Published on September 14th, 2018 | by Dean Love0
Marvo Mysteries, Bournemouth – M.A.R.V.O Induction
It’s fair to say there was a lot of pressure on Marvo. It was the reason for our trip to the south coast, a game that’s eluded us for a while by virtue of just being so far away, yet spoken about in hushed (or sometimes very loud) tones by fellow bloggers as one of the greatest games in the country. It was certainly the only game in the country spoken about in this way that I had not yet played. The reason I point that out is that I find myself disagreeing: it’s a great game, but it’s not quite up there with the best for us.
There’s a story that sets it all up, that certainly evokes the right sort of feelings: fairy tale mysteries in the modern world, steampunk, some magic and objects that do weird things. It complements the visual design of the game well (which is very strong) but we found the actual story itself hard to follow. During the introduction we were introduced to a girl trapped in a mirror and we’re still not sure what happened to her!
Partly that’s because this is a very fast-paced game. There’s a lot to be done and we constantly had the sense of being on the move and pushed for time. Luckily there are two systems in the game that really help with this. Firstly, keys and codes were labelled with a symbol matching the puzzle they related to, which meant the game made a lot of the connections for you, leaving you to puzzle out exactly how to use A on B, rather than wondering if instead you have stick A in Z, do a dance then then throw it at E. Secondly, there’s a handy thematic hint system using cards that will nudge you in the right direction if you get behind.
There’s some really cool physical puzzles in the game, and lots of Rube Goldberg-style interactions in the room, where you will set something off that has a clear visual effect that plays out, and triggers something else. But there’s also some really uninspired puzzles too, with a few that just feel like busy work. Process puzzles like these often feel really out of place in games with such elaborate designs as Marvo, just because no-one wants to be the one sorting reams of paper print-outs while the rest of the team are playing with lasers.
The game comes to an end in a pleasingly dramatic way, and left us happy and content we had played a really good game. There’s just a few niggles that, for us, meant it wasn’t quite an exceptional game.
Result – we escaped in around fifty minutes
Date played: 24 March 2018
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: A really great game with a few bits that didn't quite work for us.