Warsaw, Mar 2017
This is Quest Hunt’s most challenging room. It starts off with an amusing introduction video which set the scene well.
This was the fourth space themed game I’ve done. It had some lovely puzzles and in particular a nice feature in the middle of the room that really encouraged team work and was perfectly on theme.
However this was very mental puzzles focused; while there was a good physical element, top rooms in my view also have to have multiple clever mechanical components (both hard to design robustly and the most enjoyable to solve). In particular when comparing to a certain space-themed game in New York, the lack of physicality left a little something needed for the highest ratings.
I am however comparing against one of the best rooms I’ve done; this is still in its own right a very good room. The owner is very enthusiastic and I would recommend visiting Quest Hunt whilst in Warsaw.
I remember saying on various occasions that the quality of a room is not at all determined by the amount of money spent on it – throwing cash at a game doesn’t mean it’ll be fun to play, and it’s possible to build a fantastic game on a shoestring. Space Odyssey illustrates the latter. ‘Shoestring’ is overstating it, but it’s not a particularly high budget room. However, I only realised that in retrospect – while playing, the game carried me along completely. While there were ‘screens’ made with transparent overlays and engine innards built with components recognisably recycled from old PC hardware, they were presented well and just meant the spaceship felt like a well-lit Nostromo instead of the USS Enterprise.
This is not a room for maths-phobics. There are definitely more maths-based puzzles in the game than I’d normally think was sensible, and that probably does count as a weakness here; but it seemed very appropriate when rushing around a spaceship engine room trying to regain control.
Different panels and areas are labelled, with puzzle clues and instructions referring to those labels, in a way that starts to seem less like an arbitrary series of puzzles and more like trying to make sense of an accidentally cryptic spaceship owner’s manual. That engagement with the theme only increases as you progress past the initial area, with a sense of scale and physicality that balances the number-crunching. There’s a neat mechanism that I guess might be experienced as exasperating and an unnecessary hoop to jump through, but for me added to the fun.
It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it did an excellent simulation of frantically trying to jury-rig a damaged spaceship before it comes to a sticky end. For that, for the physicality of navigating the room, and for a variety of great little touches, this makes it onto my shortlist of favourite games.