Posted in Extremescape

The Lost Tomb – Extremescape

Game 20

The second of our double bill at Extremeescape came with a tinge of sadness as it would be our last until they build some more. The final game we took on was the second they built, The Lost Tomb

THE STORY

Your team of adventurers & archaeologists, enter an abandoned gold mine in the heart of the Mexican mountains, your mission is to find the hidden gold. Legend says that the holder of the hidden gold of El Narangel will find the Lost Tomb. The miners left subtle clues & hints, if you use all your skills you may find the hidden gold and ultimately the Lost Tomb but be careful, the miners won’t give up their gold easily.

THE GAMEPLAY

The Lost Tomb is a very difficult one to explain. It’s a non-linear game for the majority but even so it feels like you are playing it in a linear style. In fact, during conversations with the owners, they commented on the fact that many teams will play it like a linear room. The game play is varied. There is a wonderful mix of physical, logic, observation and word problems with a few tricky numbers puzzles thrown in for good measure. The room has a real sense of progress and it’s clear from the outset how well you are doing in the room, or so we thought…

The first part of the game gives you a clear indication of how well you are doing. We felt we had made slow progress due to the amount of time it took us to collect everything we needed and make our way into the second part of the game. It turns out that, with a few clues, we hadn’t fallen behind at all and the game spends a disproportionate amount of time in the spaces. If I’m going to be picky, the final space is so fraught and frantic, you don’t always spend enough time taking in your surroundings. We played the room as a 2 but there is more than enough in the space to occupy a much bigger group than us. This would allow you to begin to complete multiple puzzles at the same time. It will also allow you to search more effectively than we did.

The game also brings the Extremescape sense of humour. Some of the puzzles have you shaking your fists at the creators because they are deceptively simple if you take yourself out of the norm for an escape room. One in particular goes against all escape room conventions but in a fun kind of way.

DECOR

Just like every other space, The Lost Tomb decor is superb. In fact, twice as superb as it brings together two completely different themes and molds them together superbly. The game, as it suggest, takes place in an old mine and the old stable building the game is housed in gives a real feel of a mine, to the point that the creative design uses the building to its fullest. There are several large set pieces that work beautifully and automation is used really well in the space. The authentic look of so much of the room and they way you have to interact with it at times really adds to the immersive feel of the game. Extremescape have really created something, once again, that throws you into the middle of something really fun and creative. One of the pleasing parts of the game is the way in which you are actively encouraged to interact with the space. I loved the ways spaces were revealed to us and, on one particular occasion, how we had to reveal it ourselves in an really fun, physical way.

There is no doubt that the way the game has been designed has meant that the game oozes authenticity. Props and decor come from the era and locations appropriate to the setting. If I am going to be picky, this can throw in some red herrings. There were a few occasions where we come across a set of numbers that we thought would unlock something but they were part of a props design and weren’t useful at all. Some couldn’t be helped but some, with some work, could be removed. As I said, this is a minor issue but one that some people who aren’t a fan of misdirection, accidental or not, may be irked by.

OVERALL

Another wonderful game by Extemeescape. It’s clear that they have learnt over time and having played all of their games there is clear development from Pirate Ship to Lost Tomb and ultimately Vikings. This is truly a 90 minute game. I dare say that very few will complete this in less than the standard 60 minutes unless they are a large VERY experienced group. It’s safe to say that Extremeescape don’t build easy rooms but no matter, they are all worth playing as they are examples of some of the best in the country. Please build more, we are dying to see what is going to come next!

Escaped: 78 minutes

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Posted in Extremescape

Viking – Extremescape

Game 19

Since playing Pirate Ship we’ve been itching to go back to Disley and take on their other two games. When your wonderful wife books both games as a surprise for your birthday, you know its going to be a good one!

THE STORY

You have entered the Kingdom of the Viking Gods & you are sat in the House of Thor 

In an attempt to prevent Thor’s succession to the throne of Asgard, Loki, Thor’s menacing brother, has stolen & trapped Thor’s weapon in the golden rings of Aesir.

The ice giants have got word of this, and they know Thor is helpless to protect the human race without his enchanted war-hammer. The giants are on there way, there mission to defeat Thor and destroy earth.

You must find the Gods and return them to Asgard as they will help you in you quest.

You must find the thunder hammer and put it in the sacred place to create a storm like no-one has seen before.

You must release Thor’s Hammer from the golden rings and return it to Thrudheim where it belongs

If you fail you will be the first to die

THE GAMEPLAY

After only playing Pirates Ship, we knew coming to Extremescape meant we were in for a challenge. None of there games are classed as easy and Vikings is no different. This is the smallest game they have with regards to space but what they do with it is truly remarkable. As we have come to expect, the games are a fantastic mix of logic, observation, maths and physical puzzles. Each of these fit perfectly within the realm of the Vikings and nothing at all felt out of place. It is also one of the funniest escape rooms we’ve played to date. The use of humour in this room is brilliant and there are several really laugh out loud moments. Some puzzles even put people in unique positions, places I don’t ever remember seeing before. The game flows really well and although not a linear game, feels a lot like one with many things helping to lead to another. There is also a very clear way of understanding your progress through the game. The beauty of Viking is that the game is fully automated. It means there are many, many, many moments in the game were an action creates a reaction. With not one padlock in the whole game there is a chance to create some beautiful moments and these are endless. We found ourselves working through the room, trying to discover what could activate something we know we still needed to use. It meant a different way of thinking to those rooms which contain more you have to physically manipulate to move on. The ending of the game is simply sublime. It may have contained some maths (not my favourite kind of puzzle), but the physical element of it more than makes up for it and the magical finale is worth the price of the room alone. We played the game as a two and found there to be an abundance of puzzles. Being non-linear meant we could split up on occasion. Larger groups would be able to tackle even more in a shorter space of time.

DECOR

Walking into Viking was like walking onto a film set. The room immersed you into the environment perfectly and it was clear that some real research had gone into the creation of the room . This not a game that has been thrown together and the decor not only complimented the space but also hid anything that you didn’t need just yet. The rooms transformation towards the end of the game is a stroke of genius and, without giving too much away, managed to transform the space totally. The room definitely has that wow factor as you cross the threshold and there isn’t an inch spared without detail. It’s a truly remarkable feat.

OVERALL

Extremescape have created another truly immersive experience. There is a reason they are seen as one of the best in the business because every minute you play their games they are a joy. They could have easily kept this as a 60 minute game but the additional 15 minutes gives you just enough time to take in the visual feast that is such an amazing game.

Escaped: 61 minutes

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty (main game) *****

Overall *****

Posted in Extremescape

Pirate Ship – Extremescape

Game 6

On a trip up to Manchester for a weekend away, it was the perfect excuse to drop into Extremeescape and play our first game with them. We decided that we’d start with the first room they built, Pirate Ship, a 90 minute room located in Disley, just outside of Stockport.

The Story

A long time ago on the Caribbean seas sailed the Spanish Galleon, Castoria.
Captained by Zak Barrow and crewed by a gang of murderers & merciless cutthroats. Plundering ships of all kinds along India’s Malabar coast, Barrow was a Pirate, one of the most infamous Pirates of all time.

Barrow’s ship Castoria battled with the India Merchant, a huge treasure ship of 350 tons. In rough seas, the merchant vessel fired but due to a sudden ocean swell, the shot missed its mark. The pirates threw their grappling hooks, bringing the two ships together. And rapidly boarded the ship, soon Captain Barrow was in the possession of one of the greatest pirate treasures ever.

The ship disappeared in 1722 and was not seen again until now!

THE GAMEPLAY

Before you even enter the room, the game is set up brilliantly. It’s not often that you are given a perfectly themed pre-show room, but Pirate Ship sets up the story beautifully before the automatic doors open. This is probably one of the best starts to any game we’ve experienced. We knew from this point that we were in for a real treat!

Pirate Ship is a non-linear game. Just like many non-linear, the majority of the game is available to you from the start. The game brings a really great mixture of different puzzles but does heavily rely on riddles at times. We played as a pair and found that the room had more than enough for the maximum 8 that it can hold. The beauty of the room is that it really gets you to think. There are some very clever and devious ways of presenting clues and it was wonderful how the room had some many wonderful touches that until you came to a point in the game where you needed them you hadn’t quiet looked at them in the right way. This is down to the games design and the cleverly crafted clues.

We found that we could happily work together on puzzles to help us make progress but there were a couple of times that we separated to work on something different. Neatly, everything comes together in the end to a really rousing finale. Experienced gamers will find some really unique puzzles in here as well as some moments where they will recognise what to do straight away. There is a real sense of progress all the way through the game.

Aha moments abound in this room too. Sudden realisations that truly fill you with joy because of the precise nature of the puzzles. Each and every one is perfectly themed to the game. There is not one puzzle in the room that felt shoehorned. The room is fairly padlock heavy but the style and way in which they are used keep the game fresh and different. There was no point that we became bored of opening another padlock due to the variety of ways we had to come to the solution. And, for those who can’t keep numbers in their head, don’t worry, there items provided to keep your notes.

The game is not just about the puzzles, it’s also about the storytelling and the real feeling of an adventure. With time running out, we really felt like it was a true race to the end and made for a truly exhilarating finale. The games is amazing all the way through but the last 6-7 minutes were truly exceptional.

With regards to clues, the game uses several systems. Escapees can use coins found around the room (I’m not telling you how many) in order to pay for clues. These come via on screen hints. The parrot is also a wonderful source of help.

During the game, we only used 3 clues, a relatively low number we came to understand, particularly for a group of 2. If I have one gripe (and this room is genuinely so good it’s the only nit picky thing I can think of), we were on track for solving a puzzle, although not necessarily in the way the game was designed. We were a matter of seconds away from solving it and were provided with a hint that took us to the same outcome but took us slightly longer. I told you it was nit picky!

DECOR

This is where Pirate Ship comes into its own. The room is stunning! Potentially one of the most beautifully crafted rooms we have ever had the pleasure of playing. There is so much detail in the room, you spend the first few minutes just admiring the craftsmanship. I’m not sure that words could really do it justice! The amount of details in this room really do take some getting used to. It is so well crafted you feel like every single elements must be part of the game. The joy of it is that there are some red herrings in here that add to the theme and decor insanely well.

The additional joy of this room is that it has more than one location. Again, each one beautifully themed. My only disappointment is that we didn’t get long enough in all areas to fully appreciate how well is has been designed and built. It’s clear that there has been a lot of love gone into building this room.

OVERALL

I cannot fault this room. Everything about it places Extremescape as one of the most impressive escape room companies in the country. These rooms are worth travelling for. This room was their first foray into escape rooms so I can only imagine that The Lost Tomb and Vikings are on another level. These has just gone to the top of my must do list. We will be making a return trip to Disley very, very soon!

ESCAPED: 88.39 with 3 clues.

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****