We’d just played Locked in a Room‘s Timelock so, after chatting for a while and the obligatory photos, we went out for a quick coffee before heading back up to the briefing area. Don’t expect to be able to play two games in quick succession here. The whole system revolves around the group briefings and, with two-hour slots and having finished early, that meant there was a reasonably long time to kill before round two. That said, it’s a pleasant environment – you can wander around the ExCel centre inside, walk along the river or just head back to the waiting area for a chat.
When the time for the second game arrived, we went through the exact same briefing again. Alex, the person who was our briefer for both sessions, trotted out the same jokes (although, to his credit, he acknowledged that some of us had already heard them). Obviously, with the group briefing approach, there was no scope to do a brief summary for us second-timers, which was a little tedious, but it’s not a long briefing so it wasn’t the end of the world. Once that was over, it was back into our teams to wait in the corridor ready for our final group briefing and the game ahead.
An infamous colleague, Professor Scabworthy, has been acting even more suspicious recently in the lab. Whilst he is detained for questioning, thoroughly investigate his workshop with your team of investigators to discover and prevent the catastrophe he is attempting to unleash on Canary Wharf…
Inside the room
Do you ever have the feeling of déjà vu? We’d already heard pretty much the same briefing given for a different story, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise to walk into a room that felt similar to the first. That’s a little harsh – while it had the same feel, it was laid out differently and had very different furniture. It’s just that you could pretty much have swapped over the settings for the two games and they would still have been reasonable.
The puzzles were fairly basic and with a lot of padlocks to navigate, although there were some physical elements in there to keep things interesting. As before, it felt very much like they walked you through a very linear experience by always giving you a fairly clear hint to what puzzle needed to be solved next. We pretty much always had a clear idea of what we were trying to solve, even if at times we didn’t quite see the solution.
Most of the puzzles in both their games were inoffensive – not amazing but not going to make you cry. The one exception to this was in this room, where we only got the answer by a persistent team effort (most teams seemed to need a hint) and were adamant, when we did come up with it, that it couldn’t possibly be right. With no other choices, we went for it anyway and, lo and behold, it worked. It’s never a good sign when, even once you’ve found the answer, you’re convinced it’s wrong.
The finale was a little more interesting than the other room, but it’s worth mentioning that another team had a failure. You might think that failure would be rare, but I felt it was not entirely uncommon given how smoothly the staff seemed to be able to resolve it.
The three of us escaped in about thirty minutes taking a single clue.
My verdict on this room is pretty much the same as the first game. It’s a very similar experience, aside from that one frustrating puzzle which desperately needs to be fixed, in my opinion, and a slightly more exciting finale. There’s minimal story, the set is pretty enough but nothing special, and the puzzles, while logical, are very directed so there’s relatively little hard thinking to be done.
If you’re an enthusiast, you’ll likely feel shortchanged. However, if you’re looking to organise a professional company outing, then Locked in a Room provides games that beginners will enjoy, and it can take a lot of the stress out of running a large event.
Detailed Room Ratings
Full disclosure: We received media-discounted tickets for this event. That doesn’t influence the review – you can read more on the About page.