If you’re anything like us (and since you’re reading this, we assume you are), you’re probably sitting at home right now pining away in agony, gnashing your teeth and desperately wishing you could go play an escape room. Luckily for the sake of our stability, there’s been a surge of play-at-home escape games lately to fill the niche, from live video experiences to good old point-and-click. Don’t know where to start? Escape Live have created a whole range of online escape games. We tried out one of their games, Rogue Agent—here’s our (spoiler-free!) review!
Players: Escape Live suggests 1-6. In practise, the only limiting factor is how many people can see the screen, so you could play with more if you wanted, but like any escape room, it might get a bit chaotic with too many people. We played as a group of four, which worked very well.
Length: It’s a self-guided experience with no time limit; we took around an hour to complete it.
Premise: You’re a group of new MI5 agents, tasked with tracking down a rogue agent who’s been stealing priceless artwork around the globe! Log into the Government’s secret online portal and access all the files you’ll need to solve the case.
How it works
If you’re playing remotely, one person will need to log in and share their screen with the rest of the group to let everyone see the game materials. After a video briefing that explains your mission, you’re presented with an online portal full of files you can access. Explore the files, submitting information about the rogue agent as you discover it in order to progress, until you’ve finally tracked the culprit down!
Playing the game involves browsing through a truly impressive quantity of files, documents, and exploring the web pages provided in search of clues. This works well for remote play provided that everyone can agree on what you want to be looking at, since you can only access the game materials from one device—we ran into a couple moments of wishing we’d been able to ‘split up’ and look at multiple things at the same time, but the way the game is set up keeps it continuously collaborative, and means nobody misses out on any parts of the experience.
Theming and design
Our favourite thing about Rogue Agent was the way it integrated the puzzles and the theme. In general, we find that online escape rooms work best when they aren’t simply trying to be ‘a normal escape room but online’, but actually go out of their way to use the online format to their advantage, and Rogue Agent does an exceptional job. The format of the game being presented as an online portal full of files you can navigate around and explore in whatever order you want makes the experience feel very immersive. All the game components are very stylishly designed, and there’s a LOT of stuff to dive into and interact with. Throw in some fun acting and tongue-in-cheek writing that made us laugh, and you’ve got one of the best-put together online escape games we’ve played so far.
Rather than the codes and passwords of a traditional escape room, Rogue Agent relies on you finding details about the rogue agent and inputting them in order to progress. Given a bunch of information, you’ll need to scour through the files provided and put the pieces together to work out what’s going on. The format does mean there’s relatively little signposting in terms of what’s a clue and what isn’t: part of the challenge of the game was trying to figure out which documents could possibly be the clues for which pieces of information. We’re not going to spoil anything, but there were some brilliant ‘Aha!’ moments, most of which involved realising where the game wanted you to go next, and we were always excited to try it out. Unlike most in-person escape rooms, which don’t require any external knowledge, be aware that you might need to do a tiny bit of Googling for this one.
Overall, Rogue Agent from Escape Live is one of the best online escape games we’ve played so far. It’s immersive, innovative, and makes great use of all the potential that the internet has to offer escape games. If you’re missing escape games, this is one you can really throw yourself into exploring. Can’t wait to get started? Get the game here!
LockHouse Escape Games is currently closed. We’ll be keeping up our series of LockHouse Lockdown blog posts—stay tuned for all things escape rooms, board games, tabletop RPGs, media recs, and more. Plus keep an eye on our social media for everything from updates to brainteasers! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so stay in touch!