Ubisoft Blue Byte – Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time (Review)

Location: This game is available from many locations, we played at Game On Escapes and More in Cary, NC

Players: 2-4

Price: Varies, based on location.

Time to Escape: Approximately 60 Minutes

Before we merely jumped through time, now we jump through franchises!

Theme:

From the Ubisoft Escape Games website:

Prince of Persia: The Dagger Of Time is a Virtual Reality Escape Game set in the world of Prince of Persia which enables you to experience time control. You will be able to experience something impossible in real life: to slow, stop or even rewind time!

The Dagger of Time takes place in the setting of the Prince of Persia Trilogy (Sands of Time, Warrior Within, The Two Thrones). Players are summoned to the Fortress of Time by Kaileena to stop an evil Magi. Kaileena restores and gives the Dagger of Time to the players so they can reach the Hourglass Chamber and use it to stop the Magi.

TDOT is an experience built around cooperation between players of all ages to achieve a shared goal. Collaboration is essential: you cannot succeed without your teammates. Being able to listen and communicate effectively is absolutely key to success.

In the game, two, three or four players team up to find a way out of a reimagined Fortress of Time. To succeed, they need to work together and solve puzzles. The puzzles will require players to interact with objects in their vicinity, climb, and use certain powers, such as the time control.

First Impressions:

I have really loved what Ubisoft did with their previous two VR escape games, especially the brilliant Beyond Medusa’s Gate, which explores further the Ancient Greece of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, one of my favorite video games of all time! Though not really a Prince of Persia fan, the newest VR escape from Ubisoft Blue Byte looked colorful and interesting, and we could not wait to try it out!

High Points:

The graphics of these games continue to improve greatly, and I really loved inhabiting the world that had been created for this game. It was truly beautiful, and every bit of it begged to be interacted with. My favorite part of previous games was the high level of customization for our avatars, and the brilliant fun the in game lobby can hold, and this has been further iterated on for The Dagger of Time. Traversal through the world continues to be fantastic, and climbing across chasms and up walls is still a whole lot of fun, especially since it is the only place I’ll ever be able to do a one armed pull up! Puzzles in the game are initially very cool, (more on why that initially is needed in a bit,) and once you’ve solved them they’re initially very satisfying to complete. Everything is based in teamwork, and depending on the number of players on the team, the game and the puzzles therein are adjusted to ensure everyone has something to do. (Whether that thing is fun or not… read below.) Honestly, The Dagger of Time started out really strong, a real VR escape room contender, and I expected this to become a new favorite, until we bumped up against a lot of foundational issues that started to sully my thoughts on this game.

Low Points:

Unfortunately, after the massive success that was Beyond Medusa’s Gate, Ubisoft’s escape games take a substantial step back with The Dagger of Time. Where Beyond Medusa’s Gate and, to a slightly lesser extent, Escape the Lost Pyramid, gave all players the same abilities, but different, varied challenges in which to work together, The Dagger of Time gives each player a single, different ability. Unfortunately, only one of these is cool, and I did not have this ability. These powers are randomly bestowed by being given particular weapons, and though I was bequeathed the titular Dagger of Time, I spent most of the game lamely standing about shifting time back and forth for my wife while she did awesome things. You see, she was given a sword, which basically did every single other thing I was unable to do. It was brilliant for her, and she seemed to have a great time, but she did feel bad that my job was to basically stand in one spot and make sure she could do cool stuff.

Behold! My wife’s awesome sword and my stupid Dagger of Time.

This basic mechanical problem is exacerbated by the fact that so many puzzles repeat themselves throughout the experience, ensuring that by the fourth or fifth time you’ve completed the exact same process, solves will stop being a moment of celebration, but relief. When players are given a new enigma to puzzle over, it seems as though the momentum of the game grinds to a halt all too frequently, due to the nature of how discovery works in this game. Unlike the Assassin’s Creed escape games, the game is often unintuitive, and several times we figured out the solutions by complete accident. The novelty of The Dagger of Time tends to wear off really quick, but can be cool for newcomers, but even here, the game fails, as the challenges tend to be more difficult than the previous two Ubisoft VR games, making it difficult to figure out who this game is for.

Verdict:

When it comes to The Dagger of Time, while there are a few evolutions I like, the game overall feels like a slog to get through. Presenting a game in which only one player gets to use the cool weapon, and thus, do the cool things, as well as copy pasting puzzles ad nauseam really tanks this game. Though I truly wanted to love it, it ended up being bland and forgettable overall. Even worse if you happen to miss out on being the one of a possible four players who gets the best powers. You can find a spot to play Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time, and the much more entertaining Assassin’s Creed VR escape games here.

5.5/10 (Mediocre)

Full Disclosure: Game On Escapes and More provided media discounted tickets for our game.

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