Ok so it’s not really an escape room, but it may be the closest you will get to playing one in your own living room. I expect you to die is made by Schell games, and available on PC for the HTC vive and Oculus rift, and on Ps4 VR. This review will focus on the Ps4 version, I would love to try the PC version but unfortunately don’t have an Oculus yet, however I imagine the game play is very similar.
“I Expect You To Die is a virtual reality puzzle game that places you in the well-polished shoes of an elite secret agent. You must attempt to survive deadly situations in immersive, dangerous locales.
Complete each operation using problem-solving skills and wits… oh yes, and the power of telekinesis! Use it and whatever resources you can find to escape each situation, or die trying.” – Schell Games
I was so excited when I discovered this game, I downloaded it the second I got home, and was actually disappointed when I completed it. I would recommend it to anyone who has access to a VR headset and Ps4/PC, whether they have played escape rooms before or not – I tell everyone to buy this game I love it so much. The game looks amazing, and with the viewpoint being first person, it really feels like you’re in the game. Playing the game in real 3D feels as though you are actually in those situations yourself, and as with most VR games, I find myself trying to put real life objects down on the virtual surfaces, only to have them fall to the floor, or forget im in my living room and end up hitting the wall whilst im trying to open a drawer.
So the story is, you are a secret agent, and you are sent on several missions trying to stop the evil Dr Zor. After a very well done intro scene, with a very catchy song (don’t skip the intro, and remember to look behind you now and again!) you start the game in your office. You complete a tutorial in the office to get used to the controls (which can be a little tricky at first, but I promise you will get used to them) and let’s you interact with everything in the room. It’s a seated game, so to overcome the issue of reaching things in the distance, the game designers decided to give you telekinesis, and you practice that a lot here. You can play this game with a controller, but I very strongly recommend using two move controllers, it makes the game so much better, a lot easier to control and much more immersive as it feels alot more like you are actually picking up and interacting with things yourself.
As the title says, expect to die ALOT in this game, it is almost inevitable that you will get yourself killed in one way or another, shortly after starting your first level, meaning you have to start the level again, but this time with the knowledge that shooting yourself in the head with that gun you found WILL kill you.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the levels, if you do want to know more about them, you can find a lot of information online, and there are a number of videos on YouTube with play through’s of the game. The main reason I don’t want to go into too much detail, is that just like a real escape room, a big part of what I loved about this game was at each stage being put into new scenarios and having no idea what they were or what would happen. The only one I will mention (as this is the one most commonly used when advertising the game) is the first level. In your first mission, you start off in a vintage car belonging to Dr Zor, which is in a cargo-bay of a plane. Your objective is to drive the car off the plane, to do this, all you need to do is open the bay doors, start the car and drive it out…sounds simple right? Wrong… There are a number of ways you can and will accidentally get yourself killed, but I’ll let you find these out yourself. The key to this game is looking for objects, interacting with them and finding a way to use them. In each stage there is a correct order to do things, and playing the game I found myself really thinking about each thing I was going to do. You can use all the objects you find, flip open lighters and light a cigar, put the cigar in your mouth, put on a hat, clean a window… You can even turn round and pick things up from behind you. Like any escape room, things are hidden which you will need to look for, opening drawers and cupboards, checking books and looking for secret switches.
It can take a while to figure out how to complete a level, but after you have successfully completed a level once, you can solve the stage pretty quickly if you play it again, meaning the game doesn’t have a huge amount of re-play value, but you do have a few things you can still do, such as completing the speed-run for each level, which can sometimes mean having to play the same stage over and over again to get every action you do timed perfectly, if you mess up just once you are unlikely to beat the speed-run time! This was actually quite fun, and a little frustrating missing the time by a few seconds, or getting almost to the very end and making a mistake, but came with a huge sense of achievement when you managed it. There are also hidden achievements in each level, which usually involve doing different things within each level that you may not usually do in normal gameplay (putting a hat on a bear for example), the name of these achievements gives you a clue as to what they may be, but some were still tricky to figure out, each time you complete one, a spy theme plays and you will unlock a related item from that stage that will appear in your office. Even after all these, you still have the fun of making your friends play the game and laughing at them as they blow themselves up.
I enjoyed playing this game so much, the only downside to it is that the initial play through can be completed in a few hours, which means all the surprises are gone pretty quick, if you’re careful, you can complete the game quicker by not getting killed as much, if you rush into things and try out everything in each level then your game will last longer. The game has 4 levels, but the developers are currently working on more, which should be available soon!
(In game photos from Schell games)