Improbable Escapes: Neverland: Heist on the High Seas

By | February 9, 2021

Online, Nov 2020

Rated between 4 and 4.5 out of 5
Toby says:

There are any number of escape rooms themed after Alice in Wonderland, but Neverland is the first game I’ve come across based on that other early 20th Century children’s classic Peter Pan. And this is a beautiful and creative game that shows what potential the theme has, mixing magic with pirates and adventure.
This story starts with you imprisoned by Captain Hook’s pirates; your goal is to not just escape but also find hidden treasure. All of Improbable’s games impressed with their set design, and I think Neverland is my favourite of the three I’ve played. It’s again a vivid and larger than life design, slick and glossy like a theme park set, where it’s a safe assumption that anything you can move is part of a puzzle.
The main livestream is complemented by their inventory system. This requires players to type in passwords as they go to unlock each new section, but is clear and visually attractive, and provides enough information to ease the livestream bottleneck without leading you to solve puzzles entirely through the webpage.
Neverland is a gorgeous, cute game that I’d love to play in person. It’s been adapted well, and – to be clear – is among the best of the avatar games I’ve played. If there’s a hesitation in my enthusiasm, it’s because I found it hard to forget that, excellent though the avatar version was, it was undeniably a step down from playing in real life. That is to say, it was really good despite the avatar format not really good because of it, and in places i was conscious of
the limitations of not being able to look around freely in our own, or tackle tasks in parallel, or have the fun of completing a physical task ourself.
That’s a criticism that applies to all but an elite handful of avatar games, of course, and Neverland has some lovely moments that work well in either format – one moment early on is a particular highlight. I also found it entirely free of the connection issues that cropped up to varying degrees with Improbable’s other games.
It seems strange to talk about a ‘classic’ avatar game when the game format is only eight months old, but I’d use the term to describe games with minimal extra elements added for remote play, other than the inventory system – so no additional actor roles, for example. Of the games I’ve played in that sub-genre, Neverland is probably the strongest, a family-friendly romp that is an excellent choice for escapers wanting to try out an avatar game. It could also be a good one for beginners – though it’s a pacy game with plenty to do, and the difficulty level struck me as better suited to players with some experience. 4 / 5
Pris rated this:4.5 / 5
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.

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