With Resort World in Birmingham only half an hour from our house it would have been rude not to have taken up the invitation by Escape Hunt to go along and play their game Alice in Puzzleland. This version exists in several Escape Hunt location around the country and has proved popular among those that have played. Our team of two were looking forward to entering Wonderland.
The Mad Hatter is in trouble. Save him from the Queen of Hearts without losing your heads.
Step into Wonderland, where the Hatter has been accused of stealing the Queen’s Tarts. With Alice nowhere to be seen, it’s time for you to fill her shoes.
You find yourself at the Hatter’s cottage. The table is set but no one is around.
A sign on the lawn reads ‘Tea Party Cancelled by Royal Decree’. Curiouser and curiouser…
Find and return the Queen’s Tarts in 60 minutes, or it’s off with the Hatter’s head. Chop chop.
The gameplay of Alice in Puzzleland on the whole is pretty sound. Set up beautifully by our very energetic and enthusiastic GM Courtney, the game opens up as soon as you enter the space. Although at times very linear, there is a nonlinear opening that can take a few minutes to help you get your heads around just what needs to go where. Puzzle in this game are very heavy on logic and you’ll find a small smattering of other styles. There is little in the room in the way of physical or maths problems but there are certainly some word problems to get your teeth around.
On the whole we enjoyed the gameplay but, as sometimes can be the case in a nonlinear room, we came up against some barriers and stalled. Sometimes it was our fault and others due to a couple of issues in the room which I’ll come onto later. This led to some frustrating moments but our GM gave us a nudge in the right direction to help get us back on track. This was provided via voice over in character as the Cheshire Cat, a nice touch!
Some of the issues with the rooms flow did present themselves on occasion. We found ourselves looking at a puzzle but with little to no signposting, it was very difficult to work out what to do with it. These were often the points we hit those barriers. A clue to what is needed would solve this issue very easily, even a simple sign. Our other barrier issue was the upkeep of the room. A couple of times we came to puzzles that had clearly met heavy handed customers before us. One puzzle in particular required you to press a series of coloured buttons in response to something else in the room. The issue, several of the colours were missing meaning we had to use some trial and error and guess work. One other puzzle also required incredibly good eyesight and there seems to be no work around to this. Both of our eyes are a bit dodgy and this made the puzzle a little difficult.
Overall, with a perfectly working room and a few signs here and there, the game play of the room would be very good. On this occasion, it fell slightly short.
The room screams Wonderland. It certainly feels a little like the designers watched the Disney film a few times before they started. While none of the room takes exact copies of anything from the movie it is certainly an homage. The props are chunky and a perfect size for adults and children alike with very little of the room requiring you to reach any higher than your head. Think if Disney met Pantomime and you’ll get a feel of the rooms look. Although the decor of the room was well designed, it did need a little TLC. Several props that you must interact with were looking tired or were coming apart revealing some of the mechanism that the game needed to operate. Again, things that could very easily be fixed but have been left. This did put a slight dampner on the game, especially when you are worried that interacting with it could cause further damage.
Overall, a really good game with some lovely game play and well designed props. Escape Hunt Resorts World is based in the middle of a shopping centre which felt very unusual but means there are lots of people and passing trade. Our GM courtney was fantastic and really added to our experience. We’d love to return to play Aladdin, their newest game.
Escaped: 51:20 with 3 clues
Note: we didn’t not pay to play this game but it did not alter our review.