If there’s a knock on “Alice Is Missing,” it’s that the game can sometimes feel like a series of predetermined outcomes. 90 minutes might seem like an eternity – especially if you’re sitting around with players you don’t know – but I barely had enough time to organically weave my secrets into the conversation before the narrative escalated. As a result, I felt like I had little control over the outcome of the mystery. For other players, however – those who discovered the suspect or location – the sense of empowerment was considerably higher.
But whether you’re closing in on Alice or just following to the right, “Alice Is Missing” has one final reveal in store for its players. At the start of each game, players are prompted to record a private voice message for Alice using the prompt on their character card. As the game twists and turns – and as we learn more about the days leading up to Alice’s disappearance – these voicemails offer one final twist at the heart of the story. And after the time is up, each person plays their voicemail to the rest of the group, revealing the hope, sadness, anger, or love that underlies their relationship with Alice.
Given the limited number of suspects and locations to choose from, you’ll need to be careful of repeated readings of “Alice Is Missing.” The rulebook explicitly discourages you from playing with the same party more than once, instead encouraging you to find players who will “take the story in directions you haven’t explored before”. That said, the collaborative nature of the game ensures that no two games will be identical. The way new players change relationships – and unravel the hidden tensions of map prompts – promises a new narrative.
Oh, and one last thing. Since “Alice Is Missing” is a text-based game, it made the transition to a virtual environment easier than most. The game’s website offers collaborative tools for online play, making “Alice Is Missing” the perfect way to reconnect with old friends. Maybe even old friends from high school. There’s no better way to add a meta-commentary element to “Alice Is Missing” than by playing it with someone you haven’t spoken to since you were 17.