Quarantini Boredom Escapes: Escape from Catland

In 2001, eccentric scientists Nethel and Malbert Birman began working on a formula to turn people into cats. Shunned by the scientific community for years, their work went largely unnoticed, but more of an interest was taken in recent years when some of their top detractors started going missing. 

Since 2015, countless people known to the couple have disappeared and – around the same time – several cats and kittens have been sighted in or near their home. Help Dr Woofred Barker (VGB) find and destroy the secret turning-people-into-cats microchip… to save us all from being turned into cats!

Ratings

Theming: 5/5
Puzzles: 4/5
Online Interface: 3/5
Fun Factor: 4/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Overall: 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Review

A few weeks ago, on a less than sunny day during lockdown, we decided on spontaneous afternoon escape plans with our good friend Mairi. The first challenge? Well as this was a spur of the moment plan, the key question was which game to choose. We took some time browsing through top new online digital escape games (and saw SO MANY we wanted to try in the process!), but one especially caught our eye from its title alone- Escape from Catland.

Now, we know we very much play ourselves into some stereotypes here, but we can’t help it. We. Love. Cats. I mean, we are big animal lovers, so a dog or bunny theme would certainly be a great way to catch our eye too, but yes the cat theme drew us gay ladies straight in!

We have experienced an IRL cat lady themed room before and it was BRILLIANT (Feline Fiasco at Real Life Games in Ramsgate), so we are speaking from experience- cat themed games are fun! But for any cynics out there, just to reassure you, the theme isn’t ‘twee’- much like with our previous experience, there is a darker side to this kitty story.

The Story

In Escape from Catland, Bethel and Malbert Birman, a pair of eccentric scientists, have been working on developing a formula for years which turns people into cats, and it seems they have now been successful! Apparently their plan is to turn everyone in the world into cats. Now, we didn’t think that sounded so bad- in fact, a life of lounging around and sleeping for 16 hours a day sounds ideal! But, Dr Woofred Barker explains that it is not known how long a human can survive in this form, but the transition is almost certainly a long and painful process! We’re not sure how much we trust WOOFred BARKer’s motivations, but it’s probably not worth the risk… better get saving the world then, hey!

The Tech

The platform for this game is a simple digital one, using point and click and password protection to move you through the story- we’d recommend having a Zoom call set up with any players in separate locations as you’ll need to do a lot of chatting to bounce solution ideas off one another.

The Graphics

The game’s graphics are nice and bright, which we really enjoyed, and it was very easy to get into this game as all the puzzles fit in with the storyline. As a sci-fi room, not only were we dealing with the cat formula, but also TIME TRAVEL! We had to flit between the past, the present and the future to track down what we needed to know to be able to prevent the formula being set out into the world. In the future, we came across human-cat hybrids who were just as sassy as you would expect cat-people to be in giving us cryptic messages to puzzle out. (We think our cat, Tilly, must have come with us to visit this strange future- look at her all dressed up!) 

The Puzzles

The storyline and password protection format meant that this game was quite linear- while there were a couple of puzzles we could work on at a time in places, we generally had to follow through the full story together. There were some really challenging puzzles that took us a while to figure out, and some really original stuff in there. A real favourite of ours required us to use books how we’ve never used books before!

To say that this game is free to play, there is a LOT to it. It is advertised as a longer game that can take from 90 mins to 3 hours, and there is a suggested breakpoint halfway through the game in case you would rather come back to it at another time. However, you can save where you’re up to at any point (just save the URL and password for the page you’re on). Also to note, there is no in-game clock so if you do want to keep an eye on how long it takes you, don’t forget to set a timer on your phone when you start to play.

We powered through and impressed ourselves by getting through the full game in 82 minutes! That was a lot down to some great teamwork as three experienced escape roomers, but it is a challenging game so don’t be surprised if it does take any time within the suggested 90 mins – 3 hours window.

Overall

There are some really paw-some jokes and Easter eggs throughout the game, which we found a lot of fun, and the conclusion to the game is just brilliant!

As we mentioned, this game is free to play, but the creator at Quarantini Boredom Escapes requests that if you enjoy the game and can afford to, to consider making a donation to one of their recommended charities or to your local foodbank. The UK charities they have suggested are:

  • Blueprint for all (UK) – The new name for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, this excellent charity aims to improve fairness and equity in UK society and offers programmes and tangible opportunities for talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities. 
  • The Black Curriculum (UK) – A fantastic social enterprise aiming to improve awareness and understanding of Black British history for children in the UK by improving the UK curriculum and offering programmes to improve social cohesion between young people and to promote a sense of identity and belonging.

We think it’s wonderful that Quarantini are encouraging donations to support such an important cause and we have gladly donated to both charities after playing the game. We love that a passion for escape room games could contribute to help raise awareness and support of a society based on fairness and equality for all- two things that we are very passionate about are escape rooms and social justice!

We really enjoyed this game- what a great one to stumble across on a whim! It is a nice chunky challenge to get your paws into and it’s free to play- what more could you want?

You can play Escape from Catland for FREE at Quarantini Boredom Escapes

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