The criminal magician Mr. Hocus is back in town!
In The Secret of Hocus, we have to infiltrate his secret theatre, find his ultimate magical W.M.D., destroy his power and release the world from his malevolent grip~~
.And we died.
We failed miserably in The Secret of Hocus. This is one game that we spent the full 45 minutes just working out the physical puzzles. There were about 2-3 physical puzzles that required a lot of trial-and-error of the same physical challenge: labyrinth and fishing stuff from really tiny spaces. By the end of it, we were exhausted already. The biggest issue with game designs like this would be that likely 2 players would be engaged in working out the physical hurdle, leaving the rest of the team waiting endlessly for them to succeed.
Don’t get us wrong. Despite having trouble with the physical puzzles, we really enjoyed the game. We love the idea of continuity of the plot from the previous game, the Chamber of Hocus, with a grand finale to finish it all (if you didn’t die like we did). The goal is familiar and believable, like watching a adventure, fantasy movie. The brainier puzzles are on the easy side, mostly consisting of collecting and matching some clues to numbers, or sudoku-like puzzles, with a dose of mysticism thrown in. There was no issue of being under-clued, illogical, or having any distractions. That said, sudoku-like puzzles can be somewhat arbitrary to the plot.
Aesthetic-wise, we expect nothing less than perfect from Breakout, all polished and grand. Carpentry is always the strength, with many wooden contraptions keeping you busy. Artwork is impeccable as the norm for Breakout. Lighting is used to create a dramatic victory in the final moments. However, the use of sound in altering the ambience is still lacking. So, the whole game has been a little quiet.
Customer service here is faultless. Our game master dutifully kept track of our progress, popping in every now and then to keep us moving in the right direction. Sometimes we can be stubborn and refuse to just accept the handout solutions (game master, sorry!) As we ran out of time, we were still allowed to finish the last puzzle with lots of hints (game master, thank you!), so we can feel how the game ends. It will be really disappointing if we skipped the last puzzle, as it should be one of the most exciting moment (and quite a well designed puzzle matching the plot) in the game.
We all agreed that The Secret of Hocus is a solid, fun game from Breakout, with a great combination of plot, drama, aesthetics and puzzles that will please both the Sherlock and MacGuyver in your team. It is unfortunate that we spent most of our time in getting the physical challenges right. In the end we felt a bit sad as we didn’t have the time to fully appreciate the brainier puzzles, all very integral to the game.
Is this really the end for Hocus…?
We went from being super smart from Dreadnought to feeling physically disabled in the Secret of Hocus today. Happy to have new friend joining us as her first experience in escape game (she likes it!) and also a fellow gamer from the Escape Gamers Malaysia Facebook Group joining us. Say hi to Chiali and Jeff!