Have you ever wanted to complete a tour of Bristol’s street art scene, but your schedule hasn't aligned with the available tours?
Questo App has come up with a solution: Bristol Street Art: Banksy Graffiti Outdoor Escape Game.
This outdoor escape game is a fusion between a tour, a treasure hunt and an outdoor escape room, and follows a 3km route around the city centre.
Up to ten devices can join with prices ranging from £6.99 to just over £30 if you buy the game from the Questo App.
The game takes approximately 85 minutes to be completed and can be started and paused at any time to suit your schedule and no internet connection is needed whilst exploring the city with the game on your phone.
We decided to see whether the game was worth the investment on a sunny Monday afternoon.
After some technical issues accessing the game (we bought our ticket through Eventbrite) and some fast customer support, we started the trail at Quay Street, near Quay Street Diner.
The premise of the story is that the player is a travel blogger returning to their home city of Bristol in search of 4D, a renowned and secretive street artist, who was the player’s past lover during their teenage years.
After years apart, the player “must decipher graffiti messages to find the love of their life”.
The first three art pieces in the trail were part of See no Evil, an event organised by street artist Inkie, who invited street artists from all over Europe to beautify Quay Street and turn it into a large live street art gallery after being paid £300,000 by the council.
The first piece in the art trail is Clothed with the Sun by Los Angeles artist El Mac who used his girlfriend and her niece as the models for this Madonna-inspired piece.
The app then gives a puzzle related to the art piece, in this case, the date that is written on the mural.
Players can use points they have gained to get a hint. Challenges can also be skipped for free.
These same points, which are earned based on how quickly you can solve a puzzle, can also be used to get the Google Maps address of the next location.
Once the puzzle is completed, we unlock some information about the street art piece which includes a narration of the text on the screen before we unlock the next part of the storyline and the directions for the next location.
Even after using the map clue, I struggled to find the right location for the fourth art piece, however, the puzzle was relatively easy to solve despite not seeing the two stick figures mural by London-based artist Stik.
The trail continued through Quay Street before leading to Johnny Ball Lane and Upper Maudlin Street, where players encounter Queen Ziggy by Incwell, a piece I admit to have overlooked when passing the street.
The game continues in Unity Street, by Banksy's Well Hung Lover, before continuing in the area under the library, by Banksy’s You Don't Need Planning Permission To Build Castles In The Sky - a tucked away and a slightly hidden Banksy piece that a lot of Bristolians might not know.
The trail continues through Hill Street before it concludes at Charlotte Street, by Jody Thomas Let it Bloom at The Florist restaurant.
Overall, it was a very entertaining experience to complete when the weather is on your side.
I was able to learn more about street art in the city centre and the background behind the artist and the piece.
The game also allowed me to explore new areas and enjoy paintings I had overlooked: it served as an opportunity to see Bristol from a different perspective.
The puzzles were relatively easy to complete and probably would have been more fun to complete with more players. As for the plot, it was alright, and I enjoyed the way they ended the storyline.
It was also interesting to see the way they intertwined each graffiti piece to the story and made them relevant, although a couple felt a bit forced.
It is important to note that the route involved steep hills and stairs which makes the game not very accessible unless the player is willing to invest time in finding alternative routes to the street art pieces cited in the storyline.
A testing-mode game is currently free on the Questo App where ‘participants explore iconic venues that have echoed with the sounds of groundbreaking performances, and the storied pubs where legendary artists once debuted their chart-toppers’.
Here are 17 photos of what we saw on the tour.