Outside the room
On to our final game at Exciting Escapes, Breaking the Law. After breaking into a house and a record shop, we’d now be entering a police station although, in a novel twist, they’d be making use of a jail cell while not actually making you a prisoner. No handcuffs for us…
The year is 1977, international tension is fierce and British Intelligence cannot allow government secrets to fall into the wrong hands! They believe that Detective Inspector Monroe, of the Metropolitan Police, has been providing foreign powers with intel.
The catch? The evidence is in his Police Station – they just need you to break in and find it…
Inside the room
There’s a very different feel to the immersion in this room as compared to the other two Exciting Escape games that we’d played. Where they’d been very much focused on creating a particular feel through the music and the decoration, this seemed to go a little more softly on that front and instead concentrated on bringing across the physical feel of a police station and cell.
The other way in which this differed is that it felt very much like a mission, complete with a sense of exploration. There was a beginning, middle and end to the game, with a clear way to progress at each stage. It wasn’t just that – it also felt like there was more to this than solving a set of puzzles. At times, it went old-school escape-roomy with some arbitrary puzzles to solve, but there were definite moments in the game where you had to do something very real-world to progress. I love that combination of physical interaction and actions that would work in the real world, and for me it marks a real step up in a game. You can put all the effort you want into making your game immersive with soundtrack and decoration, but nothing beats the immersion of carrying out actions that fit the storyline.
It’s hard to believe that they’ve been open well under a year and that this game came just five months after their first room. You can already see the evolution in their rooms – far more in the way of electronics has gone into this game, although it never feels like it’s in your face. Just what was needed to make the game run more smoothly.
There was a decent set of puzzles, which made good use of the space available and showed a heavy bias towards more physical forms. One of the puzzles didn’t work amazingly well, but we worked our way around it until we were eventually able to proceed. I’ve seen this puzzle style in a few other games and, while it’s a fun and unusual challenge, my feeling is that they’re too often (physically) weak links in the game. I can’t judge how prevalent the issue is from this single outing, but it felt to me like there’s a decent chance the problem we encountered will hit many players.
The previous two games at this venue both had weak endings, in my opinion. The good news is that they’ve made a leap forward and really put in an adrenaline-pumping finish to the game. I challenge anyone not to rush out that door when the timer is rapidly approaching zero with a sense of exhilaration.
We escaped with around ten minutes left, having taken a single clue. We really shouldn’t have needed it, though.
Another fun game from the Exciting Escapes stable which particularly excited me because you could see the evolution: more physical puzzles than in their previous games, a greater sense of discovery and a finale that really delivered. A few rough edges but, all in all, well worth a visit if you’re in Southampton.
It’s a good game for two or three enthusiasts. I wouldn’t want to take five along to the space unless you don’t mind it being pretty cosy.
Detailed Room Ratings
Full disclosure: We weren’t charged for these tickets. That doesn’t influence the review – you can read more on the About page.