Online, Jul 2020
This game’s rather original premise is that you’re investigating the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were faked. I think the intention was that you were disproving the conspiracy by gathering evidence from the original landing, but it could just as easily have been the reverse; either way it boiled down to a puzzle-driven scavenger hunt where we had a list of specific items to gather, which in combination would allow us to complete the game.
Your surroundings (or rather, your avatar’s surroundings) are a moonscape created with mostly quite simple decorations such as painted plasterboard, though it did appear to have a sand floor to simulate moon dust, a very nice touch that would be more impressive in person.
Our gamemaster was quite quick to offer free hints and other pointers in a way that suggests she was more used to hosting beginner groups than enthusiasts. At one point we suggested something and her response that we’d be able to do it later in the game; I find that remote games work better when the avatar maintains the convenient fiction that they don’t know the answers.
In addition to the Zoom livestream we had an inventory window. This was very useful for a couple of the puzzles in particular, with items that we needed to refer to throughout the solving of a process puzzle. In other ways it was a bit confusing, showing only some of the items we’d found, and with a mechanism for unlocking new images by entering padlock codes which seemed a little flakey.
The remote version of this game also suffered a little for including one large puzzle that was just far better suited for in-person play, and which became a slow bottleneck over Zoom.
Conspiracy was a fairly low-tech room but one with a distinctive theme, a decor style that I enjoyed despite its simplicity, and a nice non-linear set of padlock-driven puzzles. There’s not much narrative but it manages fine without. It could do with some more streamlining and tweaking to make it play more smoothly as a remote experience, and I suspect I’d have given it a slightly higher score if I’d played it in person.