Puzzlescape (Dereham): Sleight of Hand

Outside the room

We’d left the first game slightly frustrated, so it was good to have a short chat with the owners between the rooms. They’ve got plenty of anecdotes about previous games so, if you fancy hearing some stories, it’s well worth pencilling in some time for a chat.

A few minutes later, we’d regained our focus and it was time to enter Sleight of Hand.

Background

You are working for a criminal mastermind. It has been rumoured that a magician’s assistant by the name of Disco Dom has a priceless artifact in her possession and it’s your job to steal it. As you enter the house the door closes behind you and a countdown starts; you have 1 hour to retrieve the artifact and get out before you get caught.

Inside the room

As with the other game, story wasn’t going to play a big part in this experience. Indeed, it almost felt like, after the first couple of puzzles, they’d totally forgotten about the theme behind the game until right at the end. The décor’s not amazing either so, if you’re interested in immersion, then you’re probably better off heading elsewhere.

Once you get past that, though, it’s positive news. The search is at a much more reasonable level, in my opinion, and the puzzles are stronger and more interesting than in the previous room. To get you warmed up, they’ve put in some reasonably hard logic puzzles. While these are, at some level, paper puzzles that you could have been given to do at home, they have at least provided props to make them a little more physical.

Once we’d got past that part, it was physical puzzles pretty much all the way home; it’s been a while since I’ve seen a room with so many in quick succession. I particularly appreciated a couple of escape room tropes where they’d made good implementations: one because it had a nice twist and the other because it was just really well made.

There’s a real danger that some teams will get massively frustrated at one particular puzzle near the end of the game. It took me a while to work out how it worked and what you were meant to do with it. Well, it was obvious what you were meant to do, but the route to achieve it wasn’t amazingly clear. The good news is that it doesn’t take too long to get a feel for what you need. While it will always have an element of luck, you start to realise that there are better and worse ways to continue.

There’s no real finale – solve those physical puzzles and you’ll soon be retrieving the artefact!

Result

We escaped from this room in 42 minutes without any clues.

Verdict –
 

Wow. This game was so different from their other room that it was hard to believe they were designed by the same person. Solid mental puzzles at the beginning seemed to make way for a series of more physical challenges at the end. If you like a good physical challenge, then I think you’ll have fun here. Remember, though, there’s a skill-based puzzle in this game with a real chance of frustration.

This game felt well suited to a pair. All too often during the experience I felt like there wasn’t room for more than two people to be playing. However, if the idea of playing in a two scares you, at least don’t go above four or you could just end up with some players watching on bored.

Detailed Room Ratings

Venue
Host
Wow! factor
Immersiveness
Difficulty

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