It’s fair to say that our only visit to Derby to date wasn’t particularly great. You can read more about that here. This time, we returned to a far more reliable company by reputation, The Escape Room Guys, to play their newest game The Grand Heist
Your target is a high security bank based in Derby. A large deposit has been tracked so it is time to get the old team back together for one final heist. You have just 60 minutes worth of access to the facility. Use your time wisely.
The Grand Heist combines both linear and non linear elements to it’s game. The first part of the game presents itself in a linear way with some very inventive and satisfying puzzles to begin with. We over complicated the first puzzle and it took us a little longer than it should of but once we got our head in the game we found ourselves to make fairy decent progress. One of the pleasant things about the game is that, although linear in style, you can begin to piece together elements of a puzzles before you reach them. While one of our group was busy solving one part, another had already pieced together two elements that meant when we reached that part of the game we knew what we needed to do next. It meant that we had a real sense of achievement as we made our way through the game. One of the things Grand Heist does is give you information before the game begins. Our GM provided us with the backstory behind the room and this gave some hints to useful information before we began. It’s something we’ve not experienced before but certainly helped with the flow of the game as we entered. The game turns from linear to non-linear as you make your way into the vault. Up until this point there has a been a mix of word, observation, sound and logic puzzles. The vault, really begins to test your numerical puzzling skills with many of them either requiring maths and all giving you a numerical answer. This is because Grand Heist isn’t your usual escape room. This is more of a loot game than an escape room but with all the enjoyable escape elements included. The aim, very simply, is to collect as many of the 12 gold bars as you can and escape in 60 minutes for your final total to count. We were told that on average groups left with 4! The vault contains what can be described as similar to a parcel pick up machine with gold bars locked behind some of the doors. You just have to work out the code in which to get to them! Puzzles can be found via the vaults tablets. There is a nice mix of puzzles here but be aware that it’ll be difficult to work on more than 2 puzzles at a time. For a maximum of 6, a third tablet may be useful but as a group of 3 we found two more than enough.
The game play in the room flows beautifully and the signposting was perfect meaning that we really didn’t come unstuck as we played. There was one point we needed a real nudge but that was down to our searching rather than the room. It felt really satisfying to play as aha moments came and the games set up meant for very little frustrations. The games clue system comes on a handy screen in the bank, which fits well with the decor and also provides your countdown.
There has always been a lot of debate about how you theme a game set in a bank. After all, a bank is a functional space. They aren’t spaces that can really let a designers creativity flow. What The Escape Room Guys have done here is exactly what it needs, they’ve turned it into a room that looks like a bank. Details on the wall that are in keeping but not overwhelming, props and furniture that fits exactly and potentially one of the most near perfect recreations of a bank we’ve seen in the heist games we’ve played in the past. They’ve kept it pretty simple and it pays off.
The Escape Room Guys have created a really authentic game that uses its space really well. It’s a great take on a heist game that gives it a different feel and doesn’t have a laser maze like so many others. The first half will be an enjoyable experience for enthusiasts although not hard but the second half will certainly test your grey matter. It’s certainly made us want to go back and try their other two games.
Escaped: 59 minutes with 7 gold bars having taken 1 clue