First Escape: The Subway

By | February 9, 2023

Vienna, Sep 2022

Rated 4.5 out of 5
Toby says:

This is a game I hadn’t planned to play on our very brief visit to Vienna, but on hearing how strongly it was recommended I jumped at the opportunity to play in a fortuitously empty morning slot.
The Subway takes place in an actual metro carriage, from Vienna’s subway system. Those who’ve played rooms in Paris or Bydgoszcz may find that less compellingly unique, but it still makes for a strikingly realistic set, especially when you travel to or from the venue via public transport on a carriage that looks very similar to the game space. The plot is that you’re engineers fixing a fault on the train – no prizes for guessing that things may escalate from there.
From the outset through to the conclusion gameplay is interwoven with and enhanced by use of video, with the aim of making it as story-driven and immersive as possible. This is in fact the main reason for the extended 75 min game time, so that the various narrative interludes aren’t taking away from your solving time. The immersion goes considerably beyond periodic cut scenes though – this is a high tech game that works hard to build its illusion.
Tasks are also closely linked to the narrative, and are strictly linear. We actually found ourselves repeatedly struggling to make progress, overthinking here and failing to notice key elements there – not for any flaw in the game design, but just one of those times when your brain doesn’t quite click with the puzzles. That left us increasingly frazzled but didn’t detract from the clever and satisfying puzzle solutions, when we finally got them; and the host skilfully judged the right degree of help to provide.
Amongst the technologically advanced solutions, one of my favourites was one of the simplest – a nice piece of lateral thinking.
If you travel enough that a comparison to the other famous Metro games is meaningful, all are strong games with an emphasis on realism, with quite a few similarities in plot and style – and I would pick First Escape’s room as the most successful of the three. If you’re simply looking for great escape games to play in Vienna, you should certainly include this one. 4.5 / 5
Pris rated this:4.5 / 5

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