Review: Agent Venture, Online via Zoom
Bozo, CEO of BAD corporation, has been up to no good. He’s suspected of extortion, kidnap and a number of other heinous crimes. The problem is the lack of evidence.
Agent Venture is the spy tasked with breaking into his corporate headquarters and locating the evidence that will put Bozo behind bars. To help her in her quest, she has the assistance of four or five support staff – and this is where you come in.
Before the game starts, you must decide on which role each of you will take. The Navigator has to guide Agent Venture through the office block, avoiding traps, guards and dogs. The Hacker has to solve puzzles and decode clues in order to open doors and switch off alarms. The Researcher has to sift through pages of intel to find key information, which is then relayed to the other players. The Communicator needs a strong line in bluff, impersonating and blackmailing staff members to get doors opened, guards rerouted and packages delivered. And, if there are five of you, the Coordinator’s job is to oversee all the operations, dipping in to help those stuck on a puzzle.
The main event takes place in Zoom, but each of you gets your own link to a set of Google documents – maps, puzzles, directories, emails, and more. By playing together as a team you have to help Agent Venture at every stage. Even if you fail to get the vault open, you still need to rescue her from the shark tank and somehow smuggle her out of the building.
It’s a tense whirlwind of activity as you race against time to complete the tasks. It’s not easy – you really need to be on the ball in order to achieve your goals. The only problem is the sheer quantity of material you have to sift through: it would really help to have half an hour before the game starts in which to look through the documents and see what’s there.
Hugely entertaining and intellectually challenging, Agent Venture is the best use of Zoom theatre I’ve yet seen. It has all the excitement of an Escape the Room game, and will really tax your problem-solving skills.
On the night we played, Agent Venture, as well as all the other staff of BAD corporation, was enacted by Henri Gjestvang in a towering performance in which she switched seamlessly between a dozen different accents and personas. The success of the game is largely down to her improvisational skill – as well as the meticulous and detailed crafting of the puzzles, maps, documents and support materials.
The Heist is just one of three games on offer: I’ll certainly be playing the other two. Zoom theatre at its best.
Produced by: Christopher Stylianou
Directed by: Jason Phelps
Written by: Jason Phelps
Artwork by: Ellie Sparrow
Agent Venture is currently booking until 14 February 2021
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