You managed to decipher a coded message from outer space. You find yourself 26,000 light years away, surrounded by the 22 brightest stars. You look around, and see 22 doors. Each star guards a door. The 22 stars are the 22 Guardians. As you complete each task, the Guardians guide you to the next star and the next door opens.
Completion Time: 1hr
Date Played: 7th February 2021
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: People wanting an escape room fix from home
I never know when people will be reading my blog posts, so I’d best cut to the chase: pandemic! Yes, in 2020 and 2021 the pandemic happened (if this is news, where have you been?!) and many classic real life escape rooms made the switch into an online offering. One such escape room is The Guardians of the Elixir by The Real Escape in Portsmouth. It’s a pretty ingenious way to offer your escape room in a totally digital format that players can hop in and enjoy at their own pace. Sure, the medium is not perfect, but it does open up a whole world of rooms I might never have visited otherwise.
In The Guardians of the Elixir, as I understand it the digital version is a direct copy of the real life escape room (which I have not played!). This means if you have played it before you won’t be able to play this one – but the inverse is also true! If you’ve been eyeing up playing the escape room version but can’t travel / don’t have the money / literally any other reason, this is almost the same experience!
The story goes that you find yourself with the power to grant humankind a mysterious elixir of immortality. But in order to prove mankind’s worthiness, you are transported to a location in deep space and must solve a series of astrology themed puzzles to appease each of the 22 guardians.
From herein, the room is very linear! In fact, one of the most linear games I’ve ever played as, put simply, each door you unlock gives you the clues to the next and so on. At the start, we were a tad confused. There IS an instructions sheet, but it’s hidden in the room *cough* did I say hidden? I mean it’s actually right there in full view but we managed to miss it TWICE whilst sweeping the room! Once you’ve got your instructions, you’re golden.
One of the coolest things about this game is the technology. It’s built on Telescape and so throughout the game the two of us from different locations could see each other’s mouse moving around the screen and we could talk about each puzzle and know exactly what the other was on about. Each time one player picks something up it jumps into both players inventory also, so we were on the same page at all times.
In terms of puzzles, there’s a really good mix of everything. In particular, I enjoyed a puzzle related to music (even if it did blow both our headphones off as we weren’t expecting it!), there’s also a few maze puzzles, something involving Roman numerals, dice, and more – it’s cool. There’s a good mix scattered throughout the 22 puzzles and not too much repetition.
I think this game could be quite hard to play with a team of larger than say 3 or 4, both due to the linear nature of the experience and the technology. But for us, a team of 2 playing from different locations, we had a great time! Just what I needed on a snowy Sunday afternoon nursing a slight hangover from a friend’s Zoom party the night before. So here’s my advice, pick someone as fun and awesome as my co-escaper (shout out to Bianca) to play with and you’ll have a great time too.
The Guardians of the Elixir can be played for £15 per team on The Real Escape’s website.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.