Identify (Breakout Manchester)

Game Date: 5th March 2020
Game Number: 45
Price for Two: £46/£40 Peak/Off Peak
Website: https://breakoutmanchester.com/

Game Outline
Your friend has been murdered! You know who did it, but the police do not believe you. In a desperate attempt to find justice you have invaded the killer’s lair in the hopes of finding the proof to bring the killer to justice. However, the maniac could return at any time. Gather the proof and send this killer to prison before he returns. Do you have what it takes to identify this psychopath’s other victims?

Arrival and Introduction
Breakout have two venues in central Manchester and we were playing two games at their High Street site, which is approx a 5 minute walk from their other site out on Church Street. We have always been happy with the welcome we receive from breakout staff and this was no different today. Given our midday, midweek slot, we entered onto an empty reception area and waited until our time slot (we have turned up early as always). There is a vending machine in the waiting area and an array of puzzles and games around to keep people occupied. We met our GM and she led us into the room for our game briefing (something I am not a fan of) and then even left us there whilst she turned off the music so we could speak – an odd thing to do given we had not started the game! We did chat about our favourite games and she did make the health and safety brief, well, brief which is always good when you have played enough games to know it by heart.

Gameplay
As the story suggests, you have found the killers lair and this is where you start the game – in a rather bare living space. These sorts of games are always difficult to theme well as you don’t allow impressive centre pieces or hugely immersive decorations, however, the room did make you feel like you were in a living room which is a start. It is clear that this was an old room with plenty of signs of wear and tear around the room. We had heard from another visit to Breakout that this room was open with plenty of things to be getting on with and so we immediately started searching around.

Puzzles were mainly observation based with most of them needed small jumps in logic to get to the right answer which cause us a great deal of frustration within the room. Its one of things that if you get it straight away you can breeze through the puzzles but it is very easy to get stuck and frustrated. There was one puzzle that required outside knowledge which I do not think should be needed in a room, not a major issue but an issue all the same. We actually missed the entire puzzle for most of the game before a clue gave us the answer.

About half way through the game we hit a dead end and spent a good 10 minuets back tracking though the game and asking for a clue before one eventually came. We had asked clues to be delivered as and when the GM thought we needed one, but we got very frustrated that clues were not delivered when we asked for them.

One thing I really liked about the room is the way of tracking your progress through the game. It was immediately obvious from the start and was worked on from the begin to the end of it.

Outcome
We Identified the killer with just over 8 minutes left on the clock. Clues were delivered via a screen that also tracked your time as well. We took a number of clues throughout the game fro a variety of reasons – search fails, logic leaps and lack of direction. I will be open and say that we struggled with this room which was a shame because we prefer open games to linear ones. There was a lot in the room that could be a puzzle but ended up being just there for decoration and we were potentiality guilty of falling for these red herrings. Pearl was our GM and was friendly, knowledgeable and professional (just a shame that I my mind she waited a few minutes too long to give us a clue – especially after we asked for one a number of times but that is just my personal opinion)

Credit: Breakout

Overall
I believe I am right in saying that this was one of Breakouts earlier games and you can tell with some very dated decoration and theme with plenty of searching that was rife in early games. That said, it is by no means a bad game and one that can be completed very quickly if teams make the right logic leaps at the first attempt. We got frustrated at various points throughout the game and that certainly impacted our enjoyment of the game. The game is playable as a two, but perhaps three/four may be better as the game is very open.

Customer Experience: 3 out of 5
Themeing: 3 out of 5
Gameplay: 3 out of 5
Enjoyment: 3 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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