Outside the room
Having played two good games at the Escape Room Centre (not to mention two more from the same design company when visiting Budapest), I was keen to go back and try their two remaining games, Secret Agent and The Bomb. Apart from the addition of the new rooms and some more artwork, things hadn’t changed a huge amount in the intervening three months, and we got the same warm welcome from the host, who recognised us from our previous visit. It was clear that there had been a fair number of enthusiasts through in the intervening time, and she was keen to chat about other games we’d played.
There’s a nice waiting area, toilets upstairs (right next to a massive space where they intend to open yet more games!) and even a separate photo-taking area. It’s a great setup, especially for a city centre game.
You are a team of MI6 Secret Agents and are about to enter the hideout of one of our top agents – Jason Sinclair. It is believed he COULD be a ‘double agent’, supposedly our side but actually working for the Russian KGB. Sinclair’s own reports on 4 Russians found them all to be ‘clean’ but MI6 knows different and therefore believes Sinclair may well have ‘gone rogue’ and be protecting them. Can you find the classifed files to show their mission involvements and therefore proving Sinclair is indeed a ‘double agent’? You have one hour before he returns and ‘all hell breaks loose’…
Inside the room
Setting a game in the 1970s/1980s is always a bit of a risk. The first impression is likely to be of a drab and shabby room. I’m not sure what else you’re meant do but there’s a difference between furniture that’s of an ’80s style and furniture that’s had 30 years’ use. The former is good for immersion, the latter just makes the room a bit battered and depressing. It also didn’t help that the room was plastered with Russian memorabilia, which seemed pretty odd for a secret agent…
The theme didn’t extend to the puzzles much. There were a couple that took advantage of the ’80s backgdrop but another, while perfect for the secret agent side, was totally out of place in the era. Having said that, the important thing is that they were fun puzzles, with a variety of different types including some which required physical interaction and no observation or cogitation. While I’m primarily a mental puzzler, it’s fun to have some of the puzzles be something less mentally taxing!
There was only one puzzle in the room that didn’t make sense to us. It was pretty clear the prop was part of a puzzle because it was the only thing we’d found in a locked compartment but, try as we might, we couldn’t work it out. Fortunately we never needed to because it only gave a clue about how to do something else more efficiently. I’m torn about this – in some ways, it’s nice to have difficult puzzles that accelerate your progress in the room. On balance, though, I tend to think it’s better not to have a padlock left untouched at the end of the game; it makes you feel like you missed out.
The biggest flaw in this game was probably the ending. We reached the finale without realising that the game would be over. I don’t recall finding the classified documents or, for that matter, being told why we couldn’t just leave via the way we entered. Either we should have just, very obviously, found the secret documents or else there should be a fanfare as we left. Neither were present here.
We escaped the room in 38 minutes with a single clue for a puzzle that we really should have been able to solve without help.
Of the four games in the Escape Room Centre, this was probably the weakest but that’s all relative – it was still a good game. I’ve played six of TRAP’s eight premium games now, and the quality of puzzle design stands out. Indeed, as I said in a previous review, it’s that quality that is probably its biggest issue – experienced players are likely to find the puzzles almost too easy to solve and a team of four or five are likely to blitz through this game in short order. The only other negative was that the room was a bit shabby but, as noted above, that’s partly related to the 1980s theming.
Experienced players will have a blast playing as a two or three. Less experienced teams should probably aim for around four players – I think five would likely find this game a little too crowded.
Detailed Room Ratings