Image Credit: BBC/Escape Hunt (Fair Use)
Image Description: The Hollow Planet Cover
By John Salway
Name: The Hollow Planet
Type: Print and Play Game
Price: £14.99, 2-6 players
Current TLV investment: £14.99
Hello, and welcome back to Tides of Time’s ongoing reviews of Time Lord Victorious. In a change from tradition, we’ll not be starting from the beginning, but in fact, before it! Is The Hollow Planet The Timeless Children of TLV? Over to John to explain…
During the peak of lockdown, when any extraneous ventures out of the house were greatly discouraged, and Escape Hunt had closed all their escape rooms, they needed to quickly find some new sources of income. One of these was to launch print-and-play packs that attempted to replicate some of the escape room experience with paper-based puzzles you could peruse at home. One of these was The Hollow Planet, which launched on August 8th, and was designed to be a prequel to their full, official Time Lord Victorious escape room, A Dalek Awakens. So, while you may not find it on the official Time Lord Victorious “content roadmap”, I’d argue it’s definitely a part of the range.
Honestly, there’s not a lot to it, and the central concept is basically a slightly altered version of the original escape room. For example, instead of saving a spaceship from a Dalek entrenched in its core, players must try to liberate a mining planetoid from the same Dalek, who has managed to hook himself up to basically every system. There are still different sections to perform tasks in, but instead of trying to blow the Dalek up, we’re trying to expel it into space; a decision which, err, looks like a pretty rubbish one from the perspective of the Starship Future, setting of A Dalek Awakens – but more on that next time.
In my intro to this series, I expressed my disappointment that the current Doctor didn’t appear to feature in any of the plans for the multimedia event. Well, that’s a concern that this technically answers, for The Hollow Planet technically brings the current Thirteenth Doctor into the Time Lord Victorious storyline, even if you do have to imagine the cadence of her voice on your own. She introduces you to the dilemma of the mining planetoid TG-88.3Ω before heading off to do unspecified things in the background, leaving you to perform a series of tasks. These tasks were quite hit and miss, and I should stress that this really is a “print and play”, so you won’t be able to solve the puzzles with just the digital files, though there are online aspects to be had.
Another hit and miss aspect of this story is the introduction of an adorable, bow-tie wearing, penguin hologram host called Graves. While he himself is a delight to perform aloud, the story does have the outright cheek to not then include any kind of reference to beloved penguin-shaped companion Frobisher. Which is just wrong.
All in all, this isn’t really worth the money. It’s an alright bit of a fun for a short time, but charging fifteen quid for a few paper-based puzzles is a very steep ask, and at the time of release, purchasing these print-and-play packs was really more a way of showing support for the Escape Hunt company in difficult times. Now that the real thing is back open again, and from my experience proceeding with very sensible precautions, I think you are much better served spending your cash on the real thing.