Posted in Escapologic

The Gateway – Escapologic Leicester

Game 16

We love it when new rooms open near us and this time round we were lucky enough to take part in the testing process of the newest Escapologic room, The Gateway. This is the fourth room to be added to the Leicester venue and this time, it takes a supernatural turn.

THE STORY

Be careful what you wish for

Close the gateway to another world of evil.

Since the late 1970’s a house on a small suburban street in Leicester has remained abandoned. The previous tenants, a family of three, disappeared without a trace.

Rumours quickly spread around the area, had they run away? Been murdered? Or perhaps something even more sinister had taken place?

The authorities could find no evidence of any wrongdoing but officers investigating the disappearance claimed the house gave off a dark energy and that they could not stay in there for longer than an hour.

Little did they know that hidden somewhere in the house is a portal to another dimension. A dimension of pure evil.

Now, over 40 years later, the same thing has happened again. A team of paranormal investigators known as S.P.R.I.G. (Supernatural and Paranormal Research and Investigation Group) disappeared while looking into the property and trying to find a way to close the portal.

As new members of S.P.R.I.G. it is up to you and your team to enter the house and finish the job of the previous team.

Upon entering you are locked inside and now time is running out! Solve the puzzles and find the gateway before its guardian, the eerie entity known only as Mr. Moon, gets to you.

THE GAMEPLAY

Before I begin this review please take into consideration that we played this game during its testing phase. The game is still due to go through further development and some elements of it may change 

Just as you have come to expect from every single Escapologic room, the game play in here is fantastic. There are some really well thought out puzzles and every single thing you encounter within the game fits into its surroundings. The game takes place in the downstairs of a house and as you make your way through the various areas, its becomes more and more obvious that the games design has been created with this in mind. The puzzles you complete relate entirely with where you would find them inside the house. The game has a really nice mix of logic, observation and physical puzzles as you make your way through your linear journey. There is enough in the game to keep a group occupied and, at times, some of the puzzles require multiple people to complete each step that is needed all at the same time. Once again, Escapologic create an escape room that is void of padlocks. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any number or word combinations needed, they just use them in a totally different, clever and very satisfying way. There are some really great aha moments in the room and, at times, you activate something else in the house when you are in a different room and then have to find what it is that’s moved or revealed. This was a nice touch. 

The game takes place in a very eerie setting. It doesn’t take on the dark, sinister level of Butcher but it is pleasantly creepy. Pleasant isn’t often a word that you would describe with something creepy but its creepy in a very clever and befitting way. There are moments that will often startle and I found this a really enjoyable part of the game. Please note, that these scarier elements are still in development and having spoken to the team, there are certainly plans to raise these and make the experience a little more intense. It would certainly be a great addition, even if the atmosphere we experienced was already first rate. I’ve already mentioned the puzzles in the game. The ones we came across were fantastic but the game was slightly light in their number. Again, this was testing and there are plans to add more appropriately themed puzzles to make sure the players get as much fun and immersion in the room as they can. Don’t think for one moment that Escapologic aren’t going to give you as much time as they can in this room. The additional puzzle, I have no doubt, will also be just as good as the ones we experienced.

DECOR

Wow, wow and wow again. We genuinely felt like we had walked into the middle of a movie set. The level of theming here is just phenomenal. There has been no expense spared in making sure that the room look just like a 70s house and has been lain empty for 40 years. Everything in there fits so well. The way the room has been distressed really adds to that creepy feel and the way the room interacts with you to enhance the experience is remarkable. The game has several hidden elements that just add to the theme and game play. One set piece (and you will have to play it to find out which one) is one of the biggest transformations I have ever seen in a room. I’m a talking mouth open, jaw to the floor, they hid that so well, moment! The games decor and story also reminded us a little of something that could fit perfectly into Stranger Things if it was set in the UK. Although no reference is made to the TV series, it’s clear the TV series has had some influence on its design and story. It’s far enough away for it to be nowhere near comparable but close enough that if you are a fan of Stranger Things you can see how it has influenced. 

OVERALL

This room is already a real spectacle and this was testing. It’s only going to get better and better. When it finally opens at the end of October, this is a room that people are going to, quite rightly, be talking about. It is going to be more than worth travelling out of your way in order to play this. I cannot recommend enough just how good this is going to be! Get yourself booked in early!

Escaped: About 35 minutes but didn’t really time it as we were in the testing phase. Please don’t take this time as how long the average experience will last

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

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