Outside the room
We’d planned a trip down to Brighton to play Bewilder Box so, given we were going all that way, it seemed only sensible to look for other rooms. Since we’d already played Lady Chastity’s Reserve in London, the only option was Escape Game Brighton, the town’s first venue. It’s a fifteen minute walk from the station and, while the route we took made it look like it was a bit off the beaten track, we later realised that it’s actually on a fairly main thoroughfare with plenty happening in the surrounding streets.
When you arrive, it’s a little disappointing – the signage isn’t great, you head down some stairs to the basement flat and then you’re greeted by a sign that tells you to wait. We did for a while but eventually gave up and knocked on the door to get their attention. With only one host monitoring both teams, they probably don’t want to have to deal with a third team turning up unexpectedly, but it’s not the friendliest greeting when you turn up for a game.
As they’ve got two rooms, we’d naturally chosen their harder option, Laboratory of a Madman.
Enter the world of a crazy scientist who has poisoned your team. Your mission is to find the antidote which is hidden in his laboratory within 60 minutes.
There’s actually a second bonus mission: if you’re feeling confident in completing the main game, you can opt to try and find the scientist.
Inside the room
Escape Game Brighton is one of those games where the briefing takes place inside the room. I don’t really like that because it tends to result in you not paying full attention to the host while desperately trying not to start looking round too much (or not, if you think it’s OK to start playing before the timer starts…). This was worse than usual, though, because we had to endure a long briefing where we were told all the things we weren’t allowed to touch.
Now, I get that they want to improve the immersiveness of the room by incorporating plenty of props, and I realise that those props may be fragile, but you undo all that good work and totally break the immersion when the start of the game consists of telling players that they can’t touch the electrics, an entire corner of the room, anything on the walls or anything in this other corner of the room. Not only did it break the immersion but it also made me feel like I was back in primary school…
And yet, in spite of being warded away from entire corners of the room, this still felt like a game with red herrings. Ugh. Fortunately, there really was very little searching to be done, so the quantity of red herrings didn’t become an issue. The fact that we never resorted to detailed searching wasn’t because the room didn’t require it (how would we have known?) but because the puzzles were all logical so we never became desperate. As a further consequence, we never needed to interact with the room host, and we therefore didn’t see the effect of him monitoring both games.
While the puzzles weren’t plentiful, there were a couple of nice touches with some high-tech props that were a little more interesting than your average fare. On the negative side, one of the mundane props was showing signs of wear to the point that it was hard to read some of the information on it. In fact, while the issue only really arose once, I came away with the feeling that this room was pretty worn in spite of all those warnings not to touch anything.
We escaped after 22:30 having completed the bonus challenge and without any clues (although, truth be told, the bonus puzzle wasn’t much of a challenge at all). Amazingly, that took 13 minutes off their record which, for a game that’s been open for almost a year and seems to be fully booked most weekends, is quite a jump.
Even after playing 100+ games, we rarely get out of an escape game in less than 30 minutes. While part of the reason we were quick was because the puzzles made sense and there wasn’t really any searching, the main reason was that the puzzles weren’t difficult or numerous. That said, the host came out after the game and gave us a gift voucher to come back and play again. I generally don’t think offering prizes is a good idea but it’s a sensible way of compensating very quick teams for their shortened experience. Add to that our experience and the fact that we seemed to flow particularly well that day, and perhaps the room is not quite as bad as our escape time suggests.
Ignoring the brevity, this was an OK game. The puzzles made sense, the room had plenty to suggest “laboratory” and there were a couple of interesting props to liven things up. Inexperienced players will likely have fun here. Enthusiasts, on the other hand, will probably feel the room isn’t great value for money – it’s not memorable and you’re unlikely to be in there long enough to warrant the price.
After touring much of Brighton, we randomly ended up in an Italian restaurant right across the street called Casa Lingo which was a pricey but great quality Italian restaurant. The garlic bread was excellent and everyone seemed to love their main courses.
Detailed Room Ratings