Argyx Games – Apocalypse: Prelude Review & Kickstarter Announcement

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Location: at home

Date Played: May 20, 2018

Notes: The Prelude to Apocalypse was a mini puzzle game available for preview in advance of the Kickstarter launch.

REA Reaction

Argyx Games Prelude to Apocalypse Episode 1: Sign of the Cross was a fun and challenging lead-up to their larger Kickstarter release.

This was first and foremost a puzzle game. We didn’t need to be superhuman puzzlers to play through it, but we did need to pay close attention and really think things through.

Aesthetically, the game’s story, iconography, and overall vibe had a heavy metal feel that is under explored in escape games.

This well-designed teaser has filled us with hope for their larger game. We have already backed their Kickstarter, which went live earlier this week.

The Argyx Prelude gaming components including a matchbox, a bloody tape measure, a nail file labeled Youtube, and bible scripture.

Who is this for?

  • Tabletop gamers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • English or French speakers (the game is available in either language)
  • People who will not be bothered by demonic references
  • Players with at least some puzzle solving experience

Why play?

  • Clever and compact puzzle design
  • Well-designed game flow
  • Well-thought out hint system

Story

We had received a package from a fanatical serial killer who went by the name Abaddon, the Angel of Death from the Book of Revelation. Abaddon’s package included a collection of puzzles encouraging us to find his fifth victim before he did.

This initial package was the¬†Prelude to Apocalypse Episode 1: Sign of the Cross. The full story will unfold in¬†Argyx Games’ Kickstarter with an intended release of Christmas 2018.

Setup

We had received a collection of items, a few dramatic religious passages, and a letter heralding the death of Abaddon’s next victim.

The collection was clearly homemade, but felt deliberately designed. The items were all in a black, white, and red color palette. The printed materials were on different paper stock, each with a carefully chosen font to match its purpose and origin.

Gameplay

Argyx Games’¬†Prelude to Apocalypse¬†was a puzzle-focused play-at-home escape game with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observation, connection building, and puzzling.

Gameplay required an internet-connected device.

Analysis

+ The puzzles were clever and offered a little more challenge than we had been expecting. I’d put the difficulty somewhere between your average tabletop escape game and an easier puzzle hunt.

+ The paper materials each had a unique feel and purpose.

?¬†Prelude to Apocalypse¬†had a fairly homemade construction. This doesn’t bother me all that much in single-use play-at-home experiences, but I can easily see this being a sticking point for some.

– We struggled with one of the typesetting decisions.

+ I liked the aesthetic of¬†Prelude to Apocalypse. It’s rare to see a hand made puzzle game that has deliberate art direction.

– We hit a snag inputting a solution that we were confident in. When we switched from inputing by phone to inputing by laptop, we had no more trouble.

+ The self-service hint system was structured and segmented such that when we did get stuck, we were able to find a hint that nudged us in the right direction.

? Based on the Prelude, I don’t really have a sense of how strong the narrative will be. The puzzles were good, but felt puzzley. If you’re seeking something akin to interactive fiction, I’m not really sure what to tell you. It feels like there is an intention to tell a story through this game.

+ Based on what we’ve seen from Prelude, we feel confident that Argyx Games will be able to live up to their stated plans and ambitions. Kickstarter is always a gamble, but¬†Argyx Games’ product seems grounded in reality.

+ Given that this was a brief teaser into a much larger game, we’re excited to see what else¬†Argyx Games has in store for us.

Tips for Playing

  • I recommend having a laptop on hand with an internet connection while playing this game.

For more about Apocalypse Episode 1: Sign of the Cross, visit their Kickstarter, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Argyx Games sent us a complementary reviewer’s copy of this preview game.

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