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Prestige Escape Rooms: The Witch’s Lair | Review
Prestige Escape Rooms: The Witch’s Lair | Our lovely game-designer, Francesca, has gone missing. The Witch’s Lair was the last room that she was working on. She was researching the history of witchcraft in Lowestoft in the 1600s. Whilst Francesca was designing the game, she changed. Just days before we were due to open the game, she vanished. We have decided with a heavy heart to open this game to the public in the hope that one of you will be able to find some clues about what could have happened to her.
Date Played: January 2023
Time Taken: 58:58
Number of Players: 4
Another one of Prestige’s digital escape rooms in the bag. And… With just two minutes to share on the clock – that’s what I call a picture perfect finish! Sure, we might not be breaking any records with our time in The Witch’s Lair, but it’s always extra satisfying to finish on the clock perfectly.
The Witch’s Lair is the second of Prestige Escape Rooms we tried of an evening in January. Why am I writing this review in April? Well, the room was just so memorable, I really wanted to talk about it. For starters – there’s the frog. That. Frog. Secondly, the story was one of the most unique I’ve experienced. And last but not least, but puzzles were great fun.
We opted to play this room in the ‘digital’ format, which means when you check our you receive a code to play immediately. This code is hosted on Telescape and can be shared around with your teammates. Essentially it amounts to a digital, 360 degree, point-and-click version of the real life brick and mortar room. If for any reason you can’t travel to Lowestoft, playing from the comfort of your own home is second best. Or first best, if you’re a homebody that likes to play her escape rooms wrapped in a cosy jumper and a glass of wine, like me. It also gives me the opportunity to play with some of my favourite people – Alice and Ash of Escaping the Closet, and our friend Tasha.
Once we entered (the word ‘enter’ being quite loose here – more like logged on to) the Witch’s Lair we were immediately struck by the well-crafted and immersive atmosphere. I could tell through a screen that this escape room has a lot of love put into the decor and set design. Recreating the atmosphere of a Witch’s Lair in a digital format can’t be easy, but they were spot-on in creating a spooky and intriguing setting that immediately drew us into the game’s story. The atmosphere was eerie and dark, with an authentic witchcraft theme that made it feel like we were in the middle of the 1600s.
The story of this experience breaks the fourth wall a little and I love that. The game’s game designer Francesca has gone missing! After researching witches and history, something peculiar is afoot. After much deliberation the owners of the escape room decided that their best hope of finding Francesca is to open the escape room up to the public and see if anyone from the public can figure out what happened and save Francesca. Hold on a minute, is this for real? Haha!
What followed was an hour of puzzle solving. As a whole, the game was fairly linear – in that it felt like our team of four were working on the same things at the same time, occasionally breaking up into two smaller groups to puzzle out something in more detail. The room erred on the side of more lock heavy – there were all sorts, 4 digits, 5 digits, letter locks, and so on. Each time we unlocked a lock, we found more evidence to continue on the hunt for Francesca.
What I imagine happens in the in-person room was a little more magic that’s always a little harder to recreate on Telescape. There were a few moments when our actions triggered something open – but it would take us a second or two longer to figure out exactly what, rather than the magic of having a door swing open in front of us. But generally speaking, everything worked really well. The inventory system, the navigation, and of course the puzzle solving.
The highlight of the game for all of us was the frog. Actually, it’s funny, for most of the game I had my PC on silent – and the rest of my team kept saying “Can you guys hear a frog”. I thought everyone was losing their mind, until halfway through I decided to turn my volume up and declared loudly, “Wait! There’s a frog!!” Of course, the frog came to be very integral to the story, but also comic relief as we sped through the puzzles.
As a fun fact I learned after the experience from talking to THE Francesca by email (don’t worry, we saved her in the end!) was that in real life she’s terrified of frogs and toads, much like in the game. I particularly love that the designers created a scary room, featuring something they actually are afraid of. It’s a nice touch! I’m not sure if I have any tangible fears like that myself. Perhaps my greatest fear is the “never-ending existential worry about wasting ones own life”. Hey wait, maybe there’s a fun escape room theme in that!
Jokes aside, The Witch’s Lair was a really enjoyable room. Especially this ‘late’ into the trend of companies digitizing their escape rooms so people can play them remotely, to discover a new one that’s both refreshing and fun is a hidden gem to me. I’d recommend this escape room to anyone! Friends, families, newbies and experts alike. Just beware… The frog!
You can play The Witch’s Lair in person or digitally by booking via their website here.