Work, shopping, housework, homeschooling, whatever you do with your day at some point you just need to sit down, relax and take some me time. In our house, once the kids are finished with their homeschooling and finished arguing with each other over everything or nothing and gone up to bed it is the time for us adults to sit down and enjoy the evening. Most evenings, after dinner we like to sit down and watch some television, but recently we have been taking a leaf out of the kids book and playing on the Xbox.
We love playing puzzle games on the Xbox and recently came across a brilliant game that requires teamwork, communication and co-operation, although how relaxing it can be is a topic for discussion. After all, how many people would want to use their free time of an evening defusing a bomb? Obviously, this isn’t a real bomb, but a game where a series of puzzles (modules) have to be solved on a suitcase bomb within a specified time to safely defuse it before it explodes.
So what is this stressful game and what is so good about it that we quite happily spend our evenings playing it? The game is called Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and it is available on various platforms for PC, mobile, VR and games consoles, we have been playing it on the Xbox One and our £12.50 investment has been more than worth it.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a local co-op game that requires two or more players, but it is a bit different for other local co-op games as only one player is permitted to see the screen! You find yourself alone in a room with a bomb, with minutes to defuse it. But your friends, the experts, have the manual to defuse it, but they can’t see the bomb, so you’re going to have to talk it out – fast!
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a game of communication, fast talking, fast thinking and teamwork. It is a game of two teams, and you don’t even have to be in the same room: the first team is just only player who is using the screen that displays the bomb, the second team can be made up of as many players as you want but they cannot see the screen and are in charge of the bomb defusing manual. The two teams must work together to successfully defuse the bomb.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? In reality it isn’t, it requires everybody to put their puzzle-solving and communication skills to the test under the added pressure of a time limit before the bomb explodes.
The idea of the game is that one player is trapped on their own in a room with a ticking bomb that they only have minutes to defuse. But they do not have any idea on how to do so. They require help from the “Experts”, the other players, who are not in the same room (or at the very least not looking at the screen). The Experts have the bomb defusal manual and have to give instructions from descriptions of what is happening on the bomb to make the bomb safe, no one wants it to explode!
The bomb can have up 11 modules (Section 1: Modules) to be disarmed and up to three extra difficult needy modules (Section 2: Needy Modules) to give constant attention to. You have a set amount time to disarm all modules without setting off the bomb and within the set number of strikes (wrong answers).
Section 1: Modules
Wires – horizontal wires that need to be cut, or not, in the correct order which can be determined using a variety of other information found on the bomb
Button – you have to determine what to do with this with your Experts working out various colour and word options to decide when to press or release the button
Keypads – this has various symbols on four buttons that player 1 has to describe for the Experts who then have to determine the correct order they need to pressed in
Simon Says – this is a memory game where a flashing coloured button is told to the Experts to get another colour and then the new colours pressed in the correct order
Who’s on First – this is word puzzle where a screen displays a word which is told to the Experts who then match it to a word in their manual to tell you what word button to press
Memory – this is a number memory puzzle where a series of numbers have to pressed in the correct order
Morse Code – using flashing lights a word has to found in morse code enabling player one to reply on a corresponding frequency
Complicated Wires – this is another wire cutting puzzle where the order of wires that need to be cut are determined using a Venn diagram relating to information found on the bomb
Wire Sequences – another memory game to find out what wires to cut
Mazes – this is a maze puzzle where player 1 describes where the start and end points are on a maze without walls and the Experts use the manual to help player 1 find their way through the maze
Password – a password finding puzzle
Section 2: Needy Modules
Needy Modules add in an extra layer of difficulty and cannot be disarmed. They constantly need attention to activate/deactivate them.
Venting Gas – this is answering Y or N to a question posed on the display to vent gas, but pay attention as the question changes and can be to vent gas or detonate the bomb, so get the answer correct
Capacitor Discharge – you have to hold down the lever on the bomb to discharge capacitor overload
Knobs – work out the sequence of LED lights to determine the position on the dial
To play, the first player has to describe what is seen on the screen whilst the second team, who are not allowed to look at the screen (they can be in a different room, have their back turned to screen or even play remotely) has to use the manual and information given to them by player 1 to decipher what they are being told, relaying instructions back on how to defuse the bomb. It is a game of not only fast talking but good observation skills, descriptive skills, puzzle solving skills and excellent communication skills.
You get a different bomb every time you play (even when playing the same level) with procedurally generated puzzles keep the action fresh. You do need to download the manual to a phone or tablet, or print it off and use a paper version (the manual is freely available at www.bombmanual.com).
Overall this is a fantastic, stressful and fun local co-op game for 2 or more players that requires good thinking, communication skills and using teamwork to be able to solve the puzzles. With so many different combinations of bombs to defuse it will never get boring.
If you are looking for a game that requires good communication and puzzle skills then we can highly recommend Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. It is fast-paced and working under the time pressure and calling out to each other makes it fun. The uniqueness of only one player on the screen is fantastic and working the manual is just as fun as playing on the screen, it really is a game of teamwork and play is interchangeable.
We would recommend printing off the manual, we have and have even put the pages into a display folder so that we can flick through the pages faster and easier.
We are loving playing the game and would recommend it as a family or party game for players 12 years and upwards (some of the puzzles can be quite complicated, especially under time pressure – I struggle with the Venn diagrams, especially at speed)!
A fantastic, fun and enjoyable game, at £12.50 it is a bargain as the puzzles variations are never the same and you do have to rely on your fellow players to win. So keep talking and nobody will explode!
For more information or to buy, visit keeptalkinggame.com.