HYSTERIA ESCAPE ROOMS - ONLINE GAMES
Based in Rochester, Kent, Hysteria have pulled together some really excellent online games to play at home with friends and family. Check them out!...
To purchase these experiences, visit; https://hysteriaescaperooms.com/onlinegames/
HYSTERIA - THE BANK JOB
PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING
A truly remarkable online game, which will take you on a journey like no other!
In terms of story, simplicity is certainly the key and this game hits the nail on the head - a notorious bank robber has been released after a long stint in prison. With your help, he wants to get the gang back together and carry on where he left of! The story is certainly easy to follow for users and clearly when designing, Hysteria had a very clear vision on how the story should evolve.
In terms of puzzles, this is where the game really excels! Although there are the normal limitations with online games, the guys at Hysteria haven't let these restrictions affect the game. A very different game to all others, you actually go on an adventure around the world wide web in order to understand some of the puzzles and use external sources to find the answers. As ever, no spoilers, however be prepared to be amazed with how they have created some of the games. Some puzzles are very self-explanatory and simple - others are exceptionally difficult and we found ourselves with a few head scratching moments. However keep at it - don't overthink what is in front of you and you will smash it! There is a very useful hint book at your fingertips within the game if you really get stuck (we only used it once!)
In respect of theme, this was strong and all puzzles strictly stuck to the story. At no point did we think anything was out of place and in fact the way in which the game develops but using other sources other than the games web platform, it made you feel like you were organising a real bank job!
In terms of who I would suggest this would be aimed at, it really is a free-for-all! I think enthusiasts will love the concept and how the format differs from other games. Would also be great for families with older children/teens - the level of puzzles vary so everyone will certainly bring something to the table!
Overall, a brilliant, well thought out online game, which demonstrates great puzzle building, a solid theme and some great immersion through the use of technology - a real treat to play!
HYSTERIA - THE FORGOTTEN REALM 2
PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING
An epic online adventure game, filled with magic and wizardry which all the family can enjoy! This sequel to a physical game certainly helps to scratch the escape room itch!
Firstly, the story. The wizard, Arvior, is in need of your help. He was left powerless after an evil curse was placed over his castle and he has been trapped inside a painting. Now the curse has been broken and the sorcerer who placed it seeks his revenge. You and your team must embark on a noble and dangerous adventure to help protect the realm.
You can hear the squeals of excitement from the witchcraft, wizardry and Harry Potter fans around the world, and rightfully so! The theme and story hit a home run. There is a simplicity to the story which allows younger guests to appreciate what they are trying to achieve, whilst giving enough depth for the adults to get their teeth in! The story has an epic feel as the journey around the realm develops, almost Lord of the Rings like. Filled with characters, each with personality, the theme and story are great (and that's coming from someone who isn't actually a Harry Potter fan!).
As with the other online games created by Hysteria in recent months, one key area where this experience excels is in its puzzle content - they are really strong and very well designed. In fact, a large number of the games were unlike anything I've done before, an achievement in itself! When faced with the first game, we did look at each other and think " I have no idea what I'm doing" but be persistent! The age old issue of overthinking the puzzle came into play and put us down the creek without a paddle. Sit back, think simple and don't get bogged down. Its a tricky start, but well worth the effort!
Without spoilers, the game play within this experience is very different to the other offerings from Hysteria. This game is all self-contained and doesn't require you to search through the internet to find facts and figures - everything is at hand either on screen or via a handy ancient book, known only as The Grimoire, which sits nicely on a separate web page. The game is vastly more interactive as well, which is a great touch. Some nice web page add ons bring this game to life - and whilst there are a huge number of puzzles within this game, given such variation, it keeps you very entertained.
Two honorary mentions in this game - firstly, animation. You are met with a handful of characters who help you on your journey, and some of these are animated and are a beautiful touch. In addition, there is an hour-long soundtrack which accompanies the game - and this, coupled with the characters, bring the game to life.
In terms of clue system, I wont give too much away, however I found this very inventive and enjoyable - in some cases I found myself getting clues even if I didn't need them! You can get one clue per puzzle using an online hints page. If you get stuck, the game doesn't provide answers, so you may have to rack your brains from time to time. You can always message the Hysteria team however who can give you an extra nudge in the right direction - they did for me!
Who would I suggest this game is aimed out?! Well, first and foremost, puzzle lovers - there are stacks of them and all very good. Families that have experience in escape room environments would certainly love this too - the interactive features, coupled with good in game character make this a strong contender for families - and although there are a few puzzles which would baffle the kids (and me!), its well worth cracking through these as the vast majority everyone can get involved in.
When all was said and done, we really enjoyed this one. A brilliantly appointed game, with a huge array of varied puzzles, cute use of animation and an epic accompanying soundtrack, plus strong theme. The realm may well be forgotten, but this game certainly isn't one to forget.
HYSTERIA - PROJECT BLUE BOOK
PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Another great online game from the Hysteria team, rammed with great puzzles, interesting use of technology and a solid theme.
So, firstly the story line. You are Mike Stephens - a long serving journalist for the Washington Post. Your day starts like any other, until, scanning through your emails and followers blogs, you stumble into one claiming to be the "next big story". Hmm, mysterious!
What I really like about the story is that in terms of advertising and website explanation, you have no idea what this game is likely to be about. Whereas with Hysterias other game, The Bank Job, the clue is certainly in the title. Its is not until the 3rd or 4th puzzle in, when you realise how the story is unfolding and what the game is really about. I will do my best to not provide any spoiler as to what to expect in terms of what this "next big story" is, but safe to say we enjoyed it!
A huge plus in this online game is the puzzle content. Firstly, the game is rammed with them. Secondly - all of them are strong! Four or five puzzles really stick out as highlights! A real positive is that you aren't just focused on what is presented in front of you within the game screen - You may have to use alternative technologies to answer some puzzles! We really enjoy this aspect of both the Hysteria online games - they seem to nail the fact that technology is a great resource for online games. Once users head their head around the fact that you aren't playing a "black and white" game (for the want of a better term), you find the gears in your head turning and wondering where in the world wide web this game will take you!
In terms of puzzle theme in relation to the story, these fitted very well. Again, without giving away any spoilers, the theme which Hysteria have chosen, has allowed them to compile copious amounts of puzzles which all develop against the story. At no stage did we feel that any puzzle/image was out of place. As you work your way through the game you can certainly see the vision, creativity and passion which the team have.
This game comes with an accompanying soundtrack, which is accessed via a link to Youtube as well as a hint book which we opened in a separate internet window just in case we needed it - luckily only needed to reference it the once and it did steer us more in the right direction!
Who would enjoy this game? - Well, this for me is a great one for all-comers. Slightly easier than Hysteria's The Bank Job game, families and friends would certainly enjoy this. We did it via Zoom across three separate households and this worked a treat. The puzzles vary in difficulty and are a mix of some great head-scratchers, to some more simplistic games which are self-explanatory. The more modern aspects within the game are sure to be a hit tech-savvy kids and teens!
Safe to say, we really enjoyed this game. Yet again the guys at Hysteria have utilised their great understanding for puzzles and their "thinking outside the box" mentality, to provide a memorable online experience.