CLUE CRACKER - AT HOME ONLINE GAMES
The team at Clue Cracker, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent currently have four outstanding online games packed full of character for all the family to enjoy. Check out what we thought here!..
CLUE CRACKER - HAUNTING OF HARLEQUIN HOUSE 

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

The team at Clue Cracker have done it again with yet another brilliant online experience, jammed with puzzles, yet this time with an eerie twist! 

In terms of story, yet another winner - simple yet effective. You are the new owners of Harlequin House - met by a hap-hazard Estate Agent and hearing rumours of the disappearance of a young girl, you tentatively begin to move in. However as soon as you walk through the door, things certainly aren't right. But can you discover the mysteries of your new home and what really happened?!  

So the plot does sound a little creepy, and I wont lie, horror isn't my thing - but this certainly isn't a horror game! In fact, its more of a comedy! The videos certainly have elements of the occasional "jump scare", however these are rapidly followed by the tongue-in-cheek humour that the team at Clue Cracker have become synonymous with. They simply don't take themselves too seriously, which actually adds great character to the game.  

In terms of puzzles, they stick to the theme well, as you take yourself around your new home, visiting the numerous different rooms. In terms of their difficulty, I would suggest that this is the trickiest of the games currently online from the team. It still however pitches itself as being family friendly, as well as for the enthusiasts amongst us. There are three or four really strong puzzles which I enjoyed in particular, which I am sure you will discover for yourself,  plus a handful which completely threw me, where the well appointed clues were certainly needed! 

As with all the Clue Cracker games, you tend to get 1 cryptic clue per puzzle, followed by one which is a little more obvious. If really stuck, you can also reveal the answer - but try not to! Everything is achievable, even if it is a little tricky at times! 

A real plus in this game is that fact that videos are used in a number of puzzles which actually form part of the answer, as opposed to simply being inserted to help aide only the story line. Again, these videos include the eerie aspects with a touch of humour thrown in, providing the character to the game. 

The other aspect to the game which I really enjoyed, is that the answer to every single puzzle is needed as part of game finale. In terms of developing this game, this must have been a really tricky challenge for the team, as the puzzles are hugely varied so getting them to form something tangible as a finale is very impressive. The game builds to a good crescendo by using this format, as you find yourself becoming a makeshift detective to complete the game. 

Yet again, the Clue Cracker team have developed a brilliant online 90 minute game, which is jammed with strong puzzles, great attention to detail, an engaging story line and some great tongue-in-cheek humour. Coupled with great value for money, this game is a sure fire hit for families, friends and enthusiasts alike! 

CLUE CRACKER - FAIRGROUND FELONY 

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

This hugely enjoyable online escape game is a sure-fire top notch web based puzzle extravaganza! 

Firstly, the story. A well thought-out, yet simple story line based on the fact that a fairground has come to town - however not all is as it seems, as upon your arrival, it is mysteriously quiet. You discover the mysteries of this travelling fairground, eventually having to track down the culprit and stop the roller coaster before it derails! I found this to be a really fun story line and certainly isn't too heavy. All members of the family are sure to appreciate it and as the story evolves, there is no real need for masses of written text, as the game runs seamlessly between the area of the fair.  

In terms of game play and puzzles, this is superb. The games all stick strictly on theme and the imagery used to present them is of great quality. At no point in time did I find myself scratching my head and wondering why a particular puzzle had been put into the game. There is a well rounded mix of puzzle difficulty within this game and I would suggest that it would suit most abilities - families will certainly enjoy it as the kids can get involved! There are also a massive number of puzzles involved and a 90 minute clock (although the game wont end if you go over time) so you will certainly get your monies worth! 

As per normal with everything the team at Clue Cracker do, they excel in two vital areas - attention to detail and game character. Every game leaves no stone unturned in terms of detail - there are no cut corners and its clear that the team take great pride in what they do. In terms of character, not only is the game brought to life with the great game imagery, there are multiple video extracts which add an extra layer of fun, with some very interesting individuals making an appearance which are sure to keep the whole family entertained!

When all is said and done, it is safe to say we hugely enjoyed playing this game - a great mix of puzzles, character and tension- certainly a game that all the family can enjoy! 

CLUE CRACKER - ESCAPE FROM EXTINCTION ISLAND 

PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

So, the story... You are a trainee Pathologist working for a top-secret project.  A man-made island island near Mongolia houses this special project where dinosaurs are being breed using fossils. One morning you awake to a frantic video from your mentor, to find that the dinosaurs have broken loose and he is the only survivor. It is your job to help secure the island before its too late. 

A group of five of us played this online game and safe to say we really enjoyed it. First of, one major plus is that this game is suitable for all ages, and although some of the puzzles are slightly trickier, this is a real family favourite. 

The game is simple to follow and is very user friendly. The puzzles are easy to follow and although some are slightly harder, all are achievable. Every puzzle gives you the opportunity for two hints, plus, if your are really stuck, the option to reveal the answer - make sure this is a real last resort though! You will get a much better sense of achievement by finding the answers yourself!

For online games, its often difficult to get the real sense of involvement or tension - however the guys at Clue Cracker have certainly achieved it! The use of videos provide a great sense of panic and frustration. You will find yourself shouting at your laptop and telling the professor to hurry up as time ticks away! 

We really enjoyed this experience and it is certainly one I would recommend. Tension, atmosphere, solid puzzles, great use of technology, a wallet-friendly price and a real family feel, provide for an hours worth of fun for all to enjoy!

In addition, Clue Cracker are developing another online game which should be available soon. Watch this space for more info!

CLUE CRACKER - THE DISAPPEARANCE OF DJ MCDEE 

PADLOCK RATING; 4 - GREATLY RECOMMENDED 

 

A very different proposition, this FREE online game its pitched at first timers and a younger audience - so I'm doing this review through the eyes of my nine year old son as well as me! 

A simple story focuses on the disappearance of Tunbridge Wells based DJ, DJ McDee who was looking at dropping his new hit track. However, his rival MC Floggin has captured him and will release the track in his name instead! Its your job to rescue DJ McDee and release the new hit song!

The puzzles sit beautifully on theme and pay homage to some of the landmarks found in Tunbridge Wells. Many puzzles would be very simple for experienced gamers so this is certainly a "gateway" game into the larger world of online escapes - Escape From Extinction Island also by Clue Cracker would be a great game to move onto from this.

For those puzzles which are slightly more taxing, some well places clues sit at the bottom of each page and are very well pitched at giving you enough information without spoiling the puzzle. (We did end up using two clues so not all puzzles are "simple"). 

We really enjoyed the graphics on this game, however much like their physical experiences and other online game "Escape from Extinction Island", the thing that sits Clue Cracker apart from others is their character video content. The videos of the two lead characters in this game really bring it to life and provide a humorous, zany side which we loved.

The finale of the game made us both chuckle and again paid great homage to the local area (however, you don't need to know anything about the town in order to be successful). Be prepared for DJ McDee's new single!!!

All-in-all, a well thought out, simple, free online game with fun characters, which is brilliant for first timers and those wanting to get a quick escape room fix!  

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