Published on July 21st, 2016 | by Dean Love0
ClueQuest, London – Revenge of the Sheep
It’s a weird time to be reviewing Revenge of the Sheep. There’s some super-cool fancy new tech in the room – it’s not a spoiler, because it’s explained in the briefing. Revenge of the Sheep uses augmented reality – you point a tablet camera at something and see it on the screen, overlaid with things that aren’t actually there. It’s pretty cool the first time you see it. But as I write this, the entire country is in the grip of PokemonGO which uses the exact same technology to show Pokemon in real world places. Two weeks earlier Revenge of the Sheep was cutting edge. Now, not so much.
Expectations were very high going in – ClueQuest’s previous two rooms were some of my favourites, and as a general rule room designers get better. And this room had been a long time in the making. Indeed, this was the third ClueQuest room we were playing and was at a third different location, the site having outgrown its two previous homes. The new site has a huge waiting area, presumably to cater for the nine concurrent games they can run, which also features some video games and, blessedly given it’s the hotttest weekend of the year so far, a water fountain!
In an upbeat briefing we learn that for once we’re not trying to escape, but to deactivate a device set to turn everyone in London into sheep in an hours’ time. We’re swiftly off into a very small room, and getting to the second room requires solving one of those puzzles which was right on the border between absolutely brilliant and “I’d never have solved that without help”.
The centrepiece of the main room is a huge mechanical puzzle full of key-holes, hidden compartments and other such fun. It’s cool but it’s not quite robust enough for it to be obvious where manipulating it ends and ‘using excessive force’ begins. Nor did we find any clues or guidelines about how to manipulate it – it was purely driven through exploration. In combination those two factors made it a little unsatisficatory.
There were other really good puzzles in the room, including some using the aforementioned augmented reality, which also plays a big part in the room’s rather dramatic finale.
Overall I really enjoyed the game but it seemed to be missing something. Maybe it was the sense of scale, it was by far the smallest game in terms of surface area we’ve played at ClueQuest, so lacked the sense of exploration their other rooms had. (Of course, there are two copies of this room, so it’s also possible the other one is a bit more spread out). And the augmented reality was neat (and worked flawlessly) but is no longer that impressive. It’s also unfortunate that they have to explain it in the briefing, as it takes away some of the sense of surprise. The whole ‘secret agent’ theme didn’t come across as well in this game either.
And lastly, the hint system – it’s mostly done by a screen, which works well. But hints can also be given over walkie-talkies, which can be fine. But the devices they were using were painfully crap. Occasionally we’d get a hint and through where the sound was so distorted, we’d just look at each other and ask “did anyone understand that?” and maybe attempt to key in on certain words that might provide any sort of clue to what the clue was!
So for me this was the weakest of ClueQuest’s three rooms, though I acknowledge that’s somewhat down to it providing something different that just didn’t click with me.
Result – we escaped with around five minutes to spare
Date played: 17 July 2016
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Alex
Summary: Not the best ClueQuest room, but still well worth playing.