Break the Internet Review | Congrats! Your company’s new social media site, Sincere Screen, is about to get a big update! Nothing could go wrong…right?
Date Played: February 2023
Time taken: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 4
Escape SC are easily one of the most unique groups of people out there crating escape games because… Well… They’re a university group! Damn, I wish we’d had something like this when I was at university.
As such, it’s always a little hard to talk about the “Escape SC” style, because it changes year on year when new students join the club, and other graduate (hopefully onto a very successful career in game design themselves). But what the group does do consistently is create one, sometimes two new digital games each year, and if there’s one thread uniting all of them, it’s that they’re really, really good.
Break the Internet
Their latest adventure is called “Break the Internet” and poses you, the player, as an unpaid intern for a website about to launch a big social media campaign. Except, the files are corrupted. Too bad your boss is on holiday and can’t remember her password to the laptop she’s saved all the correct imagery on. It’s up to you to fix everything. Find those photos, fix the issues, or risk your internship. So, no pressure, hey.
The story is light-hearted and contains more than a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour! We’ve all had a dreadful internship like this where your bosses think they can just shunt their problems onto your plate whilst they go off on holiday. I’ve no doubt the students at Escape SC are also creating from the typical student experience of sacrificing a lot to get into university, get the best grades, only to be given the most menial and needlessly stressful job ever. Yeah, I’ve been there too.
Sandwiched between a few other more ARG-like games, my regular team of Escaping the Closet (Al, Ash and Tasha) got together to give Break the Internet a go on a calm Monday evening. I’d just finished up with work moments earlier, and was excited to dive into my second shift internship at Sincere Screen. A call from my new boss? Sitting somewhere sunny and sipping a cocktail. Ugh, the audacity of some people. Haha.
Web-solutely Good Fun
In terms of gameplay and puzzles, Break the Internet differs in earlier games by the team such as Science Splice in that we found it a little bit shorter and a little bit easier – but no less fun. We really enjoy the humour and topics they cover, good puzzles are just the icing on the cake. You start at your boss’s desk trying to crack her password based on a number of clues. Then, once you get into the computer, you’ve got to search around for the files to find what you need.
As you can imagine, many of the puzzles revolve around computers – there’s search and find, there’s mathematical puzzles, and there’s a fun amount of interactive ones too. What can I say, I love drawing on the screen. Hidden among those puzzles were memes and gems from the early internet era, neatly tied in with a very realistic “file hunt” game mechanic we enjoyed a lot.
There’s a logical sense of progression and linearity, but at times that linearity is taken quite far. What I mean is, at any given time all of us were working on the same puzzle at the same time. This is part in the way the game is set up, but also in the way that when one person clicks something it redirects for every player. So all of us were, quite literally, on the same page. Without being able to have different players move around different screens at once, we resorted to using screenshots of information from one area to solve another puzzle, and in more moments than not, one person did the bulk of the clicking, whilst the rest of us watched patiently.
If this isn’t an issue for you, then you won’t be bothered by this – and for us, we were doing this room at a more leisurely pace than we normally would, so though unusual, we still found it fun.
Surfing the Bright and Colourful World Wide Web
One of the things we enjoyed the most about Break the Internet were the visuals. Quite simply, this is a really lovely looking game. There’s a lot of care and effort gone into making it pop, from 3D graphics to illustrations, to a bright and poppy internet interface. As with previous games, Escape SC do a lot with a platform like Telescape, typically used for converting physical escape rooms to a digital format, instead Escape SC take the genre of a play at home escape room and create fictional worlds packed with details. It’s a lot of fun.
The team have also gone to the extra effort of having video portions where you’re introduced to the characters of the game, setting the story and breaking up the puzzle solving chunks.
Break the Internet is a fun game. We completed it quite fast – but we still reckon you get a lot of value for your money with this one – at the time of writing, it costs $7 USD to play Break the Internet, but we were kindly provided with a code for free. It would be best played in a smaller group, perhaps even best played solo. Some of the earlier Escape SC games are no longer available, so whilst I don’t know what the team’s plans are for this one – it’s best to play it sooner than later!
Escape the Internet is a digital game and can be booked by heading to Escape SC’s website here.