Edaqa’s Room: Prototype review
|You’ve applied for a new job, an amazing role as a game master at a brand new escape room. Alas, a mishap has you trapped in the very room you’re supposed to run. Can you get out before the vampires* come?
*There are no vampires, but you might get hungry if you take too long.
|Around 90 minutes|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|$12.50 per team introductory price ($17.50 regular)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 84 minutes|
Clean is the first word that comes to mind. It might seem basic but the design was uncluttered, drawing your eyes to the right places. Also, the concept of playing an escape room is certainly a unique one, almost critic-proofing it in a sense – if there’s a logic leap in the game, is that intentional? It’s definitely an interesting setup!
Prototype is an online browser based point and click escape game. It’s the maiden creation from Edaqa, an escape room enthusiast. First impressions made it look like a simple game designed for children, but there’s a lot going on behind that childlike hood. The premise of the game is original, with us being recruited as escape room assistants who end up getting trapped inside the room we are running. This doesn’t really translate into the actual game though.
There are multiple rooms to explore and secret spaces to discover. They are nicely designed and uncluttered, allowing you to focus on the puzzles. Unusually, this game has multiplayer capabilities which give you the option to play simultaneously with remote friends. It allows everyone to explore the space on their own terms instead of having one person control the game and share their screen. When you purchase Prototype, you are sent a unique URL. Everyone playing just needs to open that link on their laptops or tablets and then you can begin your collaborative game.
I was pleasantly surprised by some of these. There was one puzzle in particular relating to music that stumped us for a while despite the fact that we’d clearly noticed everything that we needed to in order to solve it. The design here was smart enough to give us all the pieces but not hand hold us through it. That was a standout for me. Some I missed which we’ll get onto in the next section but overall, expect a fair, logical suite of challenges here.
Don’t let the childlike graphics and tasks fool you, there is some grown up puzzling to do here! Expect observation, maths, decryption, collecting and of course logic. The puzzles are well designed and there are some clever ideas which I’ve not seen used before. There’s also an inventory to store and view the items you find along the way, a chat facility so you can message your teammates (if in multiplayer mode) or leave yourself notes, and a help section with progressive hints if you need them.
Though I had a fun time playing this one, there was one aspect to me that appeared a little flawed. If you’re playing with others, the game provides a link which you all use and can control independently. So even though we were sharing one screen, you were able to play on your link and affect things in the game. One of our team got a bit carried away and completed a couple of puzzles on their own which took the enjoyment away from the game slightly.
To be honest, it’s the one advantage I think online games have over their physical counterparts, the fact that they force everyone to work together. It’s something that would happen in physical games too where you’d turn around and someone’s magically solved something.
It’s an interesting feature to have but if everyone’s doing different puzzles on their own links, it does raise the question of why should people even get together to play it full stop?
All that said, everything else about the game is great, from the tidy design to the robust puzzles, I would just, personally, remove the feature that allows players to play independently. I’m sure others will have a different view on it!
We tried multiplayer mode but it got frustrating as one teammate went rogue and solved some puzzles on their own. When he solved one, a message popped up letting us all know something had been achieved, but I didn’t know what was solved or how, which left me a bit lost. If you go multiplayer and want to see the whole game, do it with team players and ensure you all work on the same task at the same time. Apart from this issue, Prototype was a pleasure to play. It was both tricky and satisfying in equal measures, with enough variety to the tasks and settings to keep the game fresh throughout.
At the moment the game is $12.50 ($17.50 normally) per team and it’s absolutely worth that price! My only quibble might not even be an issue for other people and, even then, it absolutely shouldn’t put people off playing. At the end of the day, Prototype is a fresh concept with a neat design and puzzles that are a joy to play.
I’ve played quite a few point and click escape rooms now, most of which being free. Prototype is on the higher end of the quality spectrum and is the first game of its type that I’ve seen with multiplayer functionality. The introductory price of $12.50 seems fair for what you get – 90 minutes of good gameplay and clever features – but the normal price of $17.50 feels a little steep for a single use game. I don’t know when, or indeed if, this will move to the normal pricing.
Theming - 6.67/10
Puzzles - 7.33/10
Enjoyment - 7/10
Value - 7.33/10