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Deadlocked: The Insiders

The Wexell Corporation has a problem right now. There’s a mole in the company, working against us with some very sensitive information and we need YOU to find out who’s been sneaking around where they shouldn’t.

Rating: Great
Completion Time: 6.5 hours
Date Played: 16th – 23rd of May 2020
Party Size: 4

The Insiders is without a doubt the best value for money play-at-home escape room on the market, at the time of writing! For £9.99 you get a 6+ hour experience (or 3 individual escape rooms if you split them up). That’s three evening’s worth of fun! Which, coincidentally is exactly how I tackled the escape room with my family during lockdown. After reading many recommendations, we picked up a copy and got to work!

It’s not just great value for price, The Insiders is also uniquely immersive – in short, you get to step out into the ‘real world’ to solve puzzles *cough* virtually, of course. We found ourselves scouring people’s Facebook accounts, walking miles in Google Street View, and looking up obscure details about real life concerts that happened years ago. I want to say it’s just like what to expect from a puzzle hunt, or escape room experience, but in some ways it’s better. For a brief moment during this lockdown pandemic, it was almost like I was back in the real world?? Almost!

In a big race to uncover a mole inside the mysterious Wexell Corporation – oh yes, a familiar name if you’ve ever played the Escape Room Puzzle Book. Just like the puzzle book, you have to think outside of the box to solve (outside the book? The screen?) Deadlocked push the boundaries of what is possible in an escape room and they NAILED IT.

As such it’s hard to say this is an ‘escape room’, or even a ‘play at home’ game. It’s an immersive, alternate reality experience similar to theatre, complete with a lot of gimmicks and surprises.

Overall, a joy to play. The only reason I can’t give this a 5* review is for the one fiendishly difficult and frustrating mini-game you get right in the middle. It took our team a little over 2 hours to complete, after which we had to take a long break! Read as, several members of the team storming off and giving up.

This puzzle felt very out of place and jarring in the wider narrative. The rest of the game flows beautifully, but I’d imagine a lot of people give up at this point. We nearly did. It feels difficult for the sake of being difficult, and not particularly accessible to a wider audience either.

However, Deadlocked have informed me that they have since simplified the game to make the final stage a little bit easier. I can’t comment on how, but good luck nonetheless when you get to this puzzle!

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Onto more positive things, with this exception, most of the puzzles were pitched at a good level of difficulty. I played with a team of differing experience levels, including a 10 year old and yes, at some point, each player contributed something.

After The Insiders, it’ll be a tall order for any escape room company to live up to the complexity of this game.

The Insiders can be purchased for £9.99 from Deadlocked Escape Rooms website. The price can also be redeemed against an escape room when they reopen.

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