Your dreams have been getting stranger and more vivid lately. In your dreams, you play yourself but there’s something different about you in some way. Something you can’t quite put your finger on. More recent dreams have also featured a strange symbol that keeps appearing in the strangest of places. One night it might appear as a tattoo, another night it might be the pattern on some wallpaper. One afternoon, a card with the very same symbol was slipped into your pocket. You didn’t see who left it but you have a strong feeling enticing you to investigate…
Completion Time: 50:00
Date Played: 10th July 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Folks who want a puzzle-light, theatrical 80s experience
*cue rad 80s music*
London’s only 80s themed escape room? Don’t mind if I do! Well… I suppose now I’ve played it I’d actually have to classify it as a sci-fi escape room. Think interdimensional space travel but with tape cassettes and VHS thingy-me-bobs that I’m too young to remember. Actually, between us, we weren’t sure HOW to load a cassette into the cassette player, but not to worry that’s just a bonus extra puzzle!
Actually, I think Hypersomnia is a game that exists within the We Still Fax universe. The parallels are uncanny! With the escape room plot centering with you hopping between an infinite number of parallel universes where tiny changes spin out whole new worlds – then it’s impossible that We Still Fax doesn’t exist in this world, right?
An Escape Room Birthday… A Month Late!
I love the 80s so much that I initially booked Hypersomnia for my birthday way back at the start of June. Unfortunately on the day I felt sick, and you can’t take any chances in *gestures vaguely* the global panini, so I emailed the team very late to cancel myself and my partner from the booking.
The rest of my team played on without me and I sat at home feeling sorry for myself… But it’s testament to the excellent customer service that even though I was prepared to eat my booking fee, the owner Jay was absolutely wonderful in getting us rebooked! Which is how a whole month later I finally got my chance to step across the threshold into an incredible new world and take on Hypersomnia.
It Began With Extreme Memory Loss…
We arrived at the venue and entered a very dark and very strange room. Actually, it was so immersive we initially thought that this WAS the escape room, prompting one of our member to start lifting things up and looking behind doors. The whole setting was bathed in an eerie red glow and I definitely heard the sound of what I can only describe as intergalactic space travel coming from the next room.
After a few minutes, our host arrived!
“Ahh, welcome back! What are your names… No, not your fake Earth names, your REAL names? Oh wait… You don’t remember them? Hmm, that’s a problem.”
Oh no, it seemed our whole group had suffered a very serious bout of amnesia and couldn’t remember why we were here on Earth. In fact, our whole memory was filled with useless Earth stuff, like the name of my so called pet from my so called childhood. But not to worry, that can sometimes happen with inter-dimensional travel, and our host was quite sure our memories would return once we got into the room.
Puzzle-Light, Story Heavy
If anyone were to ask me for a recommendation for a game to play in London, I’d ask them whether they prefer puzzle solving or a rich story first. For anyone who prefers a rich story, Hypersomnia is perfect! At it’s core it’s a really unique story with some puzzles aiding the plot along – more like jigsaw pieces where solving something merely reveals more of the narrative.
This wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, but it does make for a really refreshing game. There was no rummaging around for 4 digit codes, or looking for keys, or lifting plant pots up to find cipher wheels. No, instead your goal was to remember who you were. Each player had their own identity with skills and weaknesses. As I learned more about mine I really fell into her character and, as the game reaches it’s climax and gives you a difficult decision to make at the end, I felt like my role influenced the decision I made too.
The puzzles that were in there fit wonderfully with the setting and delightfully, included things I’d never seen before. The less said about them the better, as I don’t want to spoil anything!
I did get the impression that most of the puzzles in Hypersomnia were triggered by ‘hand of God’ (aka, a very attentive games master in the next room). It was clear they were paying great attention as we tripped up early with a technical error in the room and the GM immediately appeared to put it right.
An Unusual, Inter-Dimensional Experience
I really want to be able to say that I had a great time playing Hypersomnia, but the truth is days later I’m still wondering if I made the right choice with how I payed the game. It wasn’t your typical escape room – no, it was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. ‘The rules’ of escape rooms I’ve come to expect with every experience I play were broken and remade in this room, and you know what? I kinda wanna go back and give it another try!
You enter into an unusual lobby where the event is in character from the moment you start, then after re-learning your whole identity and making monumental decisions that affect many universes, you suddenly emerge into daylight, have a quick photo (in a completely different themed room) and then disappear off into the day. I don’t know what our final time was – I don’t know how well we did, all I know is that I’m not really from Earth and probably my life is a lie.
My two absolute favourite genres of escape room in the world are sci-fi and 80s. It ticks all the boxes for me and I’ll be the first to recommend it to my friends, but man it was a really, really strange day.
You can book Hypersomnia at Modern Fables by heading to their website here.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.