Review – Reboot by Walking Shadow Theatre Company
Website Link – https://www.walkingshadow.org/reboot/
Price – Pick Your Own Price (Actual ticket value is $60, but you can chose to pay $30, $45, or $60)
Disclaimer: while we were provided with free tickets to show, all thoughts and experiences are our own!
Reboot by Walking Shadow Theatre Company is a remote puzzle solving experience mixed with live, interactive theater. Here you’ll be playing the role of a hacker enlisted by the government for mysterious purposes. You will be one of a team of at least six hackers, all working together to navigate a narrative and solve puzzles to discover what is really going on and then what to do with that information once you have it.
The experience takes place over Zoom and is expected to last 90-110 minutes. Since these are live actors and real people you’ll be teaming with, promptness is expected from all participants. We recommend you review Walking Shadow’s technical requirements before your actual meeting time. Most of the requirements are pretty standard, but you’ll want to be ready to play and not stuck looking for a pen or paper while everyone else is moving forward on their journey.
One of the big things to remember when participating in an experience like Reboot is that it’s a combination of live theater and escape room. There will be puzzles to solve and riddles to unravel, but there will also be sections that are more focused on narrative and interactive conversations with the cast. If you’re more of a pure puzzle person, beware. If you’re open to some narrative fun and enjoy learning backstory, you should find Reboot a worthwhile experience.
We can’t go into the story too much here, out of fear of spoilers, but we will say it was immersive and engaging. The actors involved did a wonderful job. Their character work was believable and each did a great job of helping guide the narrative in helpful, but non-intrusive ways. This is especially impressive when you consider the amount of improvisation required as they not only interact with players, but actually encourage them to converse with them and ask questions. The actors never broke character and added a lot to the overall experience. They knew when to step in on puzzles, but mostly let players figure things out for themselves.
Speaking of puzzles: Reboot’s puzzles were nicely integrated into the narrative, with each one making sense within the context of the story. Many but not all of the puzzles require players to combine the information they were given to unlock answers. This kept anyone from ever feeling like they were trying to run the entire show for the team. With multiple players working together, there should always be someone who is able to figure out what the group should be doing, so there is little fear of getting stuck (Though, we’re sure the actors would be more than happy to help guide players along if needed). The puzzles were varied throughout the experience and never felt like a repeat of what came before.
The number puzzles might be smaller than a normal escape room of this length, but they are supplemented by the story and interactive pieces. You’ll have to know yourself as a player to know if you’re okay with that. We were fine with it because while the puzzles were fun, the story was the piece we were talking about most when all was finished.
Obviously the people you play with can have a large impact on what your experience is like. Thankfully, our group consisted of a large variety of people who were very willing to immerse themselves in the story and play their roles. Walking Shadow Theatre Company also does a lot to combat the issues we’re all familiar with when it comes to online meetings. Requiring players to have their cameras on and to mics unmuted, brings the experience more to life and helps you feel more connected to the other participants. Nobody wants to play with a bunch of quiet blank squares.
As previously mentioned, spreading out the information and tasks players interact with helps everyone feel involved and like they are doing things. The actors also do a good job of trying to include everyone in conversations. By the end, every voice does feel like it counts.
If you’re open to the idea of an interactive narrative mixed with puzzles, or if you just want to try something different, we would recommend Walking Shadow Theatre Company’s Reboot. It’s a fun and memorable way to spend an evening.