Online, Nov 2020
Emergency Exit’s first remote play game was an excellent adaptation of their existing Exorcist game. Their sequel, The Beast, is adapted from a combination of two physical rooms (Conjure and Poltergeist), and while I haven’t played those my impression is that they’ve been used as raw materials to create a new game specifically for remote play. There’s probably a lot of overlap with the physical games’ puzzles, but the overall result is its own thing.
I guess you could play Beast stand-alone, but the story does continue straight on from Exorcist, and I’d recommend playing them in order, or even back to back, if you have the stamina. Once again you’re guiding your host into – and more importantly, out of – the haunted manor that once belonged to Aleister Crowley. And as before the game starts on the dot, following an impressively slick atmosphere-builder in the Zoom waiting room, and is in-character from the start.
Pretty much all of the praise I had for Exorcist applies equally to Beast. Puzzles and storyline are distinct but both games share the winning combination of live action smoothly blended with occasional video sequences, and a first rate performance by a host who was convincing, sympathetic and entertaining. The various clever tricks and surprises are the icing on the top.
Beast is the longer game, though for my group the final times were not very different; perhaps we were just faster in the second game. It appears they’re fairly generous with allowing teams to finish even when over time, though.
I think I’m in a minority in preferring Exorcist over Beast – mainly because I found the storyline stronger in the former. But it’s a close-run thing, and in any case you shouldn’t miss either of these games – both are great examples of how to make entertaining, involving avatar-based escape games where the format is an active advantage not just a necessity.