District 3: Something Brewing review
|You and your friends head to a coffeehouse before the celebration. You soon find out that something is brewing, and your evening takes a turn for the worse. What crucial decisions will your team need to make, and what major outcome will that lead to?|
|CA$23.10 per adult|
|Online (based in Regina, Canada)|
|Played by Jenny, Paul and Bharath|
|Failed to escape in time, taking 62 minutes|
The bio for the game is quite vague with only a mention of a visit to a coffee shop before a celebration. Not knowing what the celebration was, it was hard for me to score the theming. That being said, our host (who played the game for us through instructions using the online software) did keep in character as a barista throughout. The game started in a coffee shop setting. The room was decorated well, with the images and props making you feel like you’d entered a Starbucks. The first stage of the game used the set well and all puzzles were linked to the coffee shop theme.
From the bio, you knew something was going to happen and once that section started you found yourself in the back offices which held a dark twist to the story. The game was clever as even though the scenery and story changed, I liked the way you had to keep venturing back to the coffee shop to key in solutions to keep on theme. As I don’t want to spoil the game, I can’t divulge the twist. The scenery and design in the latter stages were a lot more creative and the game became a lot more interesting than just playing in a coffee shop!
Maybe it was due to playing this room through a screen, but the game area seemed so big. Our poor host was running around quite a lot during the game! As we played virtually, the quality of the set seemed better than it may have done if we were in person, as it did seem to me that some of the walls were torn and colours were starting to fade. However nothing spoilt the gameplay and I can’t fault the efforts District 3 have put into this game.
We played the live avatar version of the Canada-based escape room Something Brewing. It’s hosted via Telescape and Zoom which allows us to see and interact virtually with the physical space and certain games. The game is set in a coffee shop that’s hiding a surprising secret. The theming was on point, looking just like you would expect with coffee making facilities, cakes, signage, counter and branding.
Our host was great, passionately in character as the barista on shift at the shop. There are multiple rooms and floors to explore, from shop front to back office to the unexpected. There’s an evolving story to the game and the puzzles incorporated into the theme well. There’s also a game-changing decision to make midway through that dictates which tasks you end with.
This game had a high difficulty rating and it was soon clear to see why. There were so many challenges that you were constantly having to keep on your toes to look for clues. As our host was effectively our eyes and hands in the game, we were reliant on his descriptions throughout to look for solutions. The software District 3 use is very clever as you are able to zoom in and play some of the challenges on the screen before asking the host to copy in the room.
As there were a lot of challenges to do, sometimes we would break off to look at solutions on our own. I’m sure if you played the game in person, this would happen a lot more than it did playing it virtually. There was a game that required parts to be assembled, which you needed to find around the rooms. We are pretty useless at this, so our host may have helped us significantly on our time here! The puzzles were a great mix of logic, skill and lateral thinking. We got stumped on one and after the hint from the host, we were very embarrassed for not getting the solution on our own!
As if there wasn’t enough to do, there’s also some side puzzles which help get you additional badges. Sadly we were short on time so didn’t get to play many of these. The best thing about this game is that the direction you take is all based on a key decision you make as a team. It’s that good a twist that you can play this game twice as it has two endings and different challenges to play to escape.
There’s a varied range of puzzles on the menu, involving observation, logic, decryption and hands-on (via our host). Not all of it lends itself completely to remote play, with the hands-on and visual aspects suffering slightly, but Telescape helped to get around these issues. This is District 3’s hardest room and we did find it challenging, needing 2 hints at the end and still overrunning our escape by 2 minutes. I’m grateful that our host extended our game so that we could experience the ending.
They have a scoring system where points are awarded for finishing the game in time, along with completing secret achievements and using fewer clues. We scored 32 which is the second highest score possible without escaping in time, but we are still well down the leaderboard.
My main regret on this room is that we played it virtually and not in person. It had everything for me; a great set design, a nice mix of puzzles, some quirky fun ways to solve the challenges and a big space to run around. That being said, our host helped keep the enjoyment level through his jokes and comments throughout the game, meaning that even when playing virtually, enjoyment was still possible. The only real flaw I can see is that due to the amount of games, I feel a lot of solo play is required to get through all challenges at hand. This sometimes can spoil the experience for others.
As I’m sure you can get from my earlier comments, this game is all about the twist, which added to my enjoyment of the game. So much so that we’re very keen to play this again to see what happens if we made a different decision. I’m trying to convince the other Goats to go to Canada to do this in person for the second play! I highly recommend this room, especially to the more experienced gamers!
I wish I could have played this room in person as it involves some cool exploration and hands-on tasks, but seeing as it’s based in Canada, the online version allows me to play a great room that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Considering the tactile aspect of the game, it translated pretty well to a live avatar game with the aid of tech. This was a fun hour spent.
Based on the current exchange rate, this room works out at £13 which is an absolute bargain for the size and complexity of the game. I have played games for twice the price in the UK and didn’t have half as much fun! District 3 has created a great room here, and I salute them for making this possible to be played online as well as in person. Whilst it may not seem appealing to play a room based on a coffee shop, don’t let this put you off as it’s all about the twist!
The cost per adult, including tax, converts to around £13.50 which is a very affordable price for a real room with a live host. Plus it’s a great room to boot, with a fun and unique theme, decent puzzles and an expansive location. Don’t let their basic website fool you, this was a quality game. I would definitely recommend experienced players to visit Something Brewing!
Theming - 7.67/10
Puzzles - 7.33/10
Enjoyment - 8/10
Value - 9/10