Can you help solve the case? The daughter of a high-profile diplomat has disappeared! The Detective Society have been hired to find her. A story filled with twists, turns and some laughs thrown in for good measure; the deeper you delve into Claire’s disappearance, the more secrets you uncover.
Rating: Fast Paced, Fun!
Completion Time: 1hr
Date Played: 14th February 2021
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Armchair sleuths who want an immersive, real world experience delivered to their doorstep.
I have had this game sitting on my shelf for… Oh my god, MONTHS?! I genuinely cannot even remember how long it’s been, but if anyone wants to do the maths I received it a month or so after the Kickstarter backers did. Literally no excuse for not playing it sooner… Believe me when I say I’m kicking myself for waiting so long because I immediately want to buy Part 2, Part 3 and more.
The Disappearance of Claire Makova: Episode 1 (for it’s full, wordy title) is a game that exploded into the limelight in 2020, created by British company The Detective Society. It’s visually very impressive and super high tech, dipping into the real world in a sort of “I no longer know what’s real and what isn’t” way.
I guess one of the real standouts of the game is that it could not come at a better time. With the whole of 2020 being the pandemic write-off that it was, I’ve seen The Detective Society’s praises shouted from the rooftops for it’s bringing a 5* escape room experience into the homes of players around the world. So why did I wait so long to play it? Yeah I’m asking myself that question too. So if you’re like me and you also have this sitting on your shelf… Stop what you’re doing right now- I mean, finish reading my blog first of course, THEN go play this game right away!
So let’s get into it. The amount of story in Episode 1 is understandably short. This episode serves to set the scene and instruct players on how to navigate the mystery by presenting three short mini-mysteries to be solved. Each of those gives a numerical digit, that then unlocks a ‘final envelope’ containing the introduction to Claire Makova’s case. I say ‘unlocks’ and I actually mean it this time, the envelope is sealed with a padlock. Pretty cool!
From here, you’ve been tasked to track down a missing person who has purposefully gone off the grid. Enter: Claire Makova. You do this by a series of looking through her cellphone records, checking her bank statements, stalking her place of work, rummaging through photos from her flat. You know, the usual legally questionable detective stuff.
The puzzles are a lot of fun too. There’s a mix of treasure hunting, digging through the internet, and actually solving puzzles. I found the first three mini cases to be more puzzle heavy, for example in one of them you have to assemble a bomb (oh hello MI5 agent reading my blog, don’t worry it’s not real!) by solving complex maths and logic puzzles. Compared to the ‘find Claire Makova’ portion of the game, which relies more on cross-referencing data between maps, texts and bank statements. Neither ‘style’ of puzzle is better than the other, but it all mixes together for a fun experience!
The only tiny thing that made me cringe – and I hesitate even mentioning it – there was a “don’t get fat” joke, which felt slightly out of place, especially in these pandemic times. Just a friendly reminder that fat =/= bad and it would be great to leave body shaming back in 2020… But at least our heroine Claire Makova had the peace of mind to reply to the joke with a curt “Go to hell!“
I chose to play this Episode as a team of 1. If you’re looking extra closely at my blog you’ll realise I chose to play this on Valentine’s Day. After a failed campaign of Civilisation board game, my regular Player 2 sat out on this escape game. But dare I say it? It worked really well as a team of 1. Overall just a lot of fun, a very impressive production quality and just enough of a cliff-hanger I’m itching to get my hands on Episode 2. Props to The Detective Society.
The Detective Society Episode One can be purchased for £35 on The Detective Society’s website.