Outside the room
A few weeks after my first visit to Hidden Rooms I was back again, this time with an entirely different team to tackle Chain Reaction. Not much had changed in the intervening period of around a month, but they did now have a nice waiting area to wait in before the briefing. One of our number was heavily pregnant this time, and they were exceedingly helpful and proactive in making sure she was comfortable – bringing a proper chair into the waiting room rather than the usual sofas and putting one in the escape room so that she’d be comfy. Bonus marks for attention to detail!
The intro was again a bit weak, which is such as shame, because I think they’ve got all the core elements going here, and a few small tweaks to the intro would make all the difference.
Interestingly, the background we got in the game was different from the blurb on the website. In both versions there’s been a nuclear disaster and you’ve ended up in a bunker, but the website suggests that you need to get it up and running, while in the live version we were told that a friend was trapped outside and so you needed to find out how to reopen the bunker in the next hour if they were going to survive. I preferred the latter version as it seemed a more plausible reason to only have an hour.
Inside the room
In contrast with the prison room – this room had plenty of decor and props. While I wouldn’t describe the other room as linear, this felt much more open, where there were effectively a set of opening puzzles that you had to solve to get you clues, which you put together to solve a variety of later puzzles. At times it felt like there were almost too many puzzles on the go – I was struggling to remember all the different avenues that we were following.
The range of puzzles was good – including four or five that I’ve not seen elsewhere, which is a very good return on a room. I was particularly impressed by the home-madeness of one (that’s a word, right?), although it was a little bit too easy to brute force the solution, which let it down somewhat.
My biggest concerns about this room were a couple of the puzzle elements that seem likely to get broken if this becomes a heavily visited room, so it’s possible the range of puzzles will decrease as time goes by. I suspect this is a sign of the naivety of the owners – and one way or the other it will undoubtedly be resolved soon.
Chatting to the my team mates afterwards, they really enjoyed the puzzles in the room, and working together to solve some of them, so definitely strong on that front. A couple of the puzzles were really impressive – definitely close to the “wow” level.
Around ten minutes to spare, and I think this was also technically the record, although again, that was because we were relatively early players.
A surprisingly different room from Prison Break, but very enjoyable in its own way. I feel I keep labouring the point, but the problem with this escape room isn’t the internals, it’s the externals. I’m really hopeful that they resolve those though, because this is a great pair of escape rooms, that deserve to be seen by a wider audience.
We were planning on heading back to Il Cavaliere, but when we got there it was closed. We headed further along and found a Mediterranean restaurant named “Small & Beautiful”. It proved to be an excellent pre-escape game alternative, although a little slow on the service which left me less than popular with our pregnant player, after she had to almost run across to Hidden Rooms…
Detailed Room Ratings