A puzzle game with a sense of humour, set aboard the world’s most underprepared airline. Help flight attendant Rhys as he wrangles over-demanding VIP passengers, escaped anxiety pets and his own luckless love life. Can you be his wingman? Work with your friends to solve puzzles, crack codes and avert death by discount airline.
Completion Time: 1hr 15min
Date Played: 20th February 2021
Party Size: 3
Recommended For: Anyone who wants a light-hearted laugh.
Fast Familiar make “Interactive Story Puzzle Games”, in short – they’re not really escape rooms! They’re so much better. A combination of audio-drama with puzzles to solve, and a fully interactive environment that looks exactly like the high tech mission control you’d expect from A. I. Airlines (FML Forever! Woohoo). It’s a cut above the rest and needs to be played to be believed!
I had to quickly go back and double check all my other 2021 games but… Dare I say it… This might just be my favourite escape room game of 2021 so far? I didn’t play a lot in January, sure. I had a new job and knowing this, I’d lined up all my posts and reviews from December. But now it’s February and we’re back with a bang 💥
What better a game than this light hearted, funny challenge brought to us by the creators of (again one of my favourite Christmas games) the National Elf Service. It’s the perfect remedy for these troubling times: it jets us off into the sky on an airline headed somewhere no doubt hot and sunny, and it’s comedy gold.
The story goes: you’ve joined the flight control team for A. I. Airlines and have a direct line to Rhys, one of the air stewards. It’s your job to help the flight go smoothly, keep the passengers happy and of course, ensure the plane lands without a hitch. Without a hitch? Oh there are a LOT of hitches, and they make for hilarious puzzles. But as Bad Altitude reminds you at the start… Not all heroes wear capes, some of them push the drinks trolley.
I don’t want to spoil any of the puzzles, because they were all unique and brilliant fun. Each time we came up against a new one there was a real “wow! That’s awesome!” moment. So I’ll just suggest a few questions for thought. For starters, how’s your skill at moving passengers around to ensure that all their needs are met? Are you okay with Goats? How about Karen, demanding to talk to the manager? Could you land a plane in an emergency? The puzzles are all FUN, very fun! A good mix too.
I liked the ciphers best, of course. I love a good cipher sorry/not sorry. But there’s some chunky maths, logic, search-and-find too.
Oh and yeah, I said goats. There are more goats on this plane than you’d expect… That is if you’re expecting zero goats to be on a flight, like normal. There’s also an uncomfortable amount of prohibited items stored in the luggage, seriously who was doing the security for this flight?!
You get to view (and interact) with all of this via your portal. It’s a really slick piece of tech and a joy to interact with each time. There’s a chat function at the side of the screen where all players can not only chat to each other, but also with Rhys himself. Super helpful if you’re like me and have a memory like a sieve! (“What did Rhys just say? Oh wait, he’s sent us a text!”) There’s a control panel at the bottom to input passwords, a keepsake of all documents and important things you may need to open again, and of course a big screen to actually see what’s going on in the game!
One of the coolest things about the game is that there’s an element of choose your own adventure in there too. I couldn’t remember whether National Elf Service featured anything like this, so I wanted to give this a shout out as a big step up in the game development! It left me really wondering what would have happened if I’d clicked the other option.
But the biggest absolute gem for me is the diversity of cast and the normalisation of same-sex relationships. Anybody (and yes I mean ANYBODY) who creates any kind of media has a huge responsibility to champion representation. Its important to see yourself reflected in a positive light within the characters, accents and dialogue you’re consuming. So a huge 10/10 to Fast Familiar for once again being a shining light in the industry.
I played with a team of 3 remotely via Zoom and we were absolutely on fire. All the puzzles I typically struggle with *cough* maths, there was someone on my team able to ace. But solving a cipher quickly? I’m all over it. So my recommendation to anyone reading this review looking to purchase Bad Altitude is to have a well balanced team. But hey, it’s the kind of game you can play with pretty much any team. The creators suggest this for a team of 13+ and whilst there is no swearing or adult content, I’d agree that’s a good minimum age. Truly, the best team is anyone who is up for a laugh. If you’re missing your mates in lockdown (which I am *sniffles*), this is just the ticket.
Bad Altitude can be purchased for £20 on Fast Familiar’s website.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.