Deadlocked has been growing their brand across the UK and it was great to see them venture into the East Midlands with a new venue in Loughborough. We went along to play their game The Magic of New Orleans.
Before I begin, I held off on publishing my review for a little while as, at the time of playing we were very new to escaping and this was the first time I’d done one without my usual team. Having now become a little more experienced, I was ready to revisit the review I’d written and feel more confident in what I thought.
It’s also important to point out that the game is a heavily adapted version of Voodoo, an S6 escape game that used to exist in Sheffield. Having not played the original incarnation, it’s difficult for me to judge how similar it is to the first version.
The Wexell Corporation has sent you and your team to investigate their ex-employee, Dr Rhyar Lafayette, who has been using company funds for research into the occult. Your mission is to investigate his Voodoo Emporium and report back to Wexell, but beware, there is more to Dr Lafayette than meets the eye, and if he captures you, it may be impossible to escape.
The beginning of the game was a little strange. You are welcomed into what was once an church. Reception seems to be what may have been a church hall and also doubled as the main entrance to the game and a very visible GM console. It didn’t really set the scene for the game and we’ve enjoyed far more comfortable welcome areas.
The game begins with you blindfolded and led into the room. A nice touch and one that does disorientate you. I won’t spoil what you find when you remove the blindfold but it’s safe to say that if you are a larger group and you aren’t familiar with all your teammates, you will be by the time you start the game. The first part of the game will require some communication and team work in order to make progress into the main part of the game. A little bit of searching will help but be careful that you don’t pull out anything you shouldn’t. We managed to remove part of a radiator as it wasn’t fixed properly. We are pretty sure this wasn’t supposed to happen! The puzzles in the first part of the game are all pretty logical and lead on to one another fairly well. We found that they weren’t particularly challenging and this resulted in some quick wins for us and some rapid progress. It was after this first section that we found things went a little awry. The game is very linear and this does allow you to make connections to where you may need to go next. The issue we found was that there were times where the logic applied to some of the puzzles wasn’t always sound. There was one particular puzzle that require a real leap of logic, one that very few people will get and will leave you frustrated when you realise what the expectation of the puzzle was. There were some unique elements to the game and some puzzles we haven’t come across before but on the whole many were your standard faire. I think the game suffers a little from the fact that it has been repurposed. Having purchased the game from another escape room company, it felt at times a little like they were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Please don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t poor but it felt a little disjointed the further into the game you got.
The clue system was something new and we don’t want to spoil what is was but the execution could have done with a little work. The idea behind it was sound and very ambitious but when you can see the mechanism that is creating the illusion in plain sight, it makes it much less believable. The visual element of the system is only available further into the game, leaving you with a disembodied voice for the first part. The sound level of the clues in conjunction with the music did leave them very difficult to hear at times.
From playing, it’s clear that the game created by Deadlocked is a re-purposed version of an original. I admire their ingenuity by trying to bring new life to an old game but for us, the gameplay missed the mark slightly.
The idea here is that you are in the middle of a New Orleans town. The website sells the idea as “Fans of ‘The Princess and the Frog’ may especially enjoy this.” The decor we experienced didn’t come across as very Disney like and although we can see what they are trying to accomplish, the New Orleans, voodoo, element is only there in some of the decor. There are some really nice touches (anyone afraid of spiders beware) and there is a very clear attempt to get the theme right but as we played we felt that the decor seemed fragile. We played with a fear that we may actually break something and at one point one of our players manage to create an indent in a surface that should be very sturdy. Many of the props we encounter were fitting with the theme and some of the puzzle items were certainly in keeping. But again, the repurposing of the room did mean that some of the ideas behind puzzles meant that the props needed didn’t quite fit in with a New Orleans Bayou.
The idea behind the game is well intentioned and although Deadlocked have tried to make an immersive game we sadly felt it missed the mark. The entrance space to the game area probably doesn’t help with the immersion but we felt it was a game that was lacking a little in cohesion. It left us a little baffled as Deadlocked’s games in other venues are so highly thought of. We know that The Vault Squad will be coming along soon and we are hoping that this may be the return the Deadlocked everyone loves.
Escaped: 45 minutes
You can book your Deadlocked escape rooms at https://deadlockedrooms.com/
DISCLAIMER: We did not pay to play this room but this in no way affects our opinion of the room.