Good times ahead. Looking for something to do remotely with your friends, why not try a virtual escape room? I’m an escape room enthusiast who have I’ve tried most of them in Ottawa. But while social distancing, I’ve decided to keep connected with friends remotely by playing Sector X The BRUCE Project: Part 1 by Bewilder Box.
For all of you in a hurry, let me get straight to the point, buy The BRUCE Project right now. It is not only way cheaper than a regular escape room, but just as much fun (and you can play in your pyjamas).
Below I will avoid spoilers in my review. There are a few images, but I tried to hide anything that would give away how to solve a problem.
Logging into The BRUCE Project, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the past, I’ve done virtual escape rooms, but they didn’t feel the same. Instead, they were more of a treasure hunt for information.
But The BRUCE Project feels precisely like the escape room experience we all love. You will move from virtual room to room, solving puzzles. In each zone, you’ll need to tackle a diverse range of problems that are not only fun but well designed.
To start the game, you’ll need one player to buy it for £15.00 (roughly $25.00 CAD). Then when you are ready to begin, you have the team leader go to the website link provided and enter the game code. The next step is to enter your player name, followed by the team name.
For your friends to join, they will need to do the same process and enter the exact team name you used. To make life easy, I’d suggest a short team name to avoid typos.
A few times while playing, we had some connection issues, with people getting kicked out of the game. Thankfully they can relog in and join the team, but of course, it did increase our completion time. Not that it matters for more, we are just competitive.
Aside from that minor problem, it was smooth sailing for all of us playing on a computer.
The game itself is well designed. What I love is you don’t need to screen share so that everyone is looking at the same thing, the escape room handles it all for you. Once you log in, each player will get a colour (it shows at the bottom of the screen).
Each user’s mouse icon will then be that colour, so you can see where everyone is clicking. Also, everyone is always looking at the same thing. For example, if I clicked a button, everyone would see the new pop up window.
What this means is you can’t divide and do different things. Instead, it forces you to work as a team. I found it strongly enhanced the experience and helped me to feel like my friends were there with me. It also made it effortless to ensure everyone was looking at the same puzzle and doing them together.
As an escape room veteran, I’ve seen a massive range of puzzles, and I was highly impressed. Hilariously, the problem we took the longest on was telling the difference between the sheep and cow sound.
To complete the game, it took us a bit under an hour with a few periods where we waited a few minutes to log back in.
The experience it such a steal. For a team of $6 people, it is under $5 (CAD) a person.
Our team already can’t wait to pay for BRUCE Project: Part 2. I still can’t believe how well this game recreated the in-person escape room online. I think it might be tough for another company to do a better job. I can’t rave about it enough.