Agent Venture is the new online heist game, played via Zoom, and brought to you by the creators of immersive real world adventure game – The Adventure is Real.
Things were just getting going for the team when lockdown happened, so they turned their attention to the online world, and Agent Venture was born.
Every secret agent needs a team, someone in their ear, and that’s where you come in…
Prior to the adventure, we had been told to assign roles. Unlike many other online games and escape rooms, that’s all we had.
We knew very little going in to the mission. we were going to undertake a heist, we knew Agent Venture would need our support. The eponymous agent would be infiltrating B.A.D. Corp Headquarters and steal from their vault vital proof of the crimes of their wicked CEO, J. Bozo .
Assemble the team
Unlike a few other online games and escape rooms, they didn’t overwhelm us with useless information prior to the game – and I genuinely appreciated this. A few days ahead of the mission we were told we would be playing via Zoom, and to share out roles:
– Responsible for using floor plans to guide Venture as they make their way through the building.
– Should be someone who is good at following maps and giving instructions.
– Responsible for cracking into BAD’s backend servers to unlock secrets we need or open any security doors that Venture runs into.
– Should be someone who is good at logic and number puzzles – if you’re good at sudoku, this is the job for you.
– Responsible for connecting the dots and piece together info to help Venture overcome different obstacles.
– Should be someone who is good at sifting through a lot of data quickly to find clues and relevant information.
– Responsible for calling in remotely via the telephone and radio systems to swindle the various occupants of BAD Tower into giving us what we want.
– Should be someone persuasive or good at lying – they will be doing the talking for the group.
Whilst Agent Venture appears to be designed as a four player game, a fifth person can take on the role of:
– Responsible for coordinating the group as a whole, you will have access to other resources to act as a second pair of hand or eyes to solve problems.
– Should be someone with organisation and leadership skills.
Get ready for a heist
Mission kick off came around and we gathered up. Agent Venture was about to enter B.A.D. HQ and we would be his crew. Using maps to navigate the building, hacking systems to open doors, disable alarms, and change data, and interact with people in the building and lie our way to a victory…. Or would we?
It’s hard to write a spoiler free review of what occurred, but the team has crafted an excellent one-shot RPG light adventure. No stats, no rolling of dice, but a choose your own adventure packed with surprises and nods to spy movies.
Will you attempt to get into the main elevator or work your way around to the service entrance? How will you convince security that Agent Venture is meant to be there? Will you cause diversions or be stealthy?
With 30 mins on the clock to get in, every second counts,and we felt up against it. The Agent won’t act without your instruction, and the opening scene felt a little awkward as we figured out what sort of game we were playing.
We had to quickly decide which way to guide him – the main or service elevator? With no visuals it’s all narrated by the agent, and only one player had access to the maps.
Plumping for the service elevator, the hacker had to open doors via picross style puzzles, while the navigator told the agent which way to go. A left here, a right there. Meanwhile our communicator had access to a B.A.D email server, reading email after email, to learn vital information about the CEO and his lackeys. The researcher had access to a company website to find information that would allow us to lie our way to the top floor via an in-game telephone system which delighted us with the accents given.
Communication between players was absolutely vital, as nobody had all the information needed to get the job done. Plans were quickly made and executed, with Agent Venture himself keeping us on track if we went wildly off course.
30 minutes later and it was time to retrieve our agent, facing new dangers and problems along the way.
While key decisions appeared to be a binary choice, there was some room in choosing how to tackle the detail – I honestly don’t know how much room there is for improvising plans on the fly, and our team is keen to play again, choosing different roles and paths to floor 88, and out again. Every player had a role to play and nobody was left with downtime for long.
The intro could do with a little tweaking to help players understand what’s expected of them, but we got the impression our Agent knew we could handle things. The team has already extended the adventure based on feedback, so I’m keen to see how this develops, and play any new entries in the series.
Agent Venture Conclusion
Agent Venture is a charming, clever, and challenging game that would suit newbies and veterans of gaming alike, with everyone getting a different experience.
With a pinch of problem solving, a hint of role playing games, and a ladle full of choose your own adventure – Agent Venture provides an experience you couldn’t achieve in a real world location, and gets a hearty recommendation from Coaching for Geeks.
Join us at 1pm BST on Wednesday for a Q&A with the Head of Agent Venture to talk about real world game design, moving to online, and gaming in a post COVID world.
Only at twitch.tv/coachingforgeeks