Online, Jul 2020
They say in acting that you should never work with children or animals; and since the first game I played with Fuzzy Logic was all about the animals in their Vet’s Office game, it seems appropriate that the second was a kid theme. Your aim here is to solve all the playground puzzles and thereby demonstrate your worthiness to join the Super Kids Squad. That’s a simple excuse for a room full of toy-themed puzzles; but Playground isn’t aiming to tell a complex story, it’s aiming for cheerful, wholesome fun.
The tone was set straightaway by the decoration style, lots of bright primary colours under a painted blue sky, and also by our gamemaster. Fuzzy Logic have gained quite a reputation for the sheer exuberance of their gamemastering, and that was emphatically the case here, with our host energetically channeling his inner kid. The way an avatar handles things can absolutely make or break a livestream game, and in this case he not only nailed the basics (being a responsive proxy for the players while maintaining the illusion that he doesn’t already know the answers), but also lifted the game with non-stop enthusiasm and humour.
As with their other games, Fuzzy Logic use the project management tool Trello as an inventory system, and as before it worked extremely well. In a small space the fixed camera views of the game area weren’t so important, but still meant that we were almost instantly oriented and investigating rather than needing to spend the first couple of minutes being given a once-around of the space. Also very handy was the list of available padlocks, which was particularly useful since most of the puzzles in Playground resolve to a padlock code of one sort or another.
As well as being a classic style padlock-driven game, Playground is somewhat on the easy side, with a smallish game area. It’s also a rapid-fire puzzle-fest which would be fun in person and is better still with the excellent hosting, which even managed to squeeze hilarity out of one puzzle idea that I’d normally instantly frown on as a poor choice for an escape room.
Naturally, how an escape room experience works out for players also depends a lot on team dynamics, and what amuses or charms one group may fall flat for another. But you’d have to be pretty grumpy not to have a good time here.