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.
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!
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!
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.
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.