This is a newly opened game, the second at ilocked, and we were happy to get a last minute booking as we were passing through Nottingham. I have to say first of all, that the game is set on a spaceship and from the website promo we were all expecting a ‘Star Trek Enterprise’ type of thing. You actually get a rather dilapidated ship, more like the one in the 1979 film ‘Alien’. Which means the game is set in very dim light all the way through. But the build is good and quite convincing as a run-down spacecraft (the pic above is taken in the first section of the game).
This is a high-tech game for puzzles, a lot of screen data to be input, and most particularly – a puzzle that needs the ability to code on a computer. We were all glad we had Mike (a developer) on board the ship! We were asked in the briefing if someone could use computer code, but seriously, the level that was needed would easily be beyond the usual player group mix. I think they have the option of taking some puzzles out if people need the room to be set easier.
We made a bit-of-a-serious error right at the start – one person is separated from the rest of the group. That got to be Sue, the least techie of all of us, and she was confronted in the first main puzzle with one of those tech bits in order to reunite us all. After too many minutes to mention, and probably out of exasperation, the Gamemaster walked in and did the puzzle! It would have helped us to know in advance that the puzzle was tech, then someone else could have took the role. Anyway, eventually, we were back together and could all start playing.
Either we were particularly stupid for this game, or its inconsistencies in flow caught us out. But we pretty much struggled all the way through – missing the obvious, over-thinking obscure things, and having to be told by the GM (via screen) not to touch certain things. The game presents as though it should be very good, but for all of us, it just didn’t flow properly. We didn’t function well as a team, and that took away some of our enjoyment of the puzzles and the overall experience. Talking about it later, we thought that on appearance, you’d think the game was going to be really good. But the user experience isn’t what the designers might have hoped for – the process is a bit cumbersome and awkward throughout.
I think this room has great potential, but it does need to be tweaked to consider the players’ views and how they are receiving and processing information. It’s a game that separates people a lot into different sections, and I think it did this a bit too often, unnecessarily. But do give it a try if you get a chance because different groups will get different experience from it.
On a side note – the iLocked rooms are a little bit more expensive than generally in Nottingham. We paid £22 per person for a team of 5. Also, allow plenty of time in advance of your game because the brief is a little longer, and particularly if you need the loo, because it’s outside and around the other side of the building at the entry to the car park. And that’s a good 10-15 minutes if the whole team need to go. You don’t want to have your game messed up over it.
Put your techie in first