Cave Escape: Monuments

By | December 28, 2022

Nottingham, Jul 2021

Rated 4.5 out of 5
Toby says:

A World War II theme might not seem the obvious choice to set in a cave, but in fact the story is a perfect match for the setting: in Monuments you are in the Austrian salt mines where the Nazis stashed their looted treasures, trying to rescue precious works of art before the defeated occupiers blow the place up.
Cave Escape‘s unique underground setting again gives an instant authenticity to the environment, and the games builds on that with a great deal of 1940s equipment and decor. It’s not as immediately pretty as their sister game Carfax, but is at least as convincing. Adding to that is the use of video – periodically through the game you get further updates and instructions played in the form of 1940s-style newsreel footage.
Some games you emerge with a glow of achievement; in Monuments we definitely did not cover ourselves with glory. With a large open space we struggled at several points to work out where we should be focusing, and lost quite a bit of time, eventually failing as a result, though we were playing with two people in a game where the official minimum is three. This was one of the few games where I felt a third person would have made a big difference, though it’s perfectly doable for an experienced pair; we just took too long. That didn’t spoil our enjoyment of it, however. Where Carfax had a sequence of scenes, Monuments has a less obviously linear structure but still one that keeps surprising players with new developments, raising the pressure in one way and then another as it leads up to a very frantic endgame.
A particular highlight is the absolutely glorious hint system used in later states of the game – but it’s packed with nice touches and cool ideas.
Less experienced teams should choose Carfax over Monuments, but Monuments is definitely the more sophisticated and challenging game and is the one I’d point enthusiasts to. Don’t be afraid to get a hint earlier on if you’re spinning your wheels, there’s a lot to get through and you wouldn’t want to miss anything. 4.5 / 5

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