The Insiders is the first of Deadlock Escape Rooms virtual/print and play games. The game can be broken down into 3 chapters of roughly 90 minutes each. And seriously don’t start this game and expect to play it all straight through after dinner (it’s now 2am as I try and get some thoughts on paper having started playing just after 8, though we did have a couple of small breaks!) I had been meaning to play insiders for months now, and I kept mentioning it as a game I wanted to play, however Valentine’s Day seemed to be the kick I needed to buy the game and gift it to my other half and escape room partner.
The Wexell Corporation has a problem right now. There’s a mole in the company, working against us with some very sensitive information and we need YOU to find out who’s been sneaking around where they shouldn’t.
So the objective of the game is to find the mole within a large historic corporation and stop whatever havoc they plan to wreck.
You do really need a printer for this game, I’m really not convinced this game can be played just off a screen, so if you don’t have a printer at home you need to think in advance. When you buy the game, the confirmation e-mail gives you a link to the intro, which contains the link to get the first batch of files, on that screen is the link to download the batch of files that need printing if you need to think ahead of time. We printed the files as they came available to us in game, but if you pre-print you can set aside the files until you discover them in game.
The game happily switches between elements which are focused on screen, and elements which are focused on paper, this is something which I really appreciate, especially given how long the game is if you play it straight through so that you aren’t spending 4ish hours straight looking at a laptop screen (I do enough of that at work!) The game splits down into 3 sections, and at the end of each section it makes it clear that you can take a break from the game. You would need to keep hold of your papers if you do this, but I can see this working quite well with spreading playing the game over evenings during a week.
The game makes use of its own website along with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps and you need to be able to use Facebook Messenger for some elements of the game. I would also recommend a bit of practice using street view if you haven’t used it much before! You can google bits of knowledge that you need to solve puzzles. You need to keep hold of solved puzzles through the game as later parts of the game comeback to reference earlier puzzles. I enjoy games where the puzzles link up and come up again later in the game, I think it makes the game and story flow better. The story is more present in this game than most escape games in a box I find, but there is a lot less emphasis on the artwork with these games. However at £12 for what is around 4-4.5 hours of escape game, it is right up the top with value for money!!
So onto the puzzles, there was a lot of puzzle content in this game, as you would expect with its length. Some of the puzzles are long puzzles and some require a lot of concentration to understand what way is what (Chapter 2 I’m looking at you!) There are a lot of different types of puzzles in the game, and you do need some cutting and sticking for some of them. We did take a hint at one point in the first chapter, where we had solved the puzzle for a password correctly, but missed the obvious clue right in front of us that is needed into order to make it work. There were some elements which caused some frustration, puzzles where I was reading a table in the opposite way to how it was supposed to be read which has us not progressing at one point, and there were other elements where our brains were just a bit numb, but that could be because it was 1am.
The game also makes you interact with its characters throughout and I appreciate the way the game does this. I like the fact you need to think of a joke part way through and how you need to be sly at another point.
The Insiders is a great game, there is a lot to do and I can see this being a game that would work well with 3/4 people. If you haven’t played many escape games before I would recommend playing a few more games before playing this one. It has a lot to recommend it as a game, and I think it works very well, there are a few places it could improve in my opinion. The game hit the spot for me, and I really liked how it went into the ‘real’ world (virtually) and how much I learned through playing the game.
Overall I’m rating The Insiders a strong 4/5 we had a total play time of 3:52:51 hours and took 2 hints. It really is a worth while play, especially for any enthusiast who have yet to play. We’ve recommended it to our friends who enjoy escape games, and we look forward to seeing how they fair!
Atmosphere 3/5 (I always tend to score at home games at 2/5 for atmosphere, however we did feel immersed in this game!)