Outside the room
It’s not often I go to an escape room in a town that I’ve never heard of, but Dereham was most definitely that. In case you’re in the same boat as me, it’s up in East Anglia, about fifteen miles west of Norwich. It’s a small town (population just under 20,000) that I was very much surprised to find had an escape room. Happy, though – that general area is definitely underprovisioned for games, so I was pleased to see something new appear last year.
The Puzzlescape owners were very helpful over the phone in allowing us to book back-to-back games, and they matched that friendliness in person. It’s probably worth mentioning, in case you have allergies or phobias, that they’ve also got a very friendly dog. After a short chat, it was time to enter the fray in search of the diamond.
We believe Claude Von Dom a notorious diamond smuggler has stolen our very large diamond The Star Of Africa. It is your mission to enter his office to retrieve our diamond, you have one hour.
Inside the room
The Diamond Hunt is a pretty standard “posh office” setup – some fairly old but well maintained furniture in a bare room with a few pictures dotted round the wall. Nothing was likely to make me excited, but it equally wasn’t going to offend much. Similarly, the story was reasonably straightforward and not expanded on during the game.
There was plenty to do in the room at the start, and we were kept busy for a good fifteen minutes. It wasn’t long before I started to realise that this was going to be a search-heavy game – not something I really enjoy. It was at least obvious, though, so I put in extra effort, although apparently not enough: on three occasions during the game we missed something because it was so well hidden. A couple of those occasions seemed that they were just about inside the reasonable search bounds, but one really felt unfair. In fact, I’d also put one of the finds we did make into that category.
There weren’t a huge number of puzzles in the room, but they had their moments. One in particular was nicely structured to combine a few different elements, while another was solvable without help but then gave additional clues if you were willing to do the hard searching. There were usually a couple of puzzles available at any given time but, given the search aspect of the game, you should never be standing around with nothing to do!
As for finale, it was exactly what you’d expect from a diamond heist. Having said that, we got fortunate in the aftermath. If we’d not fluked a difficult search earlier in the game, we’d have been stuck after retrieving the gem. That might result in some serious frustration as pretty much the last thing you do in the room.
We escaped in 45 minutes having taken three or four clues for search fails.
This is an interesting room to judge. For me, the searching was too extreme and really spoiled my enjoyment. On the other hand, I suspect one of my regular teammates would have thoroughly enjoyed that challenge. If searching is your thing, then this game is probably worth checking out. If it’s not, then be prepared to be frustrated on two or three occasions in the game and for the puzzles not to be sufficiently exciting to make up for that.
As a search-heavy room, it probably favours larger teams more than most – I’d recommend taking at least three to share the search load, but be prepared for not solving many puzzles each.
Detailed Room Ratings