Marketing Tabletop Puzzle Games on Kickstarter — A Case Study
Escape Rooms Durham: Mr X | Review
“Agent, our HQ is shut down, and we are all having to work from home! Despite this, we are still being taunted by Mr X. We need to track this dangerous individual, firstly we need to find out his Surname. Can you take on the job?
Completion Time: ~40 minutes
Date Played: 5th of April 2020 AND 26th February 2021
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Solo players, especially fans of riddles
Okay so I’m genuinely cross with myself that it took me A WHOLE YEAR to review Mr. X because, if you look at the timestamp, it’s literally one of the first play at home escape room games I ever played. I’d even go so far as to say it pioneered the whole play-at-home genre!
I was so excited when I discovered it, and promptly shared the link with almost everyone I knew in my phone contacts. Having finished gushing about it to my friends, I opened WordPress, clicked “New Post”, wrote the title and then forgot to come back to it… Oops!
In order to write this review one year on, I’ve done a rare thing… I’ve gone back and played Mr. X again! I mention this only so you consider this when you read my review – it’s based partly on my hazy memory of playing it a year ago, and the fresh memory of playing it, well, just this morning.
I don’t recall if the game changed at all between my two play-throughs, I only know that a lot happens in a year. Specifically, I’VE changed. Hey! Playing over 100 “at home” escape rooms does funny things to your brain. We’ve all changed this year. Still, I’d like to do my best to try and capture the wonder I experienced the first time round. So here goes!
Mr. X is what I’ll refer to as a ‘first gen’ play at home escape room. I don’t know if that’s the correct terminology, but by this I mean it relies on the relatively low-tech password box on the website. It also relies on the internet to solve each clue – one of the best thing’s about play at home games – your phone isn’t locked in a locker just outside the room. *Gasp* you can Google it!
In particular, Mr. X is location based. Kinda like a MASSIVE online treasure hunt that’ll take you literally to all corners of the globe as you search for landmarks, restaurants, escape rooms and more. The best thing about online treasure hunts? Riddles! Yes, okay I loved this about Mr. X! The story didn’t completely make sense, but heck it made me feel like I was running round the city with cryptic riddles in my hand looking for literal buried treasure and that’s worth a double thumbs up. *stares out the window at the national lockdown*
There are six clues in total. Each clue could take you around 10 minutes to solve, making it an hour game. In reality, it took me a little less time, most likely because I was expecting the style of puzzle the second time round. The riddles aren’t super hard, but without Google you’d be relying on a lot of pop culture and general knowledge such as country’s national icons, musical artists and rough geographical distances from cities to cities. Nothing you can’t Google, of course!
Overall, this game was impressive back in 2020 and it still lives up to expectations in 2021 which is a huge testament. It’s completely free to play, short and sweet and activates all sorts of puzzling parts of your brain. I would (and did!) recommend this to pretty much anyone, but especially if you want something a little different and riddle-heavy to help you escape from the lockdown.
You can play Mr X for free on Escape Room Durham’s website for free, though if you enjoy playing, donations are encouraged.