The Doctor needs you: A rogue Dalek, a spaceship on the verge of destruction and an impossible choice…
Completion Time: 48 minutes
Date Played: 9th of March 2020
Party Size: 4
This week in Reading and Birmingham, international escape room company Escape Hunt launched a new game in partnership with the BBC – Doctor Who: A Dalek Awakens.
As I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the first to play it on launch day, I thought I’d leave a little review. But I should definitely preface this by saying I’m not a Doctor Who fan. A lot of the more exciting references (BADWOLF anyone?) went over my head! But that just goes to show that the room is still great fun without necessarily needing to be a megafan. More than anything, it’s a step up for Escape Hunt’s rooms in technology and enjoyment!
So here goes… A Dalek Awakens is a ‘one room’ game into which you and your friends are transported. A slightly ominous terraforming spaceship has been taken over by an (honestly particularly scary looking) Dalek. The Dalek is draining the power of the ship FAST and if you don’t hurry you’re going to be trapped on the ship alongside thousands of cryo-frozen humans. Argggh!
One thing in particular I enjoyed is that each player has a specific role. In my game, I was the ‘Sheriff’, alongside other roles such as ‘Captain’ and ‘Navigator’. Frankly, I think The Sheriff is a name to rival The Doctor! But jokes aside, I really appreciate escape rooms that do that. It gives you an active role to play and a believable part of the action. Each of the ‘roles’ needed to perform certain tasks at certain times… I think in our case those tasks were controlled by the GM, but there are pressure plated floors in this experience too to make sure you’re in your right spot at the right time!
The game also encourages you to think outside the box… No REALLY think outside the box.
Never breaking immersion once, you’re not just looking for a mechanism to solve the puzzle. You actually have to be present on that spaceship. Such as: “Okay, I need to fix the oxygen, where might I find this?”. It wasn’t the case of seeing the puzzle in front of you and knowing how to solve it, it was trying to figure out how you’d actually solve this. A bit tricky to explain without a concrete example, but I was impressed with the ingenuity. My only hint is that if you see an alien lifeform you can talk to it to achieve your goal. There’s no buttons to make it work, you must interact and hope you’ll be able to convince the alien to help! ALMOST like a real Doctor Who experience.
We clocked in a respectable score, though not quite making the leader board for the day. Sadly, just a few days later the whole country went into lockdown, so it looks like it’ll be a while before most people get to playing this game! But this is one to watch for sure. I hope the flashy tech and cool Dalek model holds up and provides as much fun to the next players, post-lockdown!
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.