Brainstorm Escape Rooms: CSI

By | June 18, 2020

Online, May 2020

Rated 3 out of 5
Toby says:

A caveat, here – I played this game when they’d fairly recently opened and were still experimenting with the remote play format. So it’s likely they’ll refine how the game works following further experimentation.
The name of the game might suggest a murder scene, but in fact you’re investigating a terrorist cell. Narrative was fairly light though, mainly providing theming for a mostly linear sequence of puzzles leading up to opening the exit door.
Guiding us through this was our two friendly hosts. One invisibly controlled the camera, while the other led from in front. This arrangement worked well, in leaving our avatar with both hands free while providing the camera with good freedom of movement.
The game’s linear flow also translated well to the remote format. For our game we found that the video feed was often rather blurry, making it hard to make out details on the items we were looking at – however, that seems to have been because of the videoconference platform (Hangouts), and the venue more normally uses Zoom.
The main limitation for me was the lack of any kind of inventory system, which with a relatively large group meant that our single camera window was a significant bottleneck, with the group being able to only do one thing at a time: look in a particular direction, inspect one thing, try one solution. Polite teammates and responsive hosts kept this from being too frustrating, but it meant the gameplay involved a certain amount of patient waiting for a good moment to look at whichever item you want to see more closely.
Although it was a fairly simple environment with puzzles based very much around padlocks and codes, that included some nice ideas with one in particular that I found unexpected and pleasing. It also included a couple of points that I’d have expected to not translate well via the camera, but which they made work well.
Unless or until they add something in to make the camera less of a bottleneck, this is one I’d suggest playing with a small team; if you do then it should be a pleasant series of puzzles. 3 / 5
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.

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