Sorry, ‘Doctor Who’, but I’ve never been afraid of your Cybermen. I’ve always found the Doctor’s cyborg-nemeses, with their arthritic robo-gait and perennial quest to ‘upgrade’ (read: destroy) the human race more humorous than terrifying. Which is why, when playing Escape Hunt’s latest online escape room, I was surprised to find myself genuinely afraid of what might happen if I did not prevent their attack on earth. ‘Doctor Who: Worlds Collide’ is seriously captivating. Here’s how it works: you’re on a Zoom call, playing the IRL escape room through the eyes of someone who will obey your every command. The whole process works surprisingly well, and the puzzles are satisfyingly inventive and complex (lasers! music! chess!) while still being achievable. Thankfully, I was able to thwart the Cybermen – and even got a shout-out from the Doctor herself. And if you fancy a little more interactive Whovian theatre, Doctor Who: Time Fracture has just landed in London.
Online escape rooms take place entirely through your screen, and even though it’s a novel concept dreamt up during the Covid-19 lockdown, there are already many variations of the genre. Some blend the code-cracking with a bit of interactive theatre using Zoom, others use a digital version of an escape room that can be played through an avatar.
London escape rooms have now reopened, but unlike the virtual Zoom quiz boom, these online replacements seem to have stuck. Want to assemble a team and try one for yourself? Here are four online games that have proved themselves to be more than a lockdown fad.
Want some more ideas for hosting a virtual fun night? Get friends and family living at distance together by playing some of our best online party games, testing your knowledge with online trivia games or getting messy with drinking games you can play over a screen.