One of our first submissions for Themed Thursday comes from Milton. I’ve left the submission unaltered, and gave my thoughts on it below!
Everyone loves a superhero. We have all been captivated by a certain one since childhood or may have just entertained the idea of having a special power.
Here is how these new superheroes were born:
Escapers begin the game being held individually on a “bed” that holds their wrists, ankles, and waist down. They are all in a laboratory that has been conducting experiments on average people against their will. Throughout the course of escaping the room they discover who has been keeping them captive and for what purpose. The person on the team who happens to have super strength breaks out of them and then frees everyone else. An alarm sounds when he breaks free signaling the guards. The frantic escape begins.
The players have to figure out and utilize their unique special ability as they try to break out of the room/s they are confined in and escape with their fellow guinea pigs.
If time runs out before they escape, the secret facility that is holding them busts out their swat team (the people who work at the escape room) and invade the room.
The key point of this room is that the special power is essential for escape and solving puzzles in the room. At times, two or more powers (and thus players) need to utilize their abilities to finish a puzzle.
Everyone is given a different wearable item (bracelet, glove, earpiece, goggles, etc.) that can act as a sensor representing a different power. Everything given to each player is for that player’s use only. For added realism, player may all have the same various items so it is less intuitive to figure out what your ability is.
Tasks that can only be done by the person with super strength can be done because the environment senses by proximity or touch the bracelet/gloves that he is wearing (ie. “super strength” sensor breaks the chains when he applies pressure to them)
List of possible special abilities:
- Super strength
- Super hearing cause he starts with the earpiece and only he can hear it
- A power that only works when 2 people are holding hands 😉
- Heat touch
- Ice touch
- Facial transformation (can tell what you look like by looking at a mirror that senses the player with the ability, can be used to get through a section that needs a retina scan)
- Electrical manipulation (maybe affect a computer)
- Some sort of special vision
- Telepathy, if it is a split room, one person can have the ability to “speak” into the mind of someone in the other room
Some people will have more than 1 special ability to compensate for a smaller group. For example, a room designed for 6 people, each person has a special ability. If only 4 people play, then 2 of those people will have a 2nd special ability for a total of 6.
For fun, if the super strength guy tries to force open a door, the handle will break (though it doesn’t mean they can’t escape, it would just be hilarious)
For fun, the super hearing guy may hear this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ ☺
The last link given actually leads to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. I don’t know if Milton was trying to Rickroll me or the readers, but I’ve left it as is. I’m actually very fond of the idea of easter eggs in escape rooms – just a little something to reward players who explore the design space further than normal. There definitely has to be a balance concerning whether an idea is a fun easter egg or a red herring though. The idea of the player with super strength breaking the door knob is actually awesome, but I’d be concerned about players not ‘getting the joke’ and thinking they actually broke a door knob.
Overall, I think the idea is great. I’ve considered similar ideas after doing the Hero room at Prison Breakers. I don’t want this to turn into a review of the Hero room, but I did leave feeling like their superhero aspect was exaggerated, and pondering what cool superpowers would be interesting in an escape room. Milton listed several possibilities, but I think it’d probably be more enjoyable to have three or four powers, and to devote your game to finding different ways to express them. If you gave a player with super strength gloves that had NFC tags in them, they could do all sorts ‘feats of strength’. Milton’s example of the chain reminded me of the sword scene from the movie The Illusionist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osb_Fklz5ag). I like the idea of ‘electrical manipulation’ as well. Maybe not something so complicated as affecting a computer, but I think it would be cool if proximity to certain electronic parts of the game disabled them (security cameras/lasers/whatever). Supervision can be interesting too from a design perspective. I’ve seen many puzzles in many rooms where you needed to don glasses to see special text. It doesn’t feel interactive enough though, it might be cool to give a player several types filters. For example, one example might require a polarized filter (http://i.imgur.com/Z9aj2Gi.jpg), while another might need a red filter (http://i.imgur.com/MGQDqSI.jpg), or a third might need a blue filter (http://i.imgur.com/Wx3rL2b.png). The player with that power might have to ‘scan’ through different vision to look for hidden text. You can also hide different pieces of information within the same picture, hidden by the different filters.
Anyways, very cool submission from Milton. LOTS of possibilities depending on where you wanted to take it. Thanks for contributing!