Bad news, engineers. While this giant, sentient robot is everything we could have ever dreamed of, it’s gotten a bit out of control. Now it’s up to you to shut it down. Oh, and while you’re in there, please, rescue the people still inhabiting the inside, you’re their only hope. Your reliable android pal will help you on your way as well, and we hope you’ll bring it back as well. You’ll need to navigate your path and escape before the whole beast collapses around you. Do you have what it takes to make it back?
What Is It?
Tile Laying – You’ll build out the map of the mechanical beast as you move through it by laying out tiles from a large stack. The arrows determine their orientation, and you will have various paths available to you through doorways, or blocked off due to locked doors/walls. Players need to find the control room to shut the beast off, then get back to the entrance or emergency exit with all the people they found along the way in order to win.
Map Manipulation – The gear activation action will allow you to transform the map various ways in an attempt to create the paths you’ll need to escape. Once the beast is shut down, collapsing will also begin which will remove tiles and move others, again, adjusting your paths.
Cooperative – The main way to play is having the engineers as a team. There are also variants for semi-cooperative and competitive. There are also various difficulty levels available.
Who Is It For?
- 1 – 4 Players – It works fine at any count, but I think I preferred it with less players, personally
- Ages 12+ – Fairly simple rules, but the gear activation action may be more confusing for younger players
- Fans of tile laying and module boards
- Players who don’t mind a fair amount of randomness in how tiles come out
Difficulty Levels – You can increase the difficulty if you want more of a challenge. It seemed pretty easy to adjust if you wanted to, which is nice. I think the game can be tricky enough on easy though, so I don’t need more difficulty haha
Semi-Cooperative – For this, players keep the people markers they collect and whoever has the most at the end of the game wins. If anyone gets trapped inside (because they were looking for more people to rescue) everyone loses. I thought it was silly that everyone loses because someone decided to go back in. If that person gets trapped, they should just not qualify for a win, while everyone else compares how many people they rescued, in my opinion.
Competitive – Finally, the competitive take on the game gives players an extra meeple to use during the game. It adjusts the tiles in the deck, and just adds that the first person out once the beast is shut off wins the game. I thought that it was weird that once the control room is found, the previous in turn order player gets to place the exit. While their are placement rules, it just felt like that player is at more of an advantage than others. The competitive mode felt a little bit tacked on, while the cooperative mode felt like the main way the game was meant to be played.
- Aesthetics – Nice artwork across the board
- Components – Tiles are a nice thickness, meeples are all nice quality, and have nice printing on them too
- Reference cards provided for each player
- Some fun flavor text throughout the rulebook
- Variety – Multiple ways to play
- Gears – I thought the way the gear activations worked was confusing. The reference card had images, but no descriptions, so it wasn’t always easy for players to understand; we had to keep referencing the rules, which took more time. Additionally, there was constant movement of the tiles in the grid, which became tedious after a while
- The tile tower does not fit in the box well while assembled (there is box lift) which is unfortunate
- Rules – I thought the rules were a little convoluted, and could have been more streamlined for a better understanding of the game
I thought this game had a nice look, good components, and was an interesting concept. But in the end, it didn’t work for me.
I thought that things did not come together well. The gear system is thematic and sounded cool, but it becomes more of a chore than a game in practice, and on top of that, the way that different gears moved different pieces was convoluted and hard to remember throughout the game.
I felt like the puzzle was decent solo, but with more players, it often felt like there were a lot of “dead” turns. Both movement and actions on your turn are optional, so sometimes the best thing to do, particularly once collapsing starts, is to stay put so as to not mess up the paths that others are using. Additionally, the control room starts pretty high up in the stack (at least in the basic game) and since everything is optional, it felt like you didn’t really need to keep exploring, you just had to try and manipulate the board to get yourselves and the people tokens out.
Overall, the game just fell kind of flat for me, unfortunately. I felt like my choices weren’t interesting and the game play wasn’t exciting. But, if it sounds better to you, then give it a shot! Maybe you’ll see something I didn’t.
My Final Rating – 3/10
Designer – Ben Morayta
Artists – Apolline Etienne, Brigette Indelicato
Publisher – Side Room Games, Giga Mech Games
MSRP – $29.99
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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