Other World Escapes (Southampton): Mayan

Outside the room

On a full day of escaping, we headed to our penultimate game of the day having played a full range of experiences from great to terrible, and I was curious to see where Other Worlds would sit on that scale. The teaser pictures were intriguing, suggesting a well decorated set, and the website talked of an immersive experience that was aided by aroma and temperature. They even had a backstory if you looked hard enough. They could certainly talk the talk – would they also walk the walk?

Background

Uncover the mystery and secrets of an ancient Mayan temple, praise the Gods and find the elixir of life before the Syndicate find you.  What are you determined to sacrifice?

Inside the room

True to their word, they’ve worked hard on the immersive nature of the experience so that you’re transported to another place as soon as you walk through the door. The sound, the sight and even the smell are aimed at taking you to that other world. I found a couple of the choices they’d made to aid with immersion quite interesting. One aspect was absolutely linked to Mayan culture but, instead of helping with the immersion, it took us out of the game. Rather than being a subtle reference, we stopped and started talking about it. On the other hand, the slate wallpaper faded into the background of the temple even though it didn’t truly fit with the theme. It’s not an aspect I’d really considered before, but increasing immersion and being faithful to the theme can sometimes lead you in different directions.

The focus on immersion continued throughout the game with a set that flitted between being a little Crystal Maze-y, with its hessian and rope, and a little more serious, with stone plinths and statues. There were occasional lapses – technology isn’t always the answer, but this is a game where some magic to unlock compartments instead of combination locks would have been a good addition. There’s something about big, old stone temple environments that makes the addition of padlocks grate a little.

The clue system (and, in fact, general commentary within the game) adds to the immersion, with the God of Death coming along on your journey. We didn’t receive any help but I heard enough at other stages of the game to think that receiving clues would feel more like part of the game than at your average venue.

The room wasn’t quite linear, but it was pretty close, and we generally split into no more than two groups to tackle the puzzles. On the one hand, you’re not likely to see anything particularly original on the puzzle front so don’t expect to be super-excited. On the other, I don’t think you’re likely to find them too frustrating. One is a classic escape room trope that enthusiasts will find a little tedious, but all the other puzzles were reasonable, and one type of puzzle that is almost universally badly implemented was done well here.

I was pleased to see some skill-style challenges that were nicely pitched in terms of difficulty level. Unfortunately, they seemed to need a bit of work to make them slightly more robust, as they both partially broke while we were playing. We “got away” with the problems this time, but I could easily imagine them being broken in a way which would require the GM to either come into the room or just give you the final code, neither of which are great.

There’s some searching to be done but it’s not amazingly difficult and it ensures there’s an opportunity for the whole team to get involved regardless of their age or ability. One aspect I really liked was that on one of those occasions it wasn’t necessary to find every single item in the search – my biggest frustration with searching is when you’ve found 90% of the hidden items but now need to scour an entire room for one missing thing. Once you get rid of that frustration, searching can actually be quite fun.

The finale was well constructed to fit the story and involve the team in a very active way. In terms of what you had to do, they’d absolutely nailed it, but I was a little disappointed with the result – it looked like the perfect opportunity for some theatre in the room, but the outcome was less than inspiring.

Result

We escaped in 23 minutes without taking any clues.

Verdict –
 

[One of the owners has responded in the comments – definitely worth scrolling down to check out what they’ve said]

Mayan is a fun game that caters well to the first-time player. The puzzles were accessible, with little to get you frustrated, and the focus on immersion generally paid off reasonably well. As an enthusiast, I found a lack of originality in the puzzles – as soon as we saw them, we pretty much knew what we had to do, and a couple of ropey physical puzzles (no pun intended) didn’t help matters.

If you’re an enthusiast, invite along a friend or two and have a playful time in the game. For first-timers, I’d probably suggest no more than four.

Detailed Room Ratings

Venue
Host
Wow! factor
Immersiveness
Difficulty

Full disclosure: We weren’t charged for these tickets. That doesn’t influence the review – you can read more on the About page.

2 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Thanks very much for the review and feedback, Ken. We recognised that there were some pain points in the room that, since you came, we have addressed. Your feedback on these aspects confirmed that it was the right choice to alter these so we are very happy about this. We are continually adding and changing puzzles in the Mayan room to keep it fresh and reduce the amount of locks overall. Whilst at Other World Escapes you mentioned that Mayan was the most fun game you had played that day, which we really appreciated 🙂 Thank you for your review, we look forward to seeing you and your team again when we open our next game (Vermilion)!


  2. // Reply

    Thanks for that. Great to hear that you’re actively working on improving the room. Good escape rooms are never finished!

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