Outside the room
Lunch and a short visit to the pub later, we were back for room number two: Amazon Escape. Having set the bar high with our escape from Bad Clown, we were a little nervous. Anything less than a top 10 place would be a disappointment. Speaking of which, it’s worth talking about those leaderboards. The inside of Escape Quest is adorned with all their top teams – a top 10 for every game for each team size. I like that, because it means there’s a very good chance that teams will get some bragging rights. While I’m becoming a little less focused on records (mainly because I usually play games very early on in their life cycle), I remember how exciting it was getting a record time.
Aside from the inspirational leaderboards, they’ve got comfy sofas for you to rest between games (surely you’ll play two?) and the usual array of puzzles to remind you that, while you might be good at escape rooms, you still can’t solve a Rubik’s cube. For the record (and particularly if you’re going to play back-to-back games), they do have a pair of toilets, which is pretty impressive for a place which only ever has a single team playing at a time.
You’ve been trapped by the Keeyhidi tribe (get it?) who are in the middle of preparing a feast for a celebration with the neighbouring Yohfindy tribe. In case you haven’t guessed it, they’re cannibals and you’re the main course unless you can escape.
Inside the room
Wow. Only a couple of other rooms have impressed me as much as this just by opening the door – and, when you’re being compared to Time Run and Extremescape’s Pirate Ship, you know you’re doing something right! This game looked like it belonged in the Aztec zone of the Crystal Maze. The lighting in the room, the wall decoration, the sand and the use of bamboo all helped to convey a sort of deserty jungly theme that put me in a good mood before I’d even crossed the threshold. If you’re the sort of person that cares strongly about the look of the game (and I’ll freely admit that I do), then you’ll enjoy this one.
The Crystal Maze homage didn’t stop there – at least one of the puzzles was very much the sort of physical puzzle that you’d expect to find on that show. So much so that it was almost a disappointment that a crystal didn’t pop out when we solved it. And, like the Crystal Maze, there was a definite balance between the different sorts of puzzle – even if your team is the sort where each person has their specialist area, I don’t think you’ll find anyone being left out.
Sadly, the balance in the puzzles didn’t equate to us being balanced in the room. We absolutely stormed through the first half, and I seriously wondered whether we’d get out in 30 minutes, but the second half proved much trickier for us and we slowed down markedly. Fortunately, the clue giving was judged to perfection both in timing and level; we were left stumbling along for just the right amount of time before they gave us gentle nudges in the right direction.
The final set of puzzles were particularly pleasing in terms of how they showed our progress, so it was clear to us we were reaching the endgame. The very last puzzle was a bit of a disappointment, though, and felt contrived as well as slightly ambiguous. We quickly saw what was intended, and then it was just a case of working through for a minute or two. It was perfectly solvable but, once you’d had the Aha moment of working out what you needed to do, the rest wasn’t amazingly exciting. It’s a shame because such a beautiful game deserved to have a thrilling climax.
In spite of a bit of fumbling right at the end by yours truly, we managed to escape in 43m 33s (after a couple of clues) which turned out to just take the overall record. Now, as I mention above, usually I don’t worry too much about records but this one was held by a fellow blogger, so for once I’ll revel in the glory :-). Sorry Asa…
Another great room. The set in particular stood out as one of the best I’ve seen. On the puzzle front they’d done a good job – a decent variety although, as with other Escape Quest rooms, there was an over-reliance on combination locks for my liking.
Detailed Room Ratings
The previous review covers where we ate (Chilli Banana), so as a bonus I’ll mention the pub we went to – the Treacle Tap. It’s a little over five minutes away, it serves some good beer and, while its range of food isn’t massive, what I saw looked good.