Control the Escape: Astronomical Oxygen Disaster

After orbiting space for three months, you and your team of astronauts have found yourselves in a tricky situation – oxygen supplies are rapidly depleting! Somewhat fortunately, you are aware of a back up supply held elsewhere on the spaceship. Find the oxygen tanks and make sure it’s quick!

Rating: A Real Treat!
Completion Time: 30 minutes
Date Played: 1st September 2020
Party Size: 1

I get a little nervous whenever I’m told I’m playing a game for the first time … Astronomical Oxygen Disaster JUST came out and I’m all a flurry of excitement getting my hands on it first after reading such fantastic things about their first game: Villainous Vaccine Ventures.

Having finished (and saved my crew along the way!), I can safely say it is the opposite of it’s title: As in, it was not a disaster – it was brilliant! (Bear with me, trying to make a joke! Haha). Seriously, jokes aside I was genuinely really, really impressed with this game. It has done something … Dare I say it … I’ve never seen before in an online escape room? I honestly loved it!

With a very simple interface and introduction, Astronomical Oxygen Disaster wastes no time before putting you in the driving seat of a space station orbiting Earth. In a massively overlooked mistake, your vessel is about to run out of oxygen and it’s up to you to find the backup tanks and activate them. Whilst not technically on a timer, you must still complete the task as quickly as you can. Your crew’s lives’ are at stake here!

What follows is a really, really cool hands on navigation around a series of real life spaces as you point and click your way through the puzzle. It reminded me a lot of old point and click games (I’m currently playing the Sherlock Holmes series for example) but this felt a lot cooler because its real! Click left, right, up down, or zoom in closely to read the details of what you’ve found. There are audio elements to the game, as well as an interface were you can input the codes and passwords you find along the way.

Effectively, if Google Maps was an interactive escape room, it would look a little something like this! I just love the idea that the clever creators of Control the Escape have physically built an escape room in their office space but only need to set it up the one time because it lives on forever online. Whats more, for the price it’s an absolute steal! It makes sense though, without the overhead costs of a traditional escape room, Control the Escape manages to be completely affordable but still include exciting puzzles.

Plus, did I mention there’s fun references and little hidden details in this game that will give you a laugh? Why yes, that’s a picture of Boris Johnson – don’t forget to look out for your own country’s overlord hidden in the game for a quick giggle.

In terms of puzzles, they’re very escape room-ey. By that I mean you find something, to use it in another place, to use that in another place and so on. I might be the only escape room player in the world that literally carries all the clues I can find around with me, but this game gives me a similar vibe. My notebook open has 2 full pages of notes from solving this one! But yes, in terms of puzzles there’s a computer to hack, a simple morse code to decipher and a very cool puzzle with a periodic table. Nothing too tricky though!

Before I sign off the review, I would probably categorise this as an amateur escape room, but if you’ve read my previous reviews (for example, Endgame by Russell Tolley), I kinda love these ones best? So much love and effort. What they lack in expensive marketing campaigns and flashy equipment they make up for with enthusiasm to get a good product onto the market!

Astronomical Oxygen Disaster can be purchased for £6.50 from Control the Escape’s website.

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