Compendium: UI-55 | Review


Compendium UI-55 Review | A German U-boat named UI-55 was found in the river Thames. Have you and your team got what it takes to sneak aboard and retrieve all of Britain’s wealth before the German soldier’s return?

Date Played: March 2022
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: ~50 Minutes
Difficulty: Expert!

When we were planning our mini-break to the North we chose Manchester due to the escape rooms. I had heard such fantastic things about UI-55 that it was a bit of a no-brainer. This room has actually won multiple awards, and (spoiler alert) is one of the few rooms I’ve done that I think is well deserving of the hype!


All Aboard UI-55!

The premise of UI-55 is that you have discovered a German U-boat, hoarding plenty of British treasure, and you only have an hour to recover as much as possible. The first thing you’ll realise upon ‘boarding’ is just how massive this room is. For context, it fills an entire floor and is apparently the size of two normal escape rooms put together! However, if you’re worried that this looks like a big rectangle, don’t be! It’s very much structured as a submarine, with long corridors and windy passageways to traverse. I loved the general size, and the attention to detail in that every nook and cranny reads as ‘submarine’. I had great fun running up and down, as the puzzles absolutely cover the space, and you will need to get elements from each area to complete some.

The other thing to be aware of is the sheer amount of puzzles, especially given the 60-minute time. In a normal room, you might expect to complete 10-15. Here there are nearly 30 to complete alone, which each give you a task to complete and then a key to use to retrieve some loot (depending how quickly you locate the right locker). Luckily, you don’t need to complete all of the puzzles – from memory, you only need to complete 21 within the time, with a very clear (and very fun) indication of when you should really move into the final phase of the room (the loot grabbing).



As you might expect in a room with such a large variety of puzzles, they are all completely different with a fantastic variety. If one puzzle isn’t your forte (*side eyes the dexterity puzzle*) that’s ok! There is always another puzzle to do instead. Some of these puzzles are available upfront, some require you to complete others to gain the materials you need. It’s fairly obvious which bits go with which puzzles, and what you need to do. There are also clues scattered all over the place in the decor, and even some answers which are available to you right from the start! Completing a puzzle gives you a code, which you use to get some tokens, which are then used to gain keys, which are then used to unlock lockers. Luckily, as a duo the ‘gaining keys’ stage can be skipped, as I can see that this would take quite a bit of time, and personally, I feel is a step too far for any team.

I can only remember what a few of the puzzles were in the game, as I was very much running around like a headless chicken, completing one puzzle and then moving on, but I know I’d love to redo the room just to have the same experience again! I also know I only saw around half the puzzles, with my mum clearing half the sub by herself and me clearing the other half. If you or your teammates are the sorts of people who want to know what everyone has done so far or how they’ve reached their conclusions…this is not the room for you. We had to trust that we each had a grip on what we were doing and that we would call for help if needed, or if there was a puzzle we couldn’t figure out. Even when it came to the co-op puzzles we were so aware of the time we just trusted each other’s instincts, and if we ever found objects we weren’t sure of we checked in with each other to see if they had an idea. Honestly, it’s probably the best teamwork we’ve ever had as we didn’t have time to argue!

Normally I would talk about flow, but honestly here there is so much to do in so little time we were never stuck, bored or frustrated. The team are so slick with their clues too – they know exactly when to give us a nudge, what sort of nudge we needed and clearly could tell what we were each working on.

This room is also an example of my favourite type of room – the type where you don’t need to 100% complete it, but if you have the time and skill you can. This meant we were determined to grab all the loot, so really pushed the time at the end to get all the lockers unlocked and money in the bags.

I could go on and on about this room, but it’s honestly the best room I’ve ever played, and I could easily go and replay it (especially as I know there are a lot of puzzles I didn’t even see the first time!).

Accessibility (spoilers!)

As I mentioned in my previous review for the other Compendium rooms, there are some steep stairs to reach the room. However, there are chairs to sit on inside the room itself. It’s a bit dim in places, with lots of reading and colour requirements. There are a couple of puzzles requiring hearing, and some requiring dexterity. No crawling in this one though! You should also be fine if you’re concerned about claustrophobia, as although this was set on a submarine it was actually pretty spacious.

The Verdict

This is a short review because the verdict is simple. This is a must-play room, and we are awarding it our highest award; The Badge of Honour.

I’ve played many of the top rooms in the TERPECA and ‘Escape the review’ lists, but this is hands down my favourite. It’s going to be a long time before this gets knocked out of number one for me!

UI-55 can be booked by heading to Compendium’s website here.

The House Of Da Vinci 2 | Review


The House Of Da Vinci 2 Review | Become an apprentice of the famous Leonardo da Vinci. Solve handcrafted mechanical 3D puzzles and discover hidden secrets. Navigate through mesmerizing environments of the Italian Renaissance. Travel through time to influence your surroundings. 

Developer: Blue Brain Games 
Console Played On: Nintendo Switch 
Touchscreen Compatible: Yes 
Number Of Players: 1

I asked Leo to do my makeup. Needless to say, it took a while.

Do you wish that you lived in the renaissance era? Check ✅

Would you like to work for Leonardo Da Vinci? Check ✅

Would you like to travel back and forth through 16th Century Italy? Check ✅

Well if so, this puzzle game might just be for you. 

“Painting Is Poetry That Is Seen Rather Than Felt, And Poetry Is Painting That Is Felt Rather Than Seen.” 

The House Of Da Vinci 2 starts by (literally) taking no prisoners. As the character Giacomo, you are guided to escape your prison cell, to meet with a mysterious character; proposing an offer you cannot refuse.  

The look and feel of the game are idiomatic from the beginning. Furthermore, the detailed aesthetics of the puzzles are in some cases, stunning; adding to the responsibility of drawing the player into the game’s world with ease. 

My one drawback from an immersion perspective is the voice acting, which at best, is wooden. The cut scenes in the game are heavily driven by NPC dialogue and it does take a slight shine off an otherwise, immersive experience. 

Real feels Leo. Real feels.

“Once You Have Tasted Flight, You Will Forever Walk The Earth With Your Eyes Turned Skyward…” 

I’m in two minds about the control. The handheld control I found intuitive and easy to get on with. The console-docked method however I found to be quite the opposite. 

Handheld allows you to either use the joy-con controllers, touchscreen or an interchangeable hybrid of both. There are plenty of calibration tweaks that can be applied in the options menu, for further customisation and personal comfort. 

The console-docked method involves a single detached joy-con only, to be pointed at the TV, like a mouse. The biggest setback; is that this method is right joy-con compatible only. The left joy-con has no option to be used. (If you saw our Palindrome Syndrome review, I mentioned that I am left-handed). Therefore, I didn’t feel comfortable using this control method. It is something I would like for the developers to consider, if any updates are on the horizon. 

“…Realise That Everything Connects To Everything Else” 

The majority of puzzles presented, are logical and satisfying to complete. Puzzle types include observation, searching, placement, logic and math. Be warned however that observation and attention play a huge part in the player’s success. There were a few times that I was stuck in a room, pressed for a hint and was asked to merely open a door handle or a latch to a drawer. These slip-ups were sometimes my own poor attentive skills, but in some cases, it was due to the mechanisms not being signposted clear enough on screen to engage with. 

The hints system works well in gradually assisting the player to the next progression, usually in 2, 3 or 4 stages. The collection of hints per puzzle are unlocked gradually through time spent looking around and attempting. This is a very organic process and strikes a fine balance between getting stuck for too long and spamming the hints from the off, preventing the risk of an overly-easy playthrough. 

A Led Zeppelin song comes to mind…

Art Is Never Finished, Only Abandoned.” 

What I like most about The House Of Da Vinci 2, is the reason that Giacomo becomes Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice. I’m not going to spoil it for potential players, but it is a fantastic story-piece, that bolsters the narrative’s depth. 

Whist I mentioned above that the puzzle aesthetics are generally strong, the puzzle mechanics and types are not that varied. A lot of the puzzles require acute observational skills and, in some cases; can come off as pedestrian. Because of this, some players may find the game at times, repetitive and frustrating. 

That being said, the return of the time travel mechanic from the first game; whilst not a completely original concept, is still exciting; adding further depth to the puzzles presented. There is a great satisfaction in going back in time, to change a prop’s position or picking up an item, thus carving out a solution in the present. 

Priceless Art Or Worthless Fake? 

The current value for The House Of Da Vinci 2 varies based on console choice. Mobile is priced at £4.99, whereas Switch is £8.99. Steam however is priced at £17.99. I’m going to base this on the console played (Switch), so add or remove a star for value for money, if you opt for one of the other two choices. 

£8.99 I feel is a very reasonable price point for a game that will provide around 10 hours worth of solid, enjoyable game play. 

For The Artist Or The Apprentice? 

I’m going to put it out there and say that the majority of content in The House Of Da Vinci 2 is not difficult… as long as you pay attention. It is a game that rewards you for having a keen eye for nuance and the finer details. It’s when your mind might wander; for example, you look at your phone for a brief moment, during a short, automated cut scene; you miss an integral part to progress, and therefore have no choice but to use hints. (Yes, this did happen to me *cough*). 

Bottom line, if you have a short attention span; you might struggle, and yes, I am calling myself out here. 


This is a good game and has many reasons for it to be considered as your next purchase. Whilst there are some niggles and frustrations, these are often minor and do not take away from a satisfying experience.

Escape The Past Edinburgh: The Anatomist | Review


Escape the Past Edinburgh The Anatomist Review | The year is 1829, and the City of Edinburgh is shaken after the grim discovery of the Burke and Hare murders. Demand for corpses to aid medical research remains high, and questions are starting to surface about how distinguished anatomist Dr Malcolm has been acquiring his bodies for dissection.

We’ve heard a whisper of a terrible incident occurring in Edinburgh’s old surgical district, and it’s up to us to infiltrate Dr. Malcolm’s study to find his journal and discover what is really going on. Time is short, his lecture in the nearby Surgeon’s Hall finishes in one hour and if the rumours are true, we don’t want to be caught sneaking around!

Rating: A must visit!
Completion Time: 32 minutes
Date Played: 3rd August 2021
Party Size: 5
Recommended For: Immersive experience seekers

Travel back in time…

Escape The Past have created an incredible game combining Edinburgh’s dark history with an exhilarating escape room. Our team of five were completely immersed in our surroundings, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that the room was designed by Chris Wood, an Edinburgh University History graduate and Zahra Chaudhri, a doctor. The attention to detail is seriously impressive and offers a full sensory experience, which is a rare find.

Plenty of hidden surprises await if you book The Anatomist. I’m sure our games master, Sophie, was relieved to hear the squeals emerging from the room were that of excitement rather than our team succumbing to the perils that lie within.

A 19th Century Crystal Maze

A few times during the game we commented that we’d stumbled upon a 19th Century Crystal Maze. The puzzles were a great mix of observation, riddles, cyphers, maths, and physical challenges, all of which used the props around us cleverly. They flowed seamlessly to slowly reveal the story, concluding with a brilliant finale. One of the puzzles was unavailable due to COVID restrictions, but an alternative way to solve it was offered and didn’t take away from our enjoyment at all.

Clues were available if requested by ringing a bell, but our team were on a roll and completed the game in 32 minutes and 13 seconds so we didn’t end up asking for any help. The team were extremely approachable though and would have provided instant support with some dark humour for good measure.

The Verdict

Whether you are new to escape rooms or a puzzle enthusiast, Escape the Past is a must visit. Immerse yourself in the history of Edinburgh and discover the secrets of Dr. Malcolm before it’s too late! We’re top of the leaderboard this month, so why not try take on the challenge and beat our time?!

The Anatomist can be booked at Escape The Past in Edinburgh.

Access Escape: Escape the Mailbox: Mayhem at the Museum


You leave your house and enter into a brisk determined walk, partly because of the January cold and partly because you’re running 5 minutes late. You ponder to yourself how after 3 weeks off you still manage to be late for your first day back. John, the night guard will ask the same question when you arrive and give a familiar lecture on how next time you’re late he won’t wait around and will just leave the museum unguarded until you get there and if anything goes wrong, it will be your fault.

Rating: Different!
Completion Time:  ~10 minutes
Date Played: 14th February 2021
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: People who want more interesting emails

The feel when the wonderful people at Escape the Mailbox release December, January AND February Escape the Mailbox but you decide to play them all in one day rather than one a month like you’re supposed to…

Well, better late than never! By doing three in one day I get to have all the enjoyment all at once, too.

Mayhem at the Museum kicks off January’s Escape the Mailbox with a charming and mysterious story of an overnight museum security guard who, after spotting some unusual green orbs floating around an exhibit accidentally triggers centuries old magic. Oh dear! That magic is back with a vengeance and the only way to stop it? Solve the riddles of course!

So the museum security guard is deep within the museum somewhere and your only line of contact with him is via your email inbox. He needs your help navigating the 5 puzzles he’s been presented with… Damnit! This never would have happened if you’d showed up to work on time.

This time round, the puzzles are Ancient Egyptian themed. You can expect some pretty cool ciphers, hieroglyphics, some maths… Of course, this is Access Escape, so everything is fully accessible to visually impaired players. You can play via your Google or Alexa device and may of course make full use the internet to help.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but it’s a really cool idea. Whats more, the games are short and sweet – so perfect for playing on a lunch break from work. That is, if you used your work email address to sign up!

The technology used is called Puzzle Panther if you’re thinking about making your own. But if you’re more of the puzzle-solving, than puzzle-making type, you can sign up on Access Escape’s website for free.

Enigma Fellowship: The Lost Knowledge


Prof. McEwan, a renowned archaeologist, is missing. His research group thinks he may be in danger. He was searching for a lost artifact of great significance. The Enigma Fellowship has been engaged to locate him and help solve his quest.

Rating: Detailed!
Completion Time: 1:45:00
Date Played: 8th December 2020
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: History Buffs, Adventure Seekers

The Lost Knowledge is the first in what is surely to be a very exciting series of play at home game subscriptions and I’m very glad to have set aside an evening to fully dive into this wonderful adventure!

The story goes, you are an investigator with the Enigma Fellowship and you have been set on a case concerning a missing person – Professor McEwan, after his research assistants flag his unusual behaviour in their most recent postcards from him. So off you go to the university, where you must first find a way to unlock his office, unlock his safe, figure out where he’s gone, then head off on your own adventure as you track him down.

Along the way, you’re guided by a whole host of actors reading each part via the online element which is a great touch, if rather funny to have your every action narrated. “You gasp”, the audio element says. So I turn to my partner and we both gasp at each other in unison, before cracking up laughing.

Another interesting part of the gameplay which I’ve not yet come across in another experience is how certain parts are locked off from you. You start with a large envelope, and soon hit a ‘roadblock’ of a QR code and a “Do Not Open Until Instructed”. Once you have been instructed, you’ll find more evidence and another locked envelope, then another. It’s pretty cool – like the Russian Dolls of the escape world, and cleverly done. About as close to a real life escape room experience as it’s possible to get in a paper based game.

In terms of puzzles, we were pleasantly pleased to find a wide, wide range in there. There’s a LOT of content. At least 2 hours worth, and no two puzzles are the same. I’d probably say this game is around ‘intermediate’ in terms of difficulty. There was nothing we were both absolutely stumped on, but some puzzles will take longer to solve and others you’ll have to really think outside of the box to work out how to play.

I also found that I learned something new whilst playing! I don’t want to give any spoilers (and mentioning puzzles found at the end of the game will spoil the first half of the game), but there are certain ancient societies and cultures I immediately rushed off to learn more about, thanks to this game! I applaud the creators’ research.

Overall, really good fun! A great game to play whether or not you’re a newbie to the play at home genre, or a veteran. You’ll find yourself surprised, excited, and feeling accomplished when you finally ‘win’ the game.

The Lost Knowledge can be purchased for $22 USD on Enigma Fellowship’s website.