Online, Oct 2020
When lockdowns caused a wave of play from home escape experiences to spring up, The Truth About Edith was one that really didn’t fit into any neat category. With hundreds of games now available, it remains in its own category of one, sharing elements of online, ARG and live hosted games in its own distinctive mixture.
Your job is to investigate a suspiciously energetic old lady who appears to live at the Mad Genius Escapes escape room venue. You do this primarily via a variety of websites and other internet resources. Players share a hosted Zoom call, mostly to coordinate between themselves.
If possible you should play Edith with exactly four people. The puzzles are hugely varied, but are often designed for co-operative play. Each player has their own password, and some of the web-based resources require that password for access, allowing different players to see different information.
This works brilliantly for ensuring the whole team is involved, and also provides the basis for some of the game’s best puzzles. Even so, we found there was some overhead in keeping everyone together. Much of the game involved jumping from one webpage to another, and since we were each viewing those pages separately it took some care to make sure no-one got left behind.
Stretches of the game would work perfectly well without a host – though there is in fact one listening ready to hint if needed. But the sections with live interaction add a great deal; and the pressure of the time limit result in a game that feels live even when much of it arguably isn’t.
For the wordplay alone it would be neat to declare Edith a work of mad genius; that might be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely a game with its own distinctive vision which it implements exceedingly well. The highly eclectic mix of elements comes together into a cohesive and immersive story with a big helping of warm-humoured silliness. The co-operative elements are a particular strength, though also a reason to play it with teammates of a similar experience level of possible. Either way – whether you’re a cat lover or not, you’d be hard put not to enjoy this game.