Online, Jan 2020
Those using the new genres of remote play escape rooms to check off as many different countries as possible will have been happy to see Lockdown Paphos launch an avatar game, thereby adding Cyprus to their potential target list. They’ve been established as a physical venue for some time, and have now launched a remote play game; in Space Station you’re guiding an engineer as he tries to find the station’s reactor and stabilise it before it detonates catastrophically.
As many have pointed out, in an avatar game the hosting is absolutely critical, and when done well can lift a game to a whole different level – or ruin it. For our play-through, that was absolutely the highlight of the game. Our avatar did the basics well (such as hitting the balance between being too fast or too slow with help), and on top of that was an energetic, entertaining presence. One small touch that worked very well: before the start of the game, the intro included a datasheet giving us an overview of the person we’d be ‘working with’, which immediately fleshed him out as a character before we’d even said hello.
Space Station is clearly created for in-person play not remote, something that’s particularly obvious for a couple of steps. And yet – one puzzle was something that just shouldn’t work when players aren’t physically present, and if asked beforehand I’d have said it should definitely be taken out. But they’ve found a creative way to make it work anyhow, in a way that added humour while preserving the feel of the original.
Depending on where our avatar was standing and what the lighting was, the Zoom connection was sometimes a little blocky, making it hard to see some clue items; but that was never a major impedance. Puzzle style was broadly classic escape room, mixing padlocks with higher tech mechanisms. One early puzzle seemed to me sufficiently ambiguous that I’d expect few teams to solve it without guessing or taking a hint – but it sounds like they may change that, and the puzzle logic was solid throughout the rest of the game.
I’d describe it as an enjoyably light-hearted space-themed game that could do with a little further polishing for remote play (which it may well get, since we were some of the first to try it) – but the excellent hosting bumps it up a level, and meant I had a thoroughly good time playing it.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.