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M9 GAMES - "SUBNET"

Updated: Apr 24


Photo above is property of M9 GAMES

Company: M9 GAMES

Game: SUBNET

Country: United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Language: English

Type of Game: Video Escape Game 📱

Genre: Escape Room, Puzzle

Date Played: February 18, 2023

Difficulty (based on 1 player): 6.5/10

Time: Unlimited (Approximately 3 Hrs.)

Price: $8.99 (Steam)


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In "SUBNET" - Escape Room Adventure, you play a government agent who finds themselves as first responder on the scene of a hostile terrorist takeover of the city's subway system by a group of elusive hackers known only as drkFORCE. They have planted a large bomb underground which they are threatening to detonate, and so you have been tasked with tracking down and neutralizing the explosive before it goes off. If you hope to catch them you will have to solve a complex series of puzzles that they have left in their wake to stymie your pursuit. Luckily you are not alone in your mission, and are aided by both the direction of your FBI handler and the guidance of your trusty AI helper. So pick up the trail, hit the streets, go underground, and follow drkFORCE down the rabbit hole, before it's too late.


Video above is property of M9 GAMES


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The game is played in first person perspective, as you navigate and explore through a 3D world of city streets and subway tunnels, looking for clues and interacting with puzzles and objects. It's supposed to be modelled off of and have the feeling of playing a real escape room, and the game does a good job of simulating that experience. It offers the fun of exploring the environment while at the same time presenting you with mysterious puzzles to decipher, which is the essential formula and backbone of every well designed escape room. The world looks good, not stunning but suitably rich and realistic, and sufficiently detailed to invoke wonder, and to make the all important challenge of distinguishing clues from within the larger environment an engaging endeavor. Comically, it became almost a rule, that although you might see many strange objects and details, if you see a number it is most definitely not a coincidence. The sequence of puzzles is generally linear in nature, each following and being gatekeeper to those that come after it. This keeps the game tight and fairly straightforward so that the player can mercifully focus on connecting one set of clues and puzzles at a time. The fun of the game is in deciphering your world, trying to make sense of the puzzle while you search frantically trying to piece together the disparate signs that may or may not have something to do with anything, wracking your brain to come up with a plausible connection and possible solution. There is not much narrative development per se, although with every solution you are at least moved one step closer to foiling the plans of drkFORCE. I also wouldn't describe the puzzles as exactly realistic, being largely only incidentally connected to the narrative and environmental realities. They are more of a transplant, inspired by the more clever puzzles you might find in an escape room. Nonetheless the game has its charms, and the gameplay is still suitably engrossing.


Photos above are property of M9 GAMES


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The puzzles are heavily inspired by what you might find in a real escape room. They are generally your standard fare, but are admittedly well designed, and difficult enough to have made this reviewer don his thinking cap. It's evident that the creators tried to keep it varied and fresh throughout the game, and though the form is often repetitive the puzzles themselves have enough novelty to keep the player's imagination piqued. Exploration wise the game is self-contained and generally linear so that the clues can be reasonably traced back to the puzzles they refer to, which helps focus the process of deduction, but that is only once you do the fun work of finding and identifying them in the world itself. The puzzles themselves too are often mysterious and require their own kind of deciphering. Taken together there's a good balance overall between exploration and deduction, and enough ingenuity in the design of the puzzles to make the process of figuring them out both challenging and rewarding.

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"SUBNET" is not groundbreaking, but it is a fun little game. A solid entry into the burgeoning field of escape room video games. It makes you wonder though if the escape room format is not but a little limiting to the genre in general given the possibilities exhibited by other mystery and puzzle games. Why limit yourself to the conditions of recreating a real escape room, when the platform allows you to create entire worlds, and other games demonstrate that it is possible - with great art - to mesh the narrative and mystery elements. It doesn't need to be this way, but it is, and the whole story in SUBNET is little more than a pretense to wind the player up for a good set of puzzles. All this being said, what the game does do well. The gameplay is smooth, the puzzles are well designed, and the game is challenging without becoming frustrating. You will enjoy the puzzles, though the seasoned escape room player may have seen some of them before. It's a satisfying snack of a game, and all in all I would recommend it if you're looking for a classic style escape room that can be played from the comfort of your own home. For future entries I would hope to see more of a narrative, and to try and incorporate this into the puzzles. Also, making exploration more interactive and more of a thematic event, as opposed to being more like searching for signs in a static environment. Playing reminds me just how important having an exciting and interactive world to explore is to the fun of doing an escape room. I hope people give this game a try and look forward to what M9 comes up with next.

 

(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank M9 Games for providing us with a sample of the game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.


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