Escape From Home: History Re-written review
|Our online game takes place in the past and the present. Ever thought you’d like to alter history? History Re-written Inc. are looking for people like you.|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|£10 per team|
|Online (based in UK)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul and Bharath|
|Completed in 1 hour 51 minutes|
The timing of this review is uncanny after the last post was for the text-centric Medogan. This game has a similar focus on the written word with puzzles and key items being the exception. Fundamentally, the difference between the two experiences is that the atmosphere was lacking. It was very much hopping from one place to another, solving a puzzle and moving on.
The one thing that I did like about this game was the educational aspect of it. The plot has you visiting events in history and preventing tragedies from occurring and the best puzzles were those that used details from those points in time.
I love the premise of this play at home puzzle game, which is something different from the usual themes. You travel back in time to try and right the wrongs from real life past events. It reminded me of 90s TV show Quantum Leap. We were transported to a varied range of situations that needed us to save lives, but it wasn’t done in a macabre way. The basic design of the website hurt the immersion and gameplay though. It’s a mostly online game, but you do need to print out 3-5 pages for manual manipulation.
This is a difficult one as, to some extent, History Re-Written suffers from being one of the later games that we’ve played but, with the exception of the first puzzle, everything else is something we’ve seen before in one form or another. This problem is amplified by the fact that they very much feel ‘dropped in’ rather than designed to fit the narrative.
Can I also say, we did debate this and the others didn’t think it was such a deal that I did (because they don’t have to do it probably!) but asking players to print and cut mid-game is a big no-no to me. It interrupts the flow and, if you’re playing remotely, puts the pressure on the person printing/cutting to do it as quickly as possible. We didn’t bother this time as we figured out an alternative to printing but please make these available so that they can be prepared ahead of time.
The first half of the game contained observation and logic puzzles that I’ve played before on other play at home games. The second half had new material, but they were a bit ambiguous with multiple potential answers. Without an obvious answer, we had to either try everything until we stumbled on the right solution, or visit the clues web page for help. We just about managed without using a printer so that we could play online remotely, but it caused delays and we had to get a couple of clues that we may not have needed otherwise.
The combination of issues I had with the theming and puzzles led to this experience being underwhelming. In all fairness, I did ask myself whether playing this earlier in the wave of online games would have made a difference here. To an extent, it may have done and I fully recognise that but, at the same time, the lack of theming and puzzle book feel to the flow is something I don’t think I would’ve been enraptured with whenever I played.
I didn’t enjoy this game as much as I would have liked because I had either played the puzzles before, or found they didn’t have clear solutions. But the former point is only an issue if you’ve played a lot of play at home games. Another downside was because you don’t get the materials you need to print upfront, you need a readily available printer to use mid-game which also breaks your flow. What I liked most about History Re-written was the idea of going back in time to change real life events and the fact you get to learn some history along the way.
There’s no denying that there’s a decent amount of gameplay here. So, on that hand, the asking price isn’t terrible. On the other, this game does nothing special at all and there isn’t anything to make it worth recommending in what is becoming a very busy market. I did like the real-life time travel aspect to it and feel like that could be a good hook for future adventures. With better puzzle integration and an interface that’s more interactive and fun to engage with, there’s potential here. History Re-written comes across as the first draft of such a game.
Although it has its issues, £10 is still not a bad price to pay for a game with a decent amount of content, a unique theme and the potential to gain some knowledge at the same time. If Escape From Home can iron out the issues with the puzzles and improve the website design, they could be onto a winner here.
Theming - 5/10
Puzzles - 5/10
Enjoyment - 4.67/10
Value - 5.33/10