Escape room videogames, whilst a highly entertaining form of puzzle experience are tricky when it comes to gauging difficulty curves. Do developers leave players completely to their own devices and risk creating frustration, or provide hints that help progress but make the experience too easy and rob some of the enjoyment out of the gameplay? Escape Room Series: Robbery at the Museum certainly falls into the former category as well as presenting a whole host of other issues.
Escape Room Series: Robbery at the Museum initially sounds quite a promising title, where you’re put inside a museum with the sole task of robbing it by completing a series of puzzles to test that old brain matter of yours. But to be honest, if you manage to make it out of the first room that’s impressive enough, as this review was almost going to be entirely about a storage cupboard.
After going through the tutorial – it is advised or you will get angry with the controls – you’re plonked straight into a room swathed in grey, with some shelving unit’s, ladders and other utility type items. Now, most of the room you can’t actually interact with. The locker doors don’t open, nor does the lid on the big green bin. You can, however, pick up a myriad of shelving items – objects to interact with are highlighted yellow when you point your index finger at them – toilet rolls, bags of cleaning powder, tubes of disinfectant, all of which are completely useless. Plus for some reason the videogame won’t let you throw any of it, hitting some invisible wall.
The real problem though is the inconsistency and poor level of said interactions. For a title that’s all about picking stuff up, it all feels twitchy and not quite finished. Case in point – this will help you solve the first room – the first part of the puzzle in the storage room involves moving the big yellow bin on wheels. Yet you can’t physically grab it with your hands – no matter how many times you’ll try or from multiple angles – no you have to move it with the pointing mechanism, the one that highlight’s every other moveable object in bright yellow except this one.
Once free from that first room you’d have thought there was more excitement ahead yet the puzzles swing wildly between really easy and utterly obscure. There will be pieces laying around to quickly solve one challenge, but before that, you’ve got to wander around and try to unlock your inner rain man to figure out the rest.
At points there are the occasional hints – a voice from the walkie talkie in your inventory will suddenly speak at certain locations – for what should be a helpful nudge, yet for the most part, the voice may as well be telling you the weather forecast for all the good it’ll do you.
As the name indicates Escape Room Series: Robbery at the Museum is the first in a possible long-running escape room series – the start of the videogame showcases nine titles, eight of which are ‘coming soon’. However, there are plenty of issues to iron out before VRFocus could recommend it. With the irregularity of the puzzles, scenery which mostly looks cobbled together from basic Unity assets, and improvements needed with the hand design, if you’re after an escape room experience look else ware.
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