The Agency 51
Its been almost a full year since we started our remote/avatar room adventures and in all that time we’ve never played a remote room in Switzerland. So we were excited to hear that Trapgame had produced a brand new adventure just for remote play called Agency 51, and what made us even more excited to play was that it’s a 90 minute game.
Agency 51 is an intergovernmental organization which requires your services to save humanity from an imminent threat of an alien invasion. In order to destroy humanity completely the aliens need to retrieve the Stones of Power, which were hidden on earth long ago. Your team must stop this by finding the stones first and using the stones against the alien threat. Just one tiny problem, the field agent who was deployed to wok with your research team has been captured, and it stuck in prison…..
Our team of four were briefed by the head of the Agency and given our initial mission, break our field agent out of prison and go and get the Stones of Power. But how do we do that when we have no means of communication with the agent?? For a few minutes I was wondering what sort of game this was is we were entirely fixed to the mission screen (inventory) and had no avatar to see or speak to, but luckily our research screens provided us with lots of information about the prison and we made great progress and we were soon in touch with our agent and on with the mission.
My initial concerns quickly vanished as the slow and steady build of the initial puzzles gave us the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the narrative, with the information available and with the mission/inventory screen. So when the action started we were able to utilise the available data to maximum effect.
Once you’ve made contact with your field agent avatar the gameplay picks up and you’re off on a global adventure to retrieve the Stones of Power (which are very cleverly disguised!) and you’ll visit well designed and themed areas with a nice variety of puzzles, including an wonderful team collaboration puzzle which was my personal favourite.
As with all remote rooms the camera and avatar are what can make or break a room. Our agent was engaging and fun and very responsive to our many and varied instructions, she kept the camera in focus wonderfully and moved us smoothly through the many areas.
Having those extra minutes of game play really pays off in Agency 51 as more attention can be given to the narrative and the transitional sections of the game play. In fact one of my favourite aspects of the game was the transitional scenes which were fun and linked the set pieces of the plot wonderfully. They also allowed the avatar moments to shine (her ad libs were wonderful!) and gave the team a moment to catch their breath. The extra time also allowed for the mission to have an appropriate ending, which concluded the narrative well (instead of a door being opened and someone shouting ”woo, you did it!”).
The Trapgame approach to remote avatar rooms is rather unique as they’ve taken their venue and weaved the narrative through it, and the game is the better for not being restricted to a single game room. The problem with this is that when the venue opens for in real life games then Agency 51 will have to close down, so play it now before its too late!