional. This is a transition gig. Conservative budget, humble set, and affordable pricing.
However, the one thing that isn't as easy to explain, the one thing that goes against all expectation, and the one thing that is not immediately apparent, but becomes clear as day in the end is...
I FRIGGIN' LOVED THIS GAME.
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. ❤️
Looking back now, it isn't as surprising, considering how I've always been a sucker for an engaging narrative. I love an escape room adventure that can pull me from mundane reality into its alluring story world.
"Virtual X-Caper" took great lengths to "prep" its customers. Days before actual mission, you'd receive an email, addressing you not as a patron, but as an agent, to brief you on the assignment you're about to take on.
This isn't just your typical video intro briefing, either. Oh no, in addition, you've got a dossier full of top secrets documents to peruse.
Awaiting transmission signal from our agent in need
Appointment time came, and our video feed went live. Agent November, who's captured by adversary Marty Orri, needed our help! Through his retinal transmission, we could see his every move. But we only had one hour until his gadgets gave out. Damn batteries.
Immediately after game start, a slightly panicked and paranoid November asked, "Who sent you?!" "Agent Alpha," I proudly responded. He then requested a password to authenticate our identities, which strangely enough, I was able to immediately answered--correctly, even.
I was so glad I did my homework.
Agent Alpha tasked us to extract Agent November from Marty Orri's hideout
For the next hour, the constant exchange between our avatar and team never stopped. This was an extremely interactive experience; it's almost as if we didn't give him an explicit verbal command, he'd suddenly lose his spy training and forget what to do.
This may sound frustrating, but it really wasn't! It actually worked well!
The charm of "X-Caper" was that, the actor portraying November knew exactly what it took to engage his audience. His British accent made him sound ever so sophisticated, but his ludicrous behavior and seemingly lack of competence as an agent, really, made him a comedic star.
While the holding area that kept November captive was frankly a tight space, the game designer packed a boatload for us to sort through in only 60 minutes. In that sense, it's sorta hard. Work fast, people, work fast.
Although there was a few tech-y things involved, challenges were all gen 1 classic riddles, from start to finish. But this was what amazed me: even though these were classic style puzzles, and I had done 100 escape rooms, I still discovered things I never saw! Incredible.
And a quick hint: be comfortable with using the internet browser, and type in the url accurately. Yours truly somehow ended up contacting real-life businesses for help; this is highly NOT recommended. Whoopsie! 🤷
In addition, these puzzles were *actually* interesting! Often, as an enthusiast, I've seen so many of the same old, day in and day out, it gets somewhat monotonous. Not the case here.
The theme of the puzzles were rather random, but so was our avatar's personality, so I just went along with this loony ride.
"Help me!" a handcuffed Agent November begs of you
Occasionally, when we got stuck, our sneaky agent friend would ever so slightly adjust his camera angle on purpose to focus on something of interest, nudging us to the right direction. Subtle yet effective.
Finally, the same, somewhat sarcastic humor that I appreciated so much from him were also baked right into some of the clues--and the moment when you finally realized the jokes--priceless.
A bonus game was actually included without explicitly stated to us prior to the game. While not critical in helping November escape, it was indeed chuckle inducing. Chortle.
Try not to run into trouble again, Agent November
With only mere minutes left on the clock, we remotely escorted our kidnapped colleague to safety, and this grand finale was particularity satisfying because... (But I don't want to spoil anything...)
Let's just say, this game upholds the definition of a room escape.
For completion's sake, let's briefly mention that this game does have a website based inventory system, only used briefly to display HD photos.
Inventory system is built into the company's website, easy to use
And to take you full circle, post-game, you'd receive a debriefing email, which may contain intel that would raise more questions than answers...
In an industry where we're so used to paying an upwards of $30 to $40 for a visually extravagant immersive escape experience, this rather simple, low tech, low budget but also low priced, yet *fantastic* game brought me more joy than some other big name competitors.
For that unbelievable feat, "Virtual X-Caper" is a must play. And don't sleep on it. Once quarantine is officially lifted locally, this may disappear for good.
► DISCLAIMERS ◄
We at "Escape Mattster" appreciate this company's hospitality and the opportunity to publish an honest review. Though game access was complimentary, we aim to provide *only* genuine & unbiased opinions.
All official media are provided by or credited to respective contents owners, and are used with proper permission for the purpose of this post.