The Department of Secret Services require your assistance on a top secret operation that will entail high level espionage, an undercover mole and a killer cocktail.
Completion Time: 35 minutes
Date Played: 17th August 2020
Party Size: 2
So in my ‘real life’ (sounds funny to say it huh?) when I’m not playing escape rooms, I’m a murder mystery game writer. Not just that, but an ex-mixologist with a big thing about cocktail design. Oh, and did I mention I’m slightly obsessed with spy novels and places like Bletchley Park? You can see where I’m going with this … Cocktails, Spies and Murder MUST be a conspiracy to design the perfect game for me? And, you know what? They pretty much nailed it.
First and foremost I have to talk about the design of Cocktails, Spies & Murder. It’s in a league of it’s own in terms of slickness and usability. Its also just a really unique experience unlike any other play at home game I’ve played. You start with an online portal and a brief dossier of information. Who you are, why you’re here, and who the compromised secret agents are. You then download a cocktail menu (it’s relevant! In fact, the whole reason you’re here!), and enter your online portal. As the screenshot above indicates, you work your way around the venue picking up clues as you go and looking for evidence.
The creativity doesn’t stop there. There’s a Main Mission, and a Side Mission. Well, technically to complete the game you still have to play both missions. But you can choose which order you play it in and they both enrich the larger story! Like cheese on toast. The story goes, a secret agent mysteriously shows up dead in the ‘Escape & Tonic’ bar. They’ve been poisoned by a specific cocktail … It’s up to you to figure out which one on the menu. Or, take on the side mission – it’s time to track down the rogue, killer agent.
Beyond this, the game play is actually fairly simple. Daunting at first, as you work through it you realise the instructions are quite clear. Find ingredients, then find 7 numbers. Simple enough! There’s a mix of puzzles I’ve seen before, and puzzles I’ve never encountered, which always sparks joy! At this point in lockdown, I can practically read morse code and binary without looking it up. But using 3D goggles you can move around the screen? Now THATS cool. Hidden maths puzzles in a map of the UK? Very creative! I love anything that’s more than a little interactive and more complex than a cipher. Cocktails, Spies and Murder had a little it of everything.
One thing I should mention is that I did manage to accidentally solve the Main Quest too soon. I won’t explain specifically how I did it, because once you see it you could easily accidentally solve it too – and I’m not in the business of spoiling a game for anyone! But, it might have helped us score particularly well on the leaderboards.
All in all, Cocktails, Spies and Murder lives up to the hype. It was a well rounded game with outstanding graphics. A fun way to spend an evening with a drink or two.
Cocktails, Spies & Murder can be purchased for £9.99 on Questventure’s website. At the time of writing they are running a promotion with Letterbox Cocktails.