Deadlocked: The Insiders review
|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. Go solo or gather your closest confidants to take down The Insiders before they go world-wide. The Insiders is a unique, play-at-home escape room spanning across multiple days, and 3 ‘episodes’ of approximately 90 minutes each. Story-heavy, immersive, with oodles of challenging content, designed by us to keep you playing for hours at a time!|
|3 x 90 minutes approx|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|£9.99 per team (can be redeemed against the cost of one of their live escape rooms)|
|Online (based in Reading, UK)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul, Bharath|
|Completed all 3 episodes in about 5 hours|
7/10This mostly worked for me. You are tasked with sniffing out a mole in the Wexell Corporation and the majority of the game follows along those lines. You connect to servers, engage in espionage and do a bit of ‘physical’ tracking. A fair amount of this is done in the ‘real’ world, interacting with genuine websites in an attempt to reveal the mole’s identity. It was the paper moments that slightly let things down for me. By their very nature, though well designed, these parts clashed with the aesthetic established elsewhere. They also slowed things down in the moments when the team waited for me to cut out and assemble certain pieces!
8/10This is a three-part adventure that you’re supposed to play on separate days, but we binged them all in one go during Deadlocked’s one-off Facebook live stream. A lot of time and effort must have gone into this impressively sprawling creation that combines both online and offline tasks. To find the mole at Wexell, we had to visit both real and specially created websites to search for information, perform tasks and send messages, as well as solve logic puzzles that we had been sent beforehand. A highlight for me was scouring social media for information to hack into an email account as it felt so natural and realistic (as well as a bit unnerving!).
8/10For a play at home game, The Insiders was incredibly ambitious in scope, providing a variety of tasks to undertake. There’s something for everyone here, from word searches and crosswords through to scavenger hunts on the internet with a whole host of challenges in between. A feature in the second half of the game required cooperation amongst the team and it would’ve been nice to have more sections that required a collaborative effort as these parts provided the closest facsimile of a bricks and mortar game.
7/10This is a varied mix of logic puzzles, internet sleuthing and bespoke interactive web apps with some unique and clever ideas. Overall the puzzles are well thought out and the right level of challenging, but two of them dragged on too long and became tedious. One involves using Google Maps and the other is a very tricky app that requires a crazy amount of multitasking that would be super difficult if playing on your own. But these are the exceptions and the impressive apps and scale along with clever ideas like the YouTube video and email hacking help set this apart from the competition. Although I would have preferred if this was designed so that a printer wasn’t needed at all.
7/10As mentioned, the theming is mostly there (demonstrated by the above image!) and there’s a real assortment of activities to carry out. Where the game faltered slightly was in the pacing at points. There were two stages where this reared its head; a puzzle involving switches and another incorporating maps. Both were fun and immersive, complementing the theme of The Insiders perfectly but they outstayed their welcome, running to a point where it felt as though we were going through the motions. Your mileage may vary! To add to this, we played the game as part of Deadlocked’s live tournament and playing all three chapters in succession (each estimated at about 90 minutes of playtime) definitely contributed to fatigue. My view on it may have been different had we spaced each chapter out!
7/10Ideally you’d have a printer so that you can draw on and manipulate the offline materials, but I managed without one by taking screenshots and using Microsoft Paint. It’s also better when you’re physically together, but we used Zoom and shared my screen which proved quite effective. In hindsight, playing all 3 episodes in one go wasn’t the best idea as it ended up being an epic 5 hour marathon that left us drained, not helped by the logistics of being apart from each other. You should space them out as Deadlocked recommend. But I did get great satisfaction when we eventually completed the mission! The varied tasks were fun to complete, apart from the issues mentioned earlier, and I loved the inventiveness of them.
10/10We had a long chat about this – I’m incredibly reluctant to award full marks to anything as it suggests that there’s no room for improvement. But, the fact remains here that you get roughly 4-5 hours of well-designed content for just £9.99. The kicker, however, is that if you buy the game now before Deadlocked reopens their physical locations, you get the price of The Insiders deducted from your next booking of one of their live games. So, this essentially makes the game free if you’re inclined to visit Deadlocked in the future. I’m just not sure how else you can really beat this for value…
10/10At £10 per team for a 4.5ish hour experience, it’s already quite the bargain. But the fact you you can redeem the cost against one of their live escape rooms once they’ve reopened effectively makes this free! They are planning to increase the price once the lockdown is over though so purchase The Insiders soon if you’re interested. It’s not just affordable, it’s also a clever and varied experience that covers both offline and online worlds. It’s better suited to those with both a printer and some IT knowledge though as it requires editing URL’s and contains some IT terminology which might put off technophobes.
Theming - 7.67/10
Puzzles - 7.67/10
Enjoyment - 7.33/10
Value - 9.67/10