With such a large space to play with, it was only a matter of time before Deadlocked opened their second game at their Loughborough venue. This time, the location of your escape is the Wexell bank. Your mission, to take on the security system of the bank and escape with the gold.
A group of talented criminals brought together by the criminal mastermind, Shanks, are tasked with testing the security of the huge ‘Wexell Bank’ in Loughborough, but is Shanks really on your side, or is he setting you all up to take the heat for a real heist?
Scalable difficulty means it’s great for escapers of all experience that want a little more immersive story and humour from their rooms.
The gameplay in this room is fairly straightforward and we found that things led fairly well from one puzzle to the next. It brings a combination of physical, logic and observation puzzles with a small amount related to maths. There is a nice use of technology here too. All the puzzles in the game also fit perfect with the theme.
We always like to come across new and unique elements to a game and The Vault Squad certainly has this with its beginning. Unusually, the game begins on a different floor to where most of the action takes place. In order to arrive at the main part of the game you are required to make your way to the next level. The puzzle to do this is great and we enjoyed working through it. Upon reflection though, as fun as it is, it’s actually fairly redundant with regards to progress in the game. The concept is great but there is no cause and effect. Make a mistake and there is no reaction that would require you to start again. So, in theory, it’s a puzzle for the sake of being a puzzle rather than to hinder or progress. This doesn’t make it any less fun but left us wondering why it doesn’t impede your progress unless it’s done properly.
Within the main space, made up of multiple sections, there is a good use of props often found in a bank. These support the game play and provides good signposting as to their use. One prop, which is used multiple times, allows for some logical thinking that leads to some nice ah ha moments. There is even a clever way to introduce people to a directional padlock that is perfectly fitting with the game. Several multi-step puzzles also lead to some satisfying outcomes.
As we’ve already mentioned, the game play is fairly straightforward and the game play is perfect for newcomers to the escape room industry. If you are looking for something that may help persuade friends that escape rooms are a good source of entertainment, the gameplay here is a good mix.
One final point we want to make about gameplay is related to a point made on their website which states that “Scalable difficulty means it’s great for escapers of all experience that want a little more immersive story and humour from their rooms.“
While we don’t deny there is some elements of humour in the room, we were a little perplexed by the scalable difficulty of the game. It has one main objective which all players must achieve but there were no optional elements or puzzles that made the game easier or harder for players. It left us a little confused.
The clue system in the room is well through out. It keeps you constantly updated on what is happening and gave you a nudge in the right direction if needed. The video production for this and the directional video was really well done.
It’s always hard to make locations that a generally seen to be everyday look especially different in an escape room. After all, a bank is a bank. Usually there is a cashier’s desk, advertising posters, offices and a customer areas and all of these are present in the rooms decor. The issue here is the quality of the finish applied. The space used for the game is unconventional for an escape room and we applaud Deadlocked for utilising it as they do so really well but, we felt that the finished look needed more work. An exception to this was the vault itself as this looked really well done and worked really effectively. With the quality of builds consistently on the rise within the industry, it feels like Deadlocked are falling behind a little. The room, being built in a space with a high ceiling meant that it had no proper roof. In its place was sheeting held together with gaffer tape. In places, gaps meant you could see out of the room and the real ceiling above. This corner cutting kind of finish was unfortunately evident in much of the room. A Wexell sticker on the wall that looked unfinished and old transfers on the window to the outside, related to the building’s former use. Although there is an attempt here to place things on walls, there is still a lot of space that could be filled in order to make the space more immersive. At times, the space did feel like it was unfinished. At one point we managed to pull part of a prop off as a lock was used on it which would normally indicate that the item would love. When part of it came away in our hands very easily it became clear that this wasn’t it’s use and asking questions at the end of the game it became clear it has a use but not what we thought it might.
Escape rooms aren’t cheap and with people paying a lot of money to play escape rooms, I feel people would be a little disappointed with regards to the quality of the space they play in.
The gameplay here is good but the aesthetics for us fell very flat. If the look and feel of a game is important to you then this is a game you may want to miss but if you are looking for gameplay there is enough here to satisfy most players. .
Escaped: 35 minutes with 1 clue
You can book your Deadlocked escape rooms at https://deadlockedrooms.com/
NOTE: We did not pay to play this game but that did not influence this review.