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Meridian Adventure Co.: The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg | Review
The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg Review | In the unlikely event something goes awry, you’d probably be embroiled in a comedy conspiracy across the town and its websites, cooperating with your group in live games, puzzles, and challenges and maybe even saving the world.
Date Played: 9th September 2021
Number of Players: 3
Time Taken: 1hr 30min
On a quiet, rainy Thursday evening here in the UK our team (consisting of Alice, Nick and Mairi) all logged in to our virtual tour of the small town of Little Sodaburg. Little Sodaburg is a relaxed seaside town, home to a beautiful castle ruin, a great river, and the factory of the universe’s most popular soda drink (that’s fizzy pop to us Brits).
In this self-described Choose-Your-Own-Advent-Tour, we could explore any part of the town we wanted, hosted by our enigmatic Sodaburg tour guide (Jessica Lachenal). So off we ventured, fully expecting to enjoy a fun hour long walk around the town then return home in time for tea. What could possibly go wrong?
The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg
Little Sodaburg was founded in the late 1300s and prides itself in it’s town slogan of “The Town With the Effervescent Essence“. This reputation comes from the largest employer in the area: Wahoo Fizz! The factory sits proudly in the North East of the town, truly putting this whole area on the map! Folks just can’t get enough of Wahoo Fizz!
Little Sodaburg also famous for having a very small, cute and fluffy dog mayor, who got to wave at on our tour!
Hello there Little Arfarf! 👋
But hold on a moment. I hear you asking:
“This isn’t actually just a tour of the town, right?!“
No! This is a brand new at-home escape room experience from the geniuses at Meridian Adventure Co.
Time Travel is Fishy Business
Your true goal in The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg is to uncover a terrible secret about the town and if you can, reverse it and save the world. To help you, you have the power of time travel. Sounds strange. Bare with me on this one.
What begins as a lovely tour around a peaceful town quickly devolves into a web of fishy conspiracy spanning hundreds and thousands of years. We found ourselves plunged into an immersive, theatrical experience like no other! We raced through history to find clues and other details on a series of detailed web pages and interactive online elements, all whilst chatting to a cast of quirky characters including a cleaning robot and some fishy world leaders.
Beyond this, the less said about The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg the better. The experience is utterly wacky! We had no idea what to expect going in, and at every moment in the story no idea what could possibly happen next. To an extent… Whatever would happen next was up to us! It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Advent-Tour, remember!
On the one hand, for sure it’s a linear story with a neat beginning, middle and end. But considering, it felt very unscripted. If we’d suddenly done something unexpected, Sodaburg would have adapted around us. Perhaps its one of the best examples of interactive fiction (or at least, simulated so) in the at-home escape room industry today!
Getting Around Little Sodaburg
Let’s talk about the technology for a moment. To create this whirlwind adventure, Meridian Adventure Co have built a browser based digital interface and wow – it’s robust! The game offers inbuilt video chat, and each activity automatically adjusts to support the number of players (2-6, in case you were wondering).
There are a number of components to the gameplay. As well as your video chat, players have multiple text inputs, and the game provides a series of links all players must visit. At first I assumed these were just static links we all had to look at separately. However, as the game progresses it becomes apparent that these links we’re given are completely collaborative!
The whole feeling of the game, with it’s choose-your-own direction, interactive elements, and unique web pages had the feeling of an adventure played out on Roll20. There were realtime maps with characters moving around the screen, and clickable interfaces that sent items and keywords to one another via otherwise regular looking websites. The cherry on top? This game involves Time Travel. Revisiting a website which I’d assumed we didn’t even need anymore reverted it to a different era version of the site. What a fun Easter Egg!
For sure, if I’m putting my cynical hat on for a second, this is a Games Mastered game. There’s probably a little bit of smoke and magic going on behind the scenes that us players don’t see. But this experience was nothing if not utterly immersive and delightful at every turn.
Puzzler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg
In terms of puzzles and difficulty, we found The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg on the easier side. This works perfectly for a game like this however, giving players time to easily move through puzzle-roadblocks and get into the brilliant narrative and gameplay. In short, the puzzles serve the gameplay and are at a level accessible to all rather than being difficult for difficult’s sake.
Typically in our review we’d give a couple of notes about what sort of puzzles to expect, so you know to look out for in case of accessibility. But again, to admit any of the puzzles here would be spoiling the fun. So we’ll say this: expect to work together in your team. Expect to hack and dig through the internet. Expect interactivity at all times. But most importantly expect to really enjoy yourself.
The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg is easily one of the best games we’ve played. Period.
It’s hard to still be impressed this far into lockdown, hundreds of ‘at home escape games’ later… And yet every single element of Little Sodaburg was delightful and innovative. It’s funny, it’s light-hearted, and it’s packed with hidden details. There’s also a strong element of self awareness. For all the fun in the game, it leaves you with an important message about the global climate crisis too.
If you only play one more at home game ever again in your whole life, make sure it’s The Traveller’s Guide to Little Sodaburg.
Thanks for reading our The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg review.
The game can be booked directly on their website here.