Mad Experiments: Escape Room [Review]

First-Person Cluer

Developer & Publisher: PlayTogether Studio

Date Played: Early June 2020

Platform: PC, Mac, Steam

Duration: about an hour

Price: $9.99 on Steam

Group Size: 1-6 players

REA Reaction

Mad Experiments: Escape Room was a beautifully designed room that had excellent multiplayer integration. As someone who has been missing real-life escaping, this first-person video game experience was a convincing stand-in.

The puzzles, however, could have used an injection of creativity. Too many of them relied on tired escape room tropes for finding keypad passcodes.

Because Mad Experiments had such a robust multiplayer offering, I would have liked to see it take more opportunities to use cooperation between teammates.

PlayTogether Studios delivered on presentation and provided solid gameplay, but left me wanting more from the puzzles. Regardless, I’d recommend checking out Mad Experiments because they have just released a second room, making the $10 price point a better value.

Who is this for?

  • Video gamers who want to try escape rooms.
  • Room escape fans who miss the social aspect of doing a physical room with friends.

Why play?

  • Beautiful design
  • Multiplayer integration

Story

Professor Cheshire and his assistant Hildeguard had invited me to their mansion to participate in an experiment of some kind. Or perhaps I was the experiment? The story was conveyed solely through Cheshire’s disembodied voice chiming in each time I finished a puzzle.

Setting

Mad Experiments took place in a massive room of the professor’s mansion. It had lots of fascinating items in it. The owner was clearly a collector of books and beautiful things. The fireplace also provided a lovely glow for examining the clues I found.

Gameplay

Core gameplay centered around searching, puzzling, and making connections. Left-clicking an item allowed me to inspect it more closely and spin it around. Right-clicking zoomed in my view of whatever I was looking at. Holding the left-shift button allowed me to crouch, although crouching wasn’t necessary to find any of the clues.

The puzzles were linear with easy to moderate difficulty.

In multiplayer, each player was represented as a floating mask. Each player could swap out their mask for a different one in the lobby.

Analysis

➕ From the decor, to the lighting, to the props and set pieces, everything was simply gorgeous. The lighting, textures, and electrical effects worked together to make the room look real and beautiful.

➕ The physics of the room all made sense: objects had the proper weight, buttons pushed in a realistic way, and looking into the room’s convex mirror gave a nicely distorted perspective on the room and my own mask.

➕ The voice acting, music, and sound effects were all top-notch. Mad Experiments had personality and a cohesive style.

➖ In one instance, I solved a puzzle only to uncover redundant cluing for another puzzle in the room, as though the creator had added the additional cluing to a challenging puzzle rather than further refining what already existed.

➕/➖ There was a clever perspective shift near the end of the game that took advantage of the multiplayer aspect, but was still solvable by a solo player. I was disappointed that multiplayer gameplay didn’t factor more into the puzzles, and it’s likely that the solo player accommodation is the reason.

➖ I was able to take some books off the shelf and pick up some of the lovely antiques in the room. Considering how fascinating they were to examine, I wished these were used more in the gameplay.

➖ There was an empty cabinet followed by a door containing two clues. I wasn’t sure if this was a ghost puzzle or just a moved clue. Either way, it didn’t need to be there.

Tips For Players

  • Mad Experiments is in Steam Early Access right now, which allows for game developers to work out any problems before an official release. That said, I didn’t run into any bugs. PlayTogether Studios plans to take the game out of Early Access this month.
  • Use your mobile device to run FaceTime, Skype, Discord, Facebook Audio or one of the many other voice chat apps to talk to your multiplayer teammates. In-game voice chat was not a feature of this game and frankly that’s fine.
  • You can play with or without a 60-minute countdown timer. I recommend “without” so you can check out the cool stuff in the room and not waste any time. Your time will be displayed at the end regardless of the option you choose.

Buy your copy of Mad Experiments: Escape Room and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: PlayTogether Studio provided a sample for review.

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