YouEscape: Electromagnetic Fields (#3) review
|Those fools! They thought you could never build your own submarine! But here you are: King of the seven seas! The only problem is that your compass seems to be broken… You should probably fix it before you get lost inside your own kingdom.|
|2-4 players recommended|
|Difficulty level not stated|
|$30 per team (one-time or monthly payment)|
|Online (based in Athens, Greece)|
|Played by Daiman, Paul, Bharath|
|Escaped with 10 minutes remaining|
4/10I think it’s fair to say that the theming is on par with the previous YouEscape game that we played and it’s clearly the area that leaves the most room for improvement. I’ve been thinking about this A LOT and, considering that YouEscape produce a new experience every month, is it reasonable to expect a massive investment in props? The trade-off seems like an acceptable deal, regular new games in lieu of high-quality props (that you’re not able to, obviously, physically interact with anyway) but it wouldn’t be thorough to not highlight the low-fi nature of the items encountered in the game. It doesn’t impact upon gameplay but just be aware that the environment is significantly less detailed than a bricks and mortar room.
4/10YouEscape’s third instalment works on the exact same principle as their first one. Read my review on that for full details but to summarise you play online and guide your host via webcam to solve the puzzles on a table, with the aid of digital files that are sent to you. As with their first room, the theming to the physical space is very minimal, with just the puzzles and documentation bringing any level of cohesion between the theme and game. We’re supposed to be on a submarine, but at one point we’re watching a video of a house fire which confuses the story. Some of the props are pretty basic, especially the paper with handwritten text on, but as you don’t manhandle them yourselves, it’s not a big issue.
8/10To me, the tasks in Electromagnetic Fields flowed much better than in Magnum Opus but I’m not sure whether that’s just because, being the second time around, I was more adjusted to the style of YouEscape. It seemed to me that we played much better as a team in this game and that speaks to the puzzles engaging us and encouraging teamwork. There’s a really simple job to do near the outset that can be achieved way more efficiently if you work together and that set a good benchmark for the following 90 mins. We also slowed down at points but didn’t get utterly stumped at any moment, contributing to the flow I mentioned earlier.
8/10Like with their first room, there’s 4 puzzles in total, with each one being multi-staged. You again need to make use of various web pages and online tools to help you solve them, requiring you to switch between multiple tabs to piece all the information together. The puzzles are all completely different from their first room, and their difficulty level has been ramped up, which is shown by the 50% longer game time. There was more information to take in this time, which is the main reason for the longer length. The puzzles are logical with the real-world parts being mostly physical and the online materials being mostly search orientated. They are again fantastic, providing us with lots of ah-ha moments.
8/10Yeah, you know, it’s weird. It sounds like an odd thing to do but you’d be surprised at just how quickly it felt as though we were all in the same room, playing a physical game somewhere. I would be more than happy playing a new one of these every month, even when escape rooms reopen. I think the presence of a live host sets this apart from similar experiences, it’s a very close facsimile of the real thing, and the fact that physical barriers are irrelevant here, there is little excuse to dip the toes!
8/10We had a few technical issues this time which got us off to a spluttering start. One Goat struggled to get his mic working on Google Hangouts and another didn’t receive the Google Drive link for the files. This is the downside of online escape rooms as you need decent technical knowledge for if things go wrong. There were also times when one Goat was behind the rest and we had to work out what stage they were on so that we could help guide them onto the same page as the rest of us. But once we worked our way out of these issues, the game worked really well and was a joy to play, full of excellent logic puzzles. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes though due to the techy nature.
9/10As with the last game, considering how close this replicates a live game, the value is absolutely indisputable. Other than an improvement in theming (which I’m not sure would be in YouEscape’s interests given how frequently they spin out new challenges), there’s scant comment I can offer here. It’s totally worth the price of entry and I highly recommend giving YouEscape a go.
9/10YouEscape is a really affordable way to play an escape room, costing the same price for a team that it would for a single person in a real-world escape room. It might not be great on the eyes with its low budget props and decor, but it’s great on the brain with its multitude of fantastic logic-based puzzles. Let’s be honest, this isn’t as good as a real escape room, but it’s a great alternative for when you can’t afford one or can’t visit one due to disability, Coronavirus lockdown or distance. Top tip: when you enter Google Hangouts, change the picture quality to HD as it makes a big difference to the YouEscape feed, helping to make the contents more legible.
Theming - 4.7/10
Puzzles - 8/10
Enjoyment - 8/10
Value - 9/10