ClueQuest: Print + Cut + Escape: Humanity 2.0 (Episode 3) review
|Agent Crimson and MrQ have destroyed the Alpha Brain System, but not before Professor BlackSheep managed to escape. But the Professor no longer needs that old piece of machinery. He’s now setting his sights on a new vision, Humanity 2.0, a world order where humans only have access to the intelligence they deserve.|
|1 hour 30 minutes|
|£15 print at home, £25 posted|
|Play at home (based in London, UK)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 1 hour 40 minutes|
Considering that this game’s just a series of (printer-friendly) grayscale images, there’s a bit more going on than initially meets the eye. The game is supplemented by some mobile interaction and there’s a range of narrative-building videos peppered throughout the experience. The standout thing here is that everything is hyper-stylised and, therefore, has a true bespoke feeling to it. This isn’t a bunch of clip art spread over A4, there’s a clear and distinct craft here! That said, the black and white started to get a bit oppressive after a while!
This well themed PDF puzzle pack is entirely black and white so lacks vibrancy, but the characterful artwork compensates for this. The benefits of shunning colour is you don’t need a colour printer and it makes it cheaper to print the 20 page file. I found the borders were too narrow as a couple of edges got cut off, but there was enough visible that I could work out what was missing.
You can’t avoid printing this as it’s designed to be cut, folded and manipulated. You also need to log into their website to help solve the puzzles and enter your answers. Upon completion you’re shown a pretty bizarre video that concludes episode 3. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not played episodes 1 or 2 though as it can be played standalone.
This is where I think ClueQuest were really smart. I’ve made my feelings clear in regards to print at home games in the past, printing and cutting is a real faff and, ultimately, we’ve been able to play these games remotely anyway, manipulating the images in paint applications… Humanity 2.0 is different.
I was surprised at how close this game was to replicating a physical experience just using a few sheets of A4, it’s extremely smart! We spent our time manipulating objects; pushing, turning, lifting – any of these puzzles would fit right at home in a physical escape game. But ClueQuest ported that level of interactivity into a print and play game. So yeah, expect a fair few physical-slanted activities. One little tip – this game was easy to overthink – if something looks odd, there’s absolutely a reason for it!
The plentiful and challenging puzzles are split up into three chapters. Newbies may find some of them a bit too difficult, but there’s clues available online if needed. The USP of Print+Cut+Escape is its hands on nature that has you cutting, folding and manipulating the printouts. This is combined with their online platform, merging low tech with high tech. One of the tasks had an ambiguous solution as there seemed to be more than one way to traverse the grid. It took us a while to work out the ‘correct’ route. Other than that, the puzzles made logical sense and were cleverly designed.
I honestly didn’t expect this game to be as fun as it was – the selling point for me was by far the way it successfully recalled a physical experience. That said though, the puzzles were pitched at the perfect difficulty, it was extremely rewarding to be staring at the image and then suddenly noticing something that unlocked the puzzle. There were a number of these eureka moments and you felt like you’d earned every solve. Despite this, I still don’t enjoy the process of printing and cutting these games out but at least Humanity 2.0 made the effort worthwhile. Could I see myself playing another of these games? For sure!
Due to its challenging nature and aforementioned ambiguous puzzle, we hit a couple of road blocks that took us a while to break through. This was frustrating but I got great satisfaction when we eventually succeeded. Some will find the printing, cutting and folding a chore, whilst others will find it part of the fun. It bordered on a chore for me personally, but a ready-made version is available to purchase if you don’t mind paying extra for it. I enjoyed the unique design and hands-on gameplay of Humanity 2.0.
Maybe £15 to print this yourself is a touch too expensive. There’s no disputing that a lot has gone into the design and aesthetics of this one and that time should come with a price, but for a game that has no physical parts and that you have to print yourself, it’s just a tiny bit overpriced, to me. But, I thought the game was a solid entry in the play at home space and definitely the best of the paper-based ones. It’s a very good game and, as I’ve already mentioned, has a very earnest level of craft to it. Ultimately, I think if it came printed and precut, I would be happy paying £15 for this one. I just am not a fan of having to put extra effort in to get a game to a playable state!
I’ve slated the £15 price point of other print at home games before, but compared to those Humanity 2.0 has more content as well as an online portal. It also stands out from the growing crowd of print at home puzzle games with its quirky style and tactile puzzles. It is still a relatively high price to pay for what you get, especially considering you have to pay the printing costs as well. There’s a preprinted version available that ClueQuest will post to you, but at £25 that also sounds pretty expensive.
Theming - 7.67/10
Puzzles - 7.33/10
Enjoyment - 7.33/10
Value - 6/10