iLocked Nottingham: The Mummy

 Mummy

Outside the room

I’ve been waiting a long time for one of the big Russian franchises to come to the UK. By all accounts there are some amazing games out there, and I was keen to see how they’d compare against the homegrown offerings. iLocked were the first to make an appearance, with a venue opening in Nottingham late in 2016. Three games are planned but the first up is the Mummy, a major installation which, based on the website, had a beautiful set and plenty of automation.

We turned up at the central, but not quite in the centre, venue and were greeted warmly by the owner who gave us the intro before showing us inside.

Background

In the hot sands of the Egyptian desert, another pyramid has been discovered, and intrepid researchers are descending for the first time into the burial chambers, which no one has seen for nearly 3,000 years. Watch out! The ancient Egyptians took care to defend their tombs against raiders, setting numerous traps and riddles.

In ‘The Mummy’, players get the chance to be adventurers, trying to unravel the secrets of Egyptian papyri, escape the curse of an ancient pharaoh, and avoid being crushed by the pyramid’s moving walls.

Inside the room

Wow. The production values in the Mummy are impressive – right up there with the very best of the escape rooms I’ve played. As the owner told us several times during our visit, they’ve spent £50,000 kitting out this room, and it shows. It’s pretty to look at and, on top of that, there are plenty of physical interactions to really impress.  It’s a fun start and while, as a seasoned veteran, it felt a little repetitive, I think the beginners will lap it up, enjoying the series of opening puzzles that get you in the mood for the sort of stuff you need to do in the room.

So, what sort of stuff? Well, this most definitely isn’t a padlock kind of game. Expect plenty of cool mechanics with magical results. Having just come through from a bunch of Escapologic games, it was interesting to contrast the feeling here. When you solved the puzzle, there was a satisfyingly immediate reaction somewhere else. Automation is absolutely fantastic when it works, and here it did. As an experienced player, I was in my element at the instant gratification from a solved puzzle.

Unfortunately, things went downhill a little bit in the middle. To explain further, I’ll need to drop into something which is a *little* spoilerish but I don’t believe massively so – most of this will become reasonably obvious during the briefing. Feel free to skip, though, if you want the purist review!

Click here to see the hidden spoilers

The other negative in the middle was a puzzle that was incredibly temperamental. That would be alright in the general run of things, but we had to trigger it on many occasions and it made the game incredibly tedious. For a game where the technology worked so flawlessly, it stuck out like a sore thumb that this part seemed to be so hit and miss.

This review wouldn’t be complete without calling out one really cool piece of automation in the middle that adds a whole load of tension to the game. I worry that the mechanism may be a little fragile but, assuming it keeps working, it’s a brilliant addition to the overall experience. Add to that a finale with a fun communication-based puzzle and you will feel that the game finishes as it started: on a high.

Result

We got out with about five minutes remaining having taken two or three clues.

Verdict –

This game aimed high but ultimately missed its lofty goals. It had a fun start, a fun ending, some cool automation both in detecting puzzle solutions and in the actions that occurred afterwards and a beautiful set. It should have been amazing, but the combination of leaving one player utterly bored for ten minutes and a critical puzzle that got in the way of a stressful part of the game meant that we came out deflated.

I can well imagine some people coming here and having a great time. Novices will adore it (and, let’s face it, that’s the real market) but I think more experienced players will get frustrated, particularly if they play in teams of five like we did. I’d recommend three experienced or four novice players.

Detailed Room Ratings

Venue
Host
Wow! factor
Immersiveness
Difficulty

4 Comments


    1. // Reply

      Immersiveness was an error – that’s just because I didn’t fill in the field. Fixed now – thanks.

      Agree that it’s one of the most immersive games I’ve been in. For experienced players, though, game play is key and it failed badly. I can’t begin to explain how bad it is for someone to feel *bored* in an escape room. I mean, genuinely bored? How can you design a game where that’s almost inevitable? Add to that the “puzzle” that was incredibly flaky and which we had to try to make work several times because of the way the game flowed and you ended up with a game that could have been brilliant but failed.

      I stand by the verdict. There was a lot to love about the game but the flaws overpowered the good stuff.


  1. // Reply

    I am not going to dispute your opinion

    in my opinion ilocked is a future to what escape games should be like

    great props and set design
    unique layout
    great idea behind the game
    no padlocks or combo locks
    no maths equations
    great story plot

    i’ve played enough games to know what i am on about but hey you dont have to agree with me


  2. // Reply

    Totally agree with you Josh! I am not a big fan of random puzzles, maths and padlocks….. most escape games will have a single room full of padlocks etc.

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