Online, Oct 2020
Evadere is a U.K.-based company offering online digital escape games specifically, with two games available at time of writing and a third under development. I tried A Second Chance, in which you are a detective hours away from retirement (always a precarious position for a protagonist), with a sudden opportunity to solve an old murder case.
There’s plenty of variation in digital game style, but A Second Chance follows what already counts as the ‘standard’ style: a linear sequence of web pages, periodically requiring you to enter a solution code to progress to the next page. Some puzzles are self-contained on the page, but more often incorporate ARG or general knowledge elements; you are expected and required to use external tools such as search and maps software to find the answers.
Outside knowledge is taboo in physical escape rooms, but there’s nothing wrong with it in a digital game – you’re playing while sat at a computer, and when done well it can make for a more expansive, immersive game. In A Second Chance, the use of outside knowledge felt a little bit shoe-horned in – as if the killer were not so much taunting us with cryptic clues as checking our ability to use Google. (Parts might also be a little U.K.-centric for overseas players? though I’m not sure that would be a barrier in practice.)
My main gripe was that one particular step just seemed to involve mind-reading to the point where I’d expect vanishingly few teams to solve it without using the hint system or making a lot of guesses; that was because it combines multiple answers into a single solution, with at least two of the component parts being ambiguous.
For the sake of balance, I should note that my teammate liked it more and thought it was acceptably fun. And in other aspects it’s fine: the simple technology works well, including with players in different locations. Each step gave clear guidance on how to enter the answer code, and the hint system gives several levels of granularity for each step. I wasn’t particularly a fan, but didn’t hate it; it’s decently made and if you’re less critically minded you’ll probably enjoy it.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.