CluedUpp: The Ripper Review | Three men have already been struck down by The Ripper and fear is taking it’s grip of this town! The police can’t cope with a case this complex and your help is required to catch the killer. Get your family and friends together for a day of crime-solving fun. Put your sleuthing skills to the test at this exciting outdoor detective event and see if your team has what it takes to crack the case.
Time Taken: 2hrs
Date Played: 20th November 2021
Location: Kensington, London
CluedUpp games are like marmite in the escape room enthusiast world. About once a month somebody in a Facebook or Reddit forum will ask about CluedUpp and be met with a barrage of “they are dreadful” and “I had the best time ever“. So, going into the experience on a wintery Saturday morning before Christmas, we weren’t sure what to think. Given that the tickets were so inexpensive and the area – Kensington – is somewhere we don’t get to explore much, we went in with an open mind.
For this particular case, I went with our regular outdoor escape room enthusiast team who you may recognise from posts over the lockdown, such as Operation Mindfall. If there’s walking and puzzles involved, we are there!
How do CluedUpp Games Work?
According to their website, CluedUpp “turns cities into playgrounds”, and yeah, I see it! As a concept, it sets itself apart from other outdoor walking experiences in that there’s no set route you need to follow. Instead what happens once you start your game is that you’ll see a sprawling number of “points of interest” on the map. These are witnesses to speak to, or items to collect, or score multipliers to boost your ranking in the leader boards.
Your ultimate goal is to catch the killer – a serial murderer stalking the streets of
Whitechapel I mean, Kensington. Seems straightforward, only you’re racing against other real teams! For this reason, CluedUpp events only take place on specific days of the year. Everyone signs into the app on the same day, the clock starts ticking, and everyone must be finished by 5pm.
It’s entirely self guided, so there’s no big start and finish line you have to race towards but it was pretty cool to walk past other teams we bumped into whilst playing and marvel at their costumes.
One more thing that we didn’t realise until after the game was that you don’t need to visit every single point on the map. Actually, if you want to ‘win’ the game and beat your rivals, you probably shouldn’t because there are a lot. Ironically, we actually figured out who the correct culprit was around 30% of the way into the game. Instead of making our guess right there, we agreed to collect everything, then go to a pub and make our decision from there. It probably cost us an hour and a half of our time, but hey that’s not really in the spirit of things eh?
How to Solve CluedUpp Puzzles
In terms of puzzles, at each point of interest you encounter you’re presented with a riddle. Occasionally, it makes sense. A copper might be reading a newspaper and asks for a second opinion on one of the questions in the puzzle section. Often, it felt forced and a bit silly. Towards the end we began skipping each character’s preamble and instead grinned at each other – “guys, you’re gonna be shocked at this but Dr so-and-so has a riddle for us”
No wonder the crime has gone unsolved if everyone is spending all their time thinking about riddles!
That said, the riddles themselves were a good way to break up the gameplay with some fun moments that tested us. Some of the riddles involved details from the surrounding environment, and others were fairly well known puzzles you’d find on any escape room’s social media account. You know the ones I’m talking about.
So… Who Dunnit?
Haha! That I cannot tell you. You’ll just have to go and book the game yourself!
But I will say that if CluedUpp’s weakness is the puzzles, then their strength is definitely the storytelling. In just a few words with each character, a rich network of witnesses and informants unfolded in front of us. It was easy to forget we were just interacting with an app and not a real person in front of us. And, in the end, the conclusion was very satisfying. It felt like being the main character in your own, London based thriller.
Overall, we’ve definitely classed this one on the easier side – and I can see why it’s marmite to a lot of enthusiasts. It’s not a particularly challenging game. But CluedUpp never pretended to be challenging – they’re mass market appeal murder mystery games and put the emphasis on you and your team exploring a new part of the city, dressing up, and having a laugh.
We played a specific version of The Ripper in Kensington on a special event day. Since the game is available at so many places around the world, it’s hard to say if our experience is representative of what everyone will have when they sign up – but honestly? We enjoyed ourselves.
We would caution enthusiasts not to have too high expectations when it comes to the puzzles, instead this would be a great game to take along your puggle (puzzle muggle) friends for a lighthearted day out. For us, booking and playing was really just an excuse to hang out and I wouldn’t hesitate to book another!
The Ripper is available at countless cities across the world. To find your nearest and book in, head to CluedUpp’s website here.