Outside the room
Having played three good Escapologic games on day one of our Nottingham visit, we were looking forward to our return visit to play the remaining three. Unsurprisingly, we experienced the same great service on day two: friendly staff, pleasant waiting area, good briefing and then onto the room.
Strange machinery breathes in the stillness of the laboratory. Bubbles rise in a mysterious green liquid. Cogs tick. Gears clank. And in the air, the unmistakeable sound of fear… As your breathing stills, and your pulse slows to normal, you take a look around. What happened here? It looks like the previous occupant of the room has left in a big hurry. But why? Your eyes grow used to the dusty light, and you begin to make out the discarded pieces of arcane mechanisms. There has to be a pattern, a code, something to show you the way out.
The only way to outwit Contraption is to work together. Use your team’s skills to solve physical and mental puzzles, crack cryptic codes, and unravel the secret escape route left behind by the mysterious inventor. Will you solve the riddle of this fiendishly-designed Nottingham escape room? Or will the last sound you hear be the cogs of the lock, as they turn and seal you in forever?
Inside the room
The first thing you notice about this room is that it’s well named. Walking across the threshold, you’re greeted with a whole load of contraptions to explore and interact with. It’s another workshop-based game, which means you’ll find a tonne of potential clues around the place, and a major part of the task is to weed out the red herrings from the genuine artefacts.
We got to work and started scouring the space, quickly identifying likely-looking items. Interestingly, it wasn’t always obvious when you were doing the right thing. On at least two occasions, we broke away from the correct action because we thought we weren’t having an effect. Perseverance and observation are key here.
Truth be told, there’s not a huge amount in the way of puzzles in this game and, instead, they’ve opted for much chunkier elements. I’m still not sure whether I like that approach. It seemed to work but I’m used to games with larger numbers of small puzzles and maybe one or two of the chunkier puzzles that you found in greater numbers here. The upside of that is that every puzzle felt like an achievement, but the downside is that an unlucky player might miss out on almost all the action in the game. As it was, our team seemed to have a reasonable spread of solves and came away happy with the experience.
There was one puzzle that required some level of brute-forcing, which always leaves me a little sad. We brute-forced it entirely because we missed how to make use of a prop. Even if we hadn’t done that, though, the puzzle still needed some level of brute-forcing (at least according to our other team, who did work out how to play it properly). That’s never a very satisfying conclusion for me.
The game zoomed past as we solved the various puzzles, and it came as a bit of a shock when we were suddenly finished. Again, I think that comes back to the chunkiness of the puzzles in this game. Since everything was so fundamental and all the puzzles were standalone, the finale to the game didn’t feel like anything different from the other elements. That may seem a minor quibble, but the ending to the game is the final adrenaline high and you should be anticipating that moment as much as possible to get maximum benefit.
We escaped in 34 minutes having taken a single clue.
Escapologic seem to delight in making rooms that are just a little different from other games. Here they’d taken all the filler that you usually have in a game and replaced it with a smaller number of big puzzles. I wouldn’t like that to be the norm in all games, but it was a refreshing change, and some of the physical interactions were thoroughly satisfying. The smaller number of puzzles makes this game feel like it’s particularly well suited to being played as a three-player game.
Detailed Room Ratings