Fire Hazard Games: The Hunted Experience review
|Could you go on the run? Change your habits, change your appearance… how would you evade capture? In a world in which your every move is tracked and your every decision monitored, could you avoid being caught? Inspired by the hit Channel 4 TV show and brought to you by the production company behind the format, now it’s your chance to get Hunted. The Hunted Experience sees ordinary members of the public act as fugitives, trying to outwit a team of hunters. Using the streets of London and your phone, fugitives will be helped by a friendly contact and her collaborators to evade detection and reach the extraction point. Success is not assured; fugitives will have to solve encrypted clues, collect and bank crypto-currency and gain the trust of the contact, whilst always staying one step ahead of the hunters. You will need to work together, work fast and work cleverly.|
|No difficulty level stated|
|£33-38 per person depending on team size|
|Liverpool Street, east London|
|Played by Daiman, Jenny, Paul, Bharath|
|Daiman and Paul reached the extraction point, coming 8th
Jenny and Bharath got captured
|This game is no longer running|
It’s a street game so the theming is as realistic as you can get! So why not higher? I guess, for me, there were elements of the game that could’ve been better – the introductory area was a bit naff considering the property as was the finale area. Best way of putting it is that it very much felt like a game inspired by the show rather than feeling like the show itself. Your mileage may vary…
We were really looking forward to playing this game, however, we were a little disappointed that this was just a twist on the Citydash experience that Fire Hazard already run. However where they excelled to the theme of the TV show was that you did feel like you were on the run, especially when you had to be quick to find the destinations on the map before they disappeared. Whilst this was going on we were also being tracked by the hunters who were dressed as ordinary civilians so it was really hard to tell who was friend or foe. Whereas with Citydash the clues are permanent and the chasers were easy to spot.
I particularly liked the parts where we had to visit the other players in hiding. The toughest part of this game was banking the cash you collected on missions. Sadly we got caught before we were able to bank it so ensure you make this a priority when you play!
I feared this would just be an exact copy of Fire Hazard’s other game format Citydash which we have played before (and enjoyed). Although there’s a lot of similarities, it’s more refined and adds some new features to the mix to link it to the Hunted TV show. For example, the hunters are now plain clothed so you can’t easily tell who they are. Only for the last 15-20 minutes are they actually trying to capture you. The rest of the time they are trying to steal the virtual currency which you are collecting to pay for your extraction. It’s a shame the actual hunted part is so short, but I can see why they’ve done it – you don’t want your game to be over after just a few minutes!
Hunted Experience is sponsored by OnePlus and there’s no getting away from it. You are constantly reminded about this, from the OnePlus phones you are given to use to the constant references throughout the game. It’s a bit overkill which spoils the experience slightly.
When we first booked this experience, I did wonder how close and realistic it would be compared to the TV show “Hunted”. I knew it would never be up to the same production values, but with what they did have I think they did well. There are some very similar comparisons to the show, but just not to that grand scale. The aim of the game was still the same, to get safe!
I think the problem with the gameplay here was that it was too monotonous. Absolutely don’t get me wrong, it was fun to play for sure but it was basically doing the same thing over and over for 90 mins. Sure there were strategic ways of playing it but there wasn’t the variety that you’d get from an escape game – find a cash spot, solve a riddle, rinse, repeat. They had a few ancillary activities to perform but they were just enhancements to the game rather than substantive moments in their own right – the banking of cash for example…
The game itself was very dependant on the OnePlus phone the company provided. The phone was needed for the map, the clues and the missions you were sent on. We were having a lot of difficulty with this so, in the end, we were having to use Google Maps on our own phone to find locations. As the OnePlus phone was your alert to the hunters, be careful not to forget to keep checking their locations as when they are near they can steal your cash and freeze your play for a few seconds.
We often struggled to find certain locations as some of the clues were near others on the same street and if you put the answer in the wrong one you would lose the location and be forced to move on. The puzzles were made even harder by only giving you a few minutes to solve the clues to earn the points. A fun element of the gameplay is you are sent on secret missions that are different to the other teams. These help score you bonus points which are so needed, just remember to bank your cash!
Lastly, in the latter half of the game, the hunters are on you with no warning and it wasn’t long before we got captured. This part was fun as we had to do the walk of shame back to base in front of the winning teams, which included two of the other goats! Whilst I really enjoyed the game, I feel the GPS and map guides need a lot of improving!
Think of this as a cross between Pokémon Go and Hunted. Using GPS and Google Maps, you have to locate stickers with codes on which are dotted around the vicinity. Each team are shown different locations so you aren’t tripping over each other. Once you enter a code on your phone, you have 2 minutes to answer a question relating to the area around it. As well as adding a bit of time pressure, it ensures you can’t cheat by guessing the codes. The questions weren’t too difficult, but the time limit made them trickier. At one point we had just 2 seconds to spare which created a bit of panic!
If you answer correctly, you get geocash to help pay for your extraction. You then have the option to bank it at a designated transfer point to guarantee it, or continue on for more geocash but risk the hunters stealing half of it if they get too close (your phone warns you when they are near). This adds a fun dilemma as you work out when the best time to bank is. You are helped by friendly contacts during the game with teams getting differing options or challenges. The ones we got were fun and helped our game.
The intensity is cranked up when you are notified that the hunters are now chasing you down to capture you and end your game! Of the 27 teams we were with, 11 got captured. The team reaching the extraction point with the most geocash wins a small prize. This all worked extremely well.
One annoyance was their map wasn’t as easy to use as standard Google Maps as you had to drag with 2 fingers and couldn’t see the direction you are facing. The other issue was at one point we had 3 buttons all with the same road name and there was no way to know which one was for the code we had found. I randomly picked one but it was wrong so cancelled it, which removed that option from our phone. The same thing happened on my second choice. This meant we were given new code locations so our planned route was ruined.
At the start of the game you are given an Android phone which has the map, messaging service and the bank account/wallet showing how much geocash you have. The map is what you’ll be looking at the most. You may also get phone calls too, so be alert as they will direct you to the side missions. One thing I want to mention is the phone itself. I found it kept on locking out constantly, however I’m sure there is a setting on the phone to amend this. Also, the map was not always accurate and so didn’t always put you in the right place. At times we resorted to using Google Maps instead as the map on the app was frustrating.
You have to constantly be on the lookout for hunters. You are never sure who they are. For the first hour of the game they are shown on your map but in the last 30 minutes you lose that advantage. Geocash can be earned at checkpoints by finding a sticker with a code on it. You have to type that code in. Once in, you are given a quick puzzle to solve in 2 minutes, this is to ensure that you are at that location. When you have earned the geocash from solving the puzzle it goes into your wallet on the app.
You then have to bank it at particular checkpoints. The hunters generally operate at these bank checkpoints so timing is crucial. Also, its not a quick transfer, it can take a few minutes. If a hunter finds you in the first hour, the phone gets suspended and you get points drained from your wallet until you get away from the hunter. Once it’s in the bank, the geocash is safe.
If the hunter finds you in the last half an hour then you are out of the game. Planning your route and deciding when to cash in is very important. During our game we had a choice of cashing in our geocash or getting to the safe house. We took the riskier option and it didn’t pay off, we got caught! There will be times where you may have to run so you have been warned. Also to keep you on your toes, the available checkpoints to earn geocash keep on changing. This was a clever idea as it got you to move around, strategise more and stop different teams being at the same checkpoint at any given time.
Despite my qualms with the game as mentioned above, it’s undeniable that it’s an incredibly fun time. They’re clever in dispersing the teams so you never really get much of a sense of competition; you feel alone and it creates some awesome moments of panic-inducing paranoia when you spot someone who doesn’t look quite right just milling about ahead of you. Trying to figure out your next move as you’re constantly watching over your shoulder is something that everybody should experience!
I really enjoyed the intensity of the game. You had so many elements to be on the lookout for that it did feel like we were being hunted. I really liked the encounters with the secret agents when on the missions as that gave me the sense we were playing a game rather than the usual Citydash. Sadly I couldn’t score it any higher as I feel the phone you are supplied with should be a lot more advanced on the maps and GPS. The poor quality of this really frustrated me and ruined some of the fun.
I love the TV show, so I was very excited to play this. Thankfully it didn’t disappoint. The fact you couldn’t trust anyone as the hunters were plain clothed made for a fun experience as no doubt we ran away from tourists at times! There are cool extra touches like the hunters taking and sending videos of us which intensified our paranoia. You’re also offered a mid-game challenge where you are sent to an office for a bonus task, which varies between teams. We had to make a video taunting the hunters and throw them off our scent. The end of the game is such a climax when the hunters start chasing you down and you’re running for your lives. If you’re a fan of the show, book it now because this is a must play!
The thing that I liked were the side missions to earn extra geocash as they stopped the game from being linear. They provided an added level to the game compared to other Citydash games that we have played and they were fun to do. Also the way they are done makes you question on who you can trust. Tactics are very important in this game too. It brings an element that you never normally see in these experiences.
Though I definitely believe that more could have been done with this considering the affiliation with the show, it still stands up as a solid piece of entertainment. If, like us, you fancied a brief respite from escape games, this would definitely do the job – it has the same DNA whilst very much being its own beast.
For a 90-minute game, the price is good for the time. The experience is well linked to the TV show and the mission element is fun. I feel with better equipment this game would be amazing. If you wanted something cheaper, I feel Citydash would work just as well as then you only have your own equipment to blame.
Comparing this to a standard escape room, £35 is a decent price for a 90-minute experience with a briefing and debrief on top of that. As it’s set on the streets of London and requires a lot of staff and complex tech, it must be hard to plan and maintain. Hunted Experience is extremely well thought out and delivered, with only a couple of minor negatives.
This experience is more about stealth and tactics than anything else. You constantly have to be on your guard. There is value in this experience due to the intensity it given even from the get go. For the price you pay, you get 90 minutes of gameplay rather than the typical 60 minute escape room. As you are in teams of 2 you also get more involved in the gameplay and tactics. It’s also nice to be outside and see a bit of London, just hope you get to go on a nice day.
Theming - 7.25/10
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Enjoyment - 8.5/10
Value - 7.75/10