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 *****

Posted in Escapologic

Curio – Escapologic Nottingham

Game 15

Having survived the Butcher’s lair it was straight to our second game of the evening, Curio. Having heard it contains twists and turns, I was very much looking forward to finding out what made this game stand out from all the others. 

THE STORY

Be careful what you wish for

An Englishman’s home is his castle. Or his curio if he’s a treasure hunter who’s spent a lifetime collecting trinkets from all four corners of the globe. Alexander Curio was a true eccentric. A legendary explorer who left no stone unturned in his search for gems and gimcracks. To him, life was a gamble, with fate to be decided on a whim or a flip of a coin. A mysterious loner who loved to raise the stakes until they could be raised no higher.

Alexander’s life was one big puzzle. Only a select few ever got beyond his front door. You’re about to join their exclusive ranks. At first glance, Curio looks like the home of an explorer whose passion for chasing treasures has taken him from the Thames to Timbuktu. But the clue lies in the name. Secrets lie within her seemingly innocent walls and trinkets hold the key to untold riches. Fortune favours the brave but riches come at a price.

Who is the man behind the enigma? Was his death the result of some cruel, cosmic irony? And does he really want to share the treasures hidden away within the labyrinth he calls home?

This is no ordinary home. Alexander is anything but an ordinary man. Now he’s inviting you into his world. But once you enter, there’s no going back

THE GAMEPLAY

So here goes! How to write a review of a room without giving away any of the magic of the room and therefore spoiling its secrets for those who haven’t played it! 

Curio is unlike any other room I’ve played. It’s both compact and vast, linear yet complex and disorientates in the most pleasing of ways. The game plays out like a real adventure just as Alexander Curio intended and the way you interact with the room is nothing but amazing. Again, Escapologic have come up with a room that contains no combination locks and your actions simply cause a butterfly effect as you make your way through the game. It really is a joy to behold. Deemed to be Escapologic’s hardest game, Curio really does challenge you with a great mix of physical, logic and observation puzzles and, unlike so many linear games, requires every member of your team to be fully involved in solving the riddles you are presented with. With our team of 5, we found everyone had something to do and, although at times in a smaller space, there was enough room for us all. Be aware that this would be a tricky room for a smaller group as some puzzles require you to span across several spaces with a doorway in between. Teams of two could certainly find this a struggle but if they were able to make progress quickly it is more than manageable. Another word of warning to some that may suffer from motion sickness. The room can disorientate at times and if you suffer from motion sickness, there may be times when you feel a little queasy. It’ll pass soon enough and the pay off really is remarkable. The twist to this room is ingenious and so unique, unlike anything we’ve played.Some say this twist is a gimmick and doesn’t need it. I couldn’t disagree more and for me, makes this game stand out. Plaudits to Escapologic’s designers for something so ingenious and inventive. If I have a minor complaint to the room it is that sometimes we felt a little like we weren’t sure we had completed everything for us to make progress, it was a little like we’d done it by accident. It left us baffled a couple of times as to what exactly we had done in order to trigger something. It didn’t detract from the room at all,just confused our poor brains. 

The in room hints come via the radio in the style of a shipping forecast. It’s a very different system that works really well.

DECOR

Curio gives you the feeling of an eccentric man who has clearly been collecting for sometime. As soon as you walk into the room, there is an eclectic mix of many things and at first glance who knows what they are there for! The great thing about the room is that almost everything in it is interactive with the game in some way. There is nothing in there that could come across as a red herring or is superfluous to the game. The theming is to the highest levels and really does immerse you in the world they’ve created. Escapologic’s passion for escape rooms is very evident from the design of the game. It’s the first time I’ve played in a non-square style room but this is important for the overall game. The styling of the room is first rate and how they have used props and decor in order to keep you in the world of Alexander Curio and also make sure the props fit the puzzle are incredible. There are some very ingenious ways of using everyday items to solve puzzles. How they even thought they would work before building them is beyond me! 

OVERALL

This is such a unique room and going into it now little about it just makes it all the more special. Escapologic have created a fully immersive experience that is full of twists and turns. It is their hardest game to date so expect to spend some time having to really think about what comes next but it’s worth it for the pay off of what you get to experience. To really stand a chance of completing the room, you really need a minimum of three people.

Escaped: 48 minutes

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****