A missing investigator … A lost treasure … A sinister conspiracy.
Completion Time: 3 Days
Date Played: 26th of July 2020
Party Size: 1 (+2)
Before I begin the review, I want to issue a quick content trigger warning! This game is set in the immediate post-WWII era and uses real historical people in it’s narrative including senior Nazi officials. You, as the player are retracing the steps of a missing treasure hunter searching for lost Nazi Gold. Gameplay involves researching and studying real life articles from, of, and about Nazi Germany. Players will also encounter references to “torture”, “assassination” and “death squads”. Some players may find these topics distressing.
Extraordinary Investigations: The Morgan File is super realistic! For sure, it’s called a ‘Puzzle Novel’, but I’m not sure where the history ends and the fictional ‘novel’ begins? Which feels so refreshing! I love learning new things whilst I play and The Morgan File strikes that balance that very well.
You, the latest recruit to the XIU (Extraordinary Investigations Unit) are given an exciting cold case. A treasure hunter gone missing and a peculiar trail left behind in his wake. All you’ve got to help you is the collection of evidence in each chapter of the book and an online portal where you can document your findings.
As someone who has worked in investigative roles, I cannot emphasise the ‘realisticness’ enough. Yes, this is exactly how it works in real life. You have to use google, a LOT. You don’t get given the correct answer, you need to figure it out. Wikipedia will become your new best friend. This book gives you all that. Can’t figure something out from the evidence? Well, you’d better be prepared to go into the internet archives and find what you need there.
It’s really unique in that way. Yes, I am aware of the arguments in the escape room / escape game world to “keep all knowledge needed contained within the game”. But I’m also aware of the opposite, “be realistic, let players research themselves.” Extraordinary Investigations: The Morgan File is a great example of the latter.
Since it’s an escape room ‘novel’, don’t be daunted by my long time spent on the game. It’s the kind of thing you can pick up and put down again with absolutely no obligation to complete in one go. In fact, some of the puzzles will definitely be better solved once you’ve slept on it. After all, Extraordinary Investigations doesn’t offer any answers, only clues. If you get stuck, you just need to keep at it!
I’ve marked the game as a DNF because well, I got stuck! There were 3 puzzles throughout which I found fiendishly difficult. One of them I emailed the creator to ask for help, the other 2 had a finite number of possible answers, so easy enough to guess. I know… I know! It’s not in the spirit of things, but sometimes you have to think outside the box. I wanted to see the game through, by any means! 😉
At some point in the future, I’m going to return to the game and try to crack those last few puzzles, but for now I had enough to write for the review and wanted to get this post out to celebrate it’s recent launch. In particular, I reckon this is a good gift for all the ‘dads’ out there. So I might just rope my old man in, with his superior knowledge of WWII history!
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.