Agent Venture: B.A.D. Side of the Moon | Review

This is it, the grand finale. Confront Bozo on his Moon base, and foil his evil plans once and for all. The fate of the Earth is in your hands.

Rating: Exciting!
Completion Time: 58:20
Date Played: 10th April 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: A well balanced (in skills) team of 4-5 players!

We’re back, Secret Agents! The dream team is reunited for the grand finale in the Agent Venture online series. After playing the previous Cyborg Island way back when in October 2020, we finally made time to journey to the moon! Just in time by the looks of it, the evil supervillain Bozo has been hiding out all this time just waiting for an intrepid team of secret agents to take him down.

This time round we were joined by our fantastically funny host, Agent Grace who really brought the experience together! So how did we do? Let’s get into it:

The Story

In a dramatic exit from Cyborg Island, Bozo escapes our clutches and goes to hide out… On the moon? That’s right, there’s a super evil base up there and an even eviler mega laser beam primed and ready to destroy the world. Or at least, I think that was the story. It’s important not the sweat the details, we were mainly here to arrest him.

I think at each chapter the plot gets a little more bizarre. We went from a regular, run of the mill heist, to an island that turns out to be a secret cyborg factory to, well, the moon. Kinda like your classic platformer video game from the early ’00s, you’ve gotta have a moon level, right?!

The Experience

You and your team play the ‘eyes in the sky’ guiding a secret agent on the ground (or rather, in space). Each of you will have a specific role:

  • The Hacker – responsible for ‘hacking’ doors open and obstacles in people’s way by solving series of quick fire puzzles on their screen.
  • The Researcher – they’re given the most information and must quickly sort through a lot of red herrings to figure out what information is needed for each level
  • The Navigator – this person is your maps guy, they see the base in all it’s detail and have the main responsibility for guiding Agent Venture around their environment
  • The Communicator – this person’s job is to lie and blag their way through social situations, armed with emails and phone records, they can phone ahead and spin a tale that grants entry
  • The Co-Ordinator – this person oversees everything!

In this game I took on the role of The Researcher. I like reading and I suck at a lot of other things, like making phone calls, reading directions or maths puzzles. So it worked out well!

All play at home Agent Venture games are played in Zoom, but unlike a lot of ‘remote avatar’ games you aren’t controlling an avatar per-se, in fact it’s all done via audio description, like an incredibly intricate and awesome TTRPG. This means there’s a huge element of choose-your-own-adventure and what’s more there’s a good amount of subjectivity with both the environment, and the puzzles that involve interacting with the host. I enjoyed this a lot though! No correct way of doing things, only YOUR way which will be completely unique from every other group who has played the game.

In this particular game, there’s two distinct parts. The first part you’re doing a series of ‘long’ puzzles to help disable alarm systems and make the end game easier. The second part is where the pressure ramps up by 5,000% – the more you solved earlier the easier this bit will be.

We’d solved about 4 puzzles before the end game, giving us at least 50% left to solve, but it worked! With some speedy collaboration and everyone working as fast as they could – we did it!! We made it out in time.

I rated the first in the series one of my all time favourite games, I didn’t do the same for #2 – likely down to the fact we didn’t escape in time. But I really felt like B.A.D. Side of the moon was the most polished of the three games and that’s why it’s back up to 5* in my books. Oh, escaping in time did help!

The Puzzles

Overall the puzzles rely a lot on collaboration. There’s no one puzzle that just one person can solve, unless of course you count the mini-puzzles the hacker takes care of. What I mean is, you’ll have one part of the information, another player will have another part, and so on. Some puzzles involve ALL team members, whereas the large majority involve only two.

The good thing is, you can choose which puzzles to do and they’re labelled in advance with which role will have to play the biggest part.

As the Researcher, the puzzles I encountered largely revolved around ‘search and find’ e.g. get a large amount of text, split over a few documents, and sift through to find the relevant part, often fragmented. One puzzle in particular that was one of the puzzles labelled as Researcher-heavy, stumped me a little. But then again it involved ratios and maths and a lot of text. But, you’re encouraged to share your screen when stuck so that everyone can weigh in.

Overall

Good fun, honestly! Of the three, I think The Heist was still my favourite, but I’d put this down to the format being super novel and us acing it as a team. It’s absolutely true the games have improved over time, so the series is best experienced in it’s totality and I’m super glad we all made it to the end (and saved the day!).

Agent Venture, before lockdown started, did real life immersive experiences and I’m hoping that some day post-lockdown they’ll bring those back. If the online experiences are anything to go by, I reckon they’re one to watch!

Agent Venture can be purchased for £12+ per player on Agent Venture’s website.

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