Pressure Point: Murder on the Dancefloor | Review

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Its 1978 and your evening at the 2P’s nightclub has ended in disaster! You hear rumours that the ‘King of Groove’ has been murdered!  With all your belongings inside, there is no way for you and your friends to get home. You find another way in and you can’t help but have a snoop around. Your curiosity gets the better of you. What you are about to find inside is not groovy…

 

Date Played: February 2022
Time Taken:  47 Minutes 13 Seconds
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Easy/Medium

 

It really was time to get our groove on with this 1970’s disco extravaganza. A team of four of us were feeling funky so we headed on down to Ashford to see what the noise was all about. Safe to say, we came away feeling as high as Simon Cowell’s waistband!

Greeted warmly by our host, we were first escorted to a funky little briefing room. This clearly is where the fun begins. Yep, there is the normal health and safety stuff and “here is how a padlock works”, however the briefing also had a certain comical charm about it. As ever, no spoilers, however the tongue in cheek aspect works a treat, with little disco references thrown in for good measure, plus a certainly little prop which made us all giggle. This was certainly one of the more memorable briefings we’ve had the pleasure of that’s for sure.

So, tick boxes completed, we strutted our stuff down to the room itself.

 

 

Time to Get Our Groove On

As ever, the first thing that I look at within a room are the aesthetics.  The initial room where you commence the game is a subtle understated affair which plays into the game perfectly. The puzzles are well hidden within the room, yet you have just enough to get you moving. But don’t be fooled – areas like this are often trickier than they appear. And this was one of them.

Worth knowing that there is a slightly different clue system within the first part of the game. Sadly we didn’t actually use it (insert my smug face here!), however I now wish we had, as it looked really cool, if a little disconcerting – but no spoilers, you’ll have to play the game itself to know what I mean here.

Something that we loved about this game in its entirety is the game play and flow of the room. At no point will you find yourself bunching up and having to all try and resolve a puzzle all together. There is a lot going on in this game and the designers have really cleverly been able to utilise this non-linear, multi-puzzle approach.  At no point did we get the dreaded escapees block, where you just look blankly at one another and have absolutely no idea what to do!

 

 

Give me that Night Fever, Night Fever…

As you’d expect from me, music plays a huge part in how I review a room – safe to say we were humming the tunes from this room all the way home! The audio set up works really well. All the time you aren’t in the “main room”, you can here the subtle thump thump of the disco music playing in the background. Once you reach the disco however, expect to be singing and dancing along. Luckily, I am reliably informed that a recording of my dodgy dad dancing hasn’t been kept for future reference/abuse, however, the three adults in the team embarrassed my son somewhat!

The feel in the main area of this game is a real feast for the senses both audibly and visually. Music, lights – this makes for a very happy Nick!

Time to get our Puzzle On!

Now onto the puzzles. Where to begin?! There a lot of them and they all fitted the theme really well. Clearly when designing, the creators have thought long and hard about how to integrate as many disco and 70s themed props into the game; and they’ve done a cracking job in doing this.

What really sets the game apart from others is the way in which the puzzles integrate with the room. The joys of being set in a 70s disco means that everything is big and flashy and in your face – and that’s exactly how the games worked too. Don’t expect subtle “where do I find this” search the room-style puzzles here. You’ll see a lot to start off with, although be warned, you might not be able to access it straight away!

And when it comes to difficulty, we all agreed that this is a game which would be accessible to new comers and experienced players alike. For the first timers, the user-friendly game play, coupled with fantastically light hearted theming (although there has been a murder), and some really enjoyable puzzles, is a winner. Likewise, those that are a little more experienced would enjoy a room which doesn’t take itself too seriously. (There are also a few little Easter eggs to keep your eyes peeled for, which may reference a few other escape rooms!)

 

But Who Was the Murderer?!

Obviously I’m not going to tell you that! I can sort of tell you how we worked it out though; a number of the puzzles reveal specific traits about the murder. As you build an understanding of the suspects and their motives, slowly but surely you get to eliminate some until you reach your final verdict.

Having played murder style games before, you can often get to a verdict quite quickly – this wasn’t the case here – and in fact, you don’t know how to pin point and announce the murderer until you have solved the very final puzzle.

The game builds into a strong crescendo and this is where the team work really comes into play. Where the game play for this room allows you to separate for much of the game, paying attention to your team mates is imperative. Its easy to miss a clue so communication is key!

 

So did this Game Strut our Stuff – Yeah Baby!

(Sorry, couldn’t resist a little Austin Powers there!)

We all really enjoyed this one. A combination of strong theme, varied and well planned games, a solid flow and of course the light-hearted tongue in cheek approach, makes this a solid option for puzzlers new and experienced, young and old.

 

You wanna get your groove on?! Click the link below to book it for yourself… Pressure Point Escape Rooms, Ashford, Kent

 

A Fisherman’s Tale | Review

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A Fisherman’s Tale Review | Playing as a tiny fisherman puppet, you live alone in your tiny cabin, oblivious to the world outside. When your radio broadcasts a storm alert, you have to climb the lighthouse to turn on the light! As you leave your cabin with the help of some uncanny sidekicks, you realize what’s waiting outside is not at all what you expected…

Developer: Innerspace VR
Date Played: December 2021
Console: Oculus
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 2 hours

In my day job, talking about VR comes up a lot. Big words like “the metaverse” are thrown around, but really what people want to know is what is VR and what kind of thing can you do with it. When these conversations come up, there’s one game I return to over and over again.

“If you want to see what VR can do, play the puzzle game A Fisherman’s Tale”

It’s a phrase I say a lot when talking about video games versus real life brick and mortar escape rooms, but Fisherman’s Tale is a fantastic example of something that simply would not be possible in any other medium. You shrink down and look up at a giant version of yourself in an infinite tessellation of wooden fishermen solving puzzles in synchronised movements. And let me tell you: It… Is… Wild!

Tiny Fisherman Lighthouse Inception

A Fisherman’s Tale is a classic escape room game. You’re quite literally, in a room. Your goal is quite simply to escape. Beyond this, the rest is purely details. But oh what delicious details they are!

The game begins with a lighthouse keeper who wakes up every day and does the same thing. He brushes his teeth, washes his face, and then he sits down at his desk and carves a tiny wooden version of himself and puts it in a tiny wooden version of the lighthouse. That tiny wooden lighthouse keeper wakes up, brushes his teeth, washes his face, and then he sits down at his desk and carves a tiny wooden version of himself.

It’s like Inception, but better.

The whole game’s mechanics from that moment onward centre around the central premise that whatever action you’re doing in your lighthouse, there is a tiny model in the middle of the lighthouse with a model fisherman doing the exact same thing. And, if you look outside your window, there is a giant model version of yourself performing the same actions.

The puzzles are therefore solved with some clever thinking outside of the box. If an object is too small, hand it to your tiny doppelganger, and your giant self will hand it to you. Need water? Flood your model and your own room will become flooded, and so on.

Reality is bended, and to be honest, so is my mind as I play.

Small Actions, Big Consequences

But what’s the hurry little fisherman? Well, there’s a ship stuck in the storm outside and if you don’t get your lighthouse lit in time it could crash into the waves. But what can you do as a tiny wooden lighthouse keeper? Well, you’ll find out just how powerful your small actions can be!

The puzzles in A Fisherman’s Tale were just delightful and the whole experience was made all the better for existing in virtual reality. You have the ability to walk around your space, open cupboards, unlock boxes, and hand things back and forth to the infinite versions of yourself. For the 4 hours you play, you forget it’s a game (until your hip bumps into the edge of a table in real life – OW!).

Like a lot of video games and unlike a lot of escape rooms, although the goal is to escape the puzzles are quite search-and-find. In VR this is a lot of fun and works well, but ultimately you’re rushing around and looking for the correct equipment to achieve your goal. Whether that be opening a can of tuna, building a boat, or reaching a high up shelf.

It Feels Like A Modern Fairy Tale

My favourite thing about A Fisherman’s Tale are the vibes. Or, in common English, the atmosphere and general feeling. There’s something about the game that is so indescribably magical and engrossing, like you’re the main character of your own whimsical fairy tale.

The whole game is a beautifully coloured cell-shaded experience. This is both to be comfortable in VR and to look ‘wooden’ – you are after all made of wood. Each level in the game is structured like a chapter – Chapter 1, the beginning and so on through to beginning, middle and end. Along the way you meet other characters and you even made friends with the gentle, French voice over narrator of the story.

The Verdict

Despite my gushing about the game, A Fisherman’s Tale has one major problem. A huge huge problem…

It’s not long enough.

At around 3, maybe 4 hours if you take your time, it’s over all too quickly. I could happily play this game for months and emerge with a scraggly beard down to my ankles having not encountered a real human being in a lifetime and still be beaming with happiness.

The company is rightfully named “Vertigo” and that’s a little of the feeling you get playing the game. Looking down upon a tiny version of yourself who is also looking down on an even tinier version of himself is a wild feeling. It’s like falling, but falling over and over into a world you very much want to be in.

Once the novelty of sticking your giant head through the roof of your own cabin wears off, what’s left is a beautiful and whimsical tale of a little fisherman in his lighthouse trying to save a bot stuck at sea. I cried, I laughed, and I regret it ending too soon.

A Fisherman’s Tale can be purchased on the Oculus shop here.

ClueAdventures: Jet 2 Space | Review

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If Space is the final frontier then Jet2Space is a full-frontal fictional frenzy. It’s 2199 and you and your game partner have made the mistake of buying the cheapest tickets to space on the market. Not long after takeoff, you’ll realize that WheezyJet have cut every corner on Flight 069.

Completion Time: 40 minutes
Date Played: 3rd February 2022
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Easy

If you’re anything like me you tend to save escape rooms until you have friends visiting, or until you can do them with someone who will really appreciate them, or even just feel a little bit of guilt in doing one as a pair. However, ClueAdventures has noticed this niche and created not one, but two two-player only games! I played their first game, “2 Tickets 2 Ride”, at least 3 years ago and it was great, so I was very excited when they announced ‘Jet 2 Space’! I did decide to save it for a special occasion, so moving flat seemed like as good a reason as any!

On a mission to Uranus

When we booked this room we didn’t realise we had actually booked a trip to space, although as this was with the budget space company “WheezyJet” we probably should’ve known what we were getting into. It doesn’t take long before things go wrong, and thanks to certain economies we were left in charge to figure out how to take control of the ship and find somewhere to land safely.

In general, the set was very tactile – there were lots of things to see, do and interact with – any areas that seemed shabby felt purposeful, and I was able to feel immersed in the experience. The decor of the room was a hybrid between an airplane cabin and a rocket ship, with plenty of easter eggs sprinkled about. If it isn’t obvious from the fact you are on flight 069 to Uranus, this game has quite a few adult themes, but I’d describe them as loving and silly, rather than trying to be actively dirty. They also have plenty of very geeky references spread everywhere in a similar style, making this the perfect mix of not knowing whether you’re about to be excited over a Sci-Fi reference, or groan over some sort of phallic pun.

Use the force…(or don’t)

We all know the first rule of escape rooms is that usually force is not required. The same applies to this room, although you are encouraged to “use THE force”…brain force that is!

*insert groans here*

Seriously though, I love the geeky aspect of this room, and it shines through everything they do. The puzzles in the room were all fairly simple and linear – following one after another – so the challenge came not from figuring out what the puzzle was, but from figuring out the solution (imagine a Suduko – you know what to do, but you still need to work to find the solution). Fortunately for us, there was an onboard magazine available (for a small fee) that contained quite a few valuable pieces of information.

Being a small space there were very few hidden objects, so our powers of observation and attention to detail were testing more than our hide & seek skills. There were also no keys and only a very small amount of number locks, because of course, they won’t exist by 2199.

Bumping uglies

Being quite a small space we found ourselves bumping into each other quite a bit, so teamwork and communication are an absolute must. There are a few puzzles that require overt teamwork, and ClueAdventures do a great job of making sure you are switching positions so you don’t get one person doing all the grunt work. I would have liked to see more of this though – many of the puzzles were solved single-handedly, which I think is a shame. Perhaps if they release a third 2-player room they could make it entirely based on teamwork!

We managed to navigate most of the room without incident, which is a shame as I was looking forward to using the help phrase (“Obi Wan, you’re my only hope!”). The hint would (apparently) pop up on the on-board monitor, but otherwise we were left to fend for ourselves.

Accessible boarding

ClueAdventures is based above “The Coach & Horses” pub in Leyton, so while it is great for a pint it isn’t great for accessibility needs. Stairs will need to be navigated to reach the room, and once inside it’s quite a small space, so please check before booking if you have any claustrophobia or concerns about space/temperature. It was well lit, with no loud noises. Hearing and colour perception are both necessities for this journey, although as someone with hearing impairments I coped fine as you just need to be able to communicate with your fellow passenger. There were a few puzzles that required physical dexterity too, although only one team member needs to take on this burden.

The price of a good time

We know that escape rooms can be expensive, and it’s a question within our community about whether it is fairer to price per player or a flat rate per room. Unfortunately, teams of 2 are often disadvantaged by either model which is what has put me off booking a room for two previously.

Despite the fact this room was designed for 2 players only, the price of £35 each still felt quite steep, given most times I’d expect to pay less than £30 when playing with a larger team. It was also a little disappointing as I might expect that from larger rooms with a flat rate (e.g £70 a game regardless of team size), but not one which has been specifically designed for a smaller team.

Even taking away the monetary side and thinking about value…it still feels a little steep. We had a really fun time, but ultimately it was very linear and I didn’t feel I had my money’s worth.

The Verdict

Overall this is a fun and entertaining room, but not complex or engaging to those who are more experienced. I think if you’re still embarking on your escape room journey this is a great room for you, and possibly cheaper and more manageable than other London rooms not designed for 2. However, in the future I would probably suck it up and pay for other rooms in London, knowing I’d feel more challenged and the price would be justified a little more.

Jet 2 Space can be booked at Clue Adventures Leyton here

Escape in Time: Escape from the Golden Hinde | Review

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Escape from the Golden Hinde Review | Escape From The Golden Hinde is an interactive adventure on a historic 16th century galleon in the centre of London! The Golden Hinde is a perfect reconstruction of the ship Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in the 1570s. The reconstructed ship also sailed around the world in the 1970s. It is haunted by ghosts from both journeys. So, the ship holds an unhappy mix of spirits – like a dodgy Rum Mojito. (Which, legend has it, was invented by Drake.) You will be locked on the ship with these ghosts. You will have 60 minutes to escape. You’ll also learn some history. But don’t let that stop you.

Date Played: 11th February 2022
Time Taken: 40 minutes
Number of Players: 5
Difficulty: Easy

Just a few days after we announced Georgie was joining The Escape Roomer, the two of us metaphorically “smashed the bottle against the boat”, by playing an escape room together… Quite literally on a boat! Not just any boat either, the iconic Golden Hinde in Central London, Sir Francis Drake’s original ship that has sailed around the world twice.

We were joined by Bianca, a new friend Jojo, and partner Keian who was celebrating his 100th room! First, we met up at The Old Thameside Inn opposite for a drink (or two) to get our sea-legs in ship shape before heading onboard with a triumphant cry: “We pledge to save to captain!

Team Scurvy Scallywags for the win!

Escape Room Versus Immersive Theatre

Mairi: Escape From the Golden Hinde isn’t an escape room exactly. Sure, it technically ticks the boxes (you’re in a room, you have to escape), but it’s actually a lot closer to immersive theatre. It has a certain mass-market appeal which means the puzzles aren’t overly challenging, and instead most of the enjoyment of playing this game comes from listening to the actors and putting your all into appreciating the historical setting and your pirate captains.

Sure, there were a few moments of “ooh how do we solve this?”, and without such a good team with me I’d probably have been quite stuck in a few places, but overall we whizzed through it in 40 minutes – record breaking speed!

Georgie: I think you hit the nail on the head for me there – I went in expecting an escape room, which it very much wasn’t, so had to temper my expectations pretty quickly! As a traditional escape room, I would say it was pretty underwhelming – the puzzles were very linear and easy. I think I personally solved one puzzle throughout the whole experience, and spent a lot of the time sat idly by watching other teammates complete the one or two puzzles in that area. However, I loved being on the ship and overall felt pretty immersed in it!

Addendum: Since writing this review, we’ve discovered that there are different difficulty levels of Escape From the Golden Hinde available to players. At full launch of this escape room later in the year, players will be able to choose!

The Golden Hinde | Photo (c) Georgie

Escape From Francis Drake’s Original Galleon

Mairi: Escape From the Golden Hinde uses the entire ship, which was very cool indeed. There are at least 4 unique spaces in this ship and the whole thing feels very ‘spacious’. Before heading in I was aware that they could take up to 3 teams at a time, but unsure of the specifics of how this works. Now I can confidently say that this would be achieved by staggering the start times. First team goes in, then 15 minutes later when that team is out of the first room, the second team goes in and so on to a maximum of three teams on the boat at any one time.

We were a very fast team and there was nobody else playing at the same time as us, so it’s hard to say how well this works at peak times. But the games masters *cough* I mean ghosts and pirates were fantastically savvy, I daresay they’re able to speed up or slow down a team as needed in each space to keep the pacing correct.

Georgie: I’m not sure I’d agree about ‘spacious’! I’d say the hard-hats we were given were definitely necessary – I’m only 5ft3 and felt pretty uncomfortable throughout most of the game – if you’re on the taller side I would definitely advise you to be prepared! I think it’s smart on their side to take the staggered approach, as in theory you should be able to gain more business that way, and each section was pretty easy to get through.

I worry about what might happen with, say, a novice group directly in front of an experienced group. How would they slow down that group without them feeling frustrated or bored? Or how would they speed up the others without them feeling spoon-fed or robbed? I suppose the rooms were pretty simple so there may not be much chance of that, but it’s definitely a thought.

Mairi: In terms of the story and using such an awe-inspiring historical ship, whilst I’m usually terrible at paying attention to the plot (“Hey does anyone remember what we’re meant to be doing?”) I did love that I left the ship feeling like I learned something new by the end! I’ve got a new found interest in the history of the Golden Hinde that two previous visits to the Golden Hinde museum hadn’t taught me. Escape rooms are educational!


Georgie: This is where I think they may be taking on too much at once. I love history – I’m a big history nerd so I was expecting to eat this up – but I actually felt like I didn’t learn much about the ship or got that sense of awe I was hoping for! I remember in the pub (the Old Thameside Inn opposite) afterwards I was confused about what was fact vs fiction, and I think parts of the story definitely passed me by.

I think perhaps it might have been nice to just have a little bit of a story ahead of each section, so it was more as though you were then experiencing a re-enactment of that. Instead, I didn’t really follow the thread of the overall story (if there was one) and the different sections felt quite disjointed – ultimately we just found the puzzles, solved them and moved on.

Meet Gooselegs & Jack(ie)

Mairi: My favourite thing about Escape From the Golden Hinde was the actor interaction. From the moment we first stepped onto the ship and were greeted by two very enthusiastic pirates, I knew we were in for a treat. But this interaction turned out to only be the beginning, for we were greeted by a further four unique actors during the course of the game. This cast of characters included historical figures, and sailors on the lash dancing around a disco room. It was nothing if not very fun!

Georgie: Yes, the actors were my favourite part too! The two crewmates who greeted us (Jack(ie) and Gooselegs) were absolutely superb. I was immediately drawn into the experience and having a good time. They had such a natural flow about them and were so witty and quick to interact with each other I could’ve watched a how show just with them! The other actors were pretty good too – nicely in character and friendly, but I felt we didn’t get as much time with them or build that rapport. I think this was really noticable when at one point we’d met a character, then another, and then suddenly asked to make a decision with not much to go on from either the story or our interactions!

Dubloons and Pieces of Eight (AKA The Price!)

Mairi: In terms of price, there’s no beating about the bush. Escape From the Golden Hinde is really, really expensive. At £43~ a ticket at peak times, it’s easily one of the most expensive escape rooms in London, if not the United Kingdom. It’s a conversation that comes up frequently within The Escape Roomer team – how do we measure value? What is a good price for an escape room? Personally I (Mairi) don’t think that any single escape room (at 60 minutes in length) should be priced at over £35 per person. A few exceptions here and there for ultra immersive, or extra long rooms. But that said, I can see how this price is justified in Escape From the Golden Hinde.

For starters, there are a number of live actors whose salaries must be paid. For seconds, you do get a cheeky drink (a small one, mind!) in the middle of this game included, which was a fun touch. It’s also an incredibly iconic location that most people wouldn’t normally be able to visit. When you play an escape room in a special location, I’ll admit that does come at a premium price (for example my previous “woah this is really expensive but cool and historical” at the Jersey Wars Tunnels for £150 for any sized team).

Was the Golden Hinde worth it? Maybe, kinda… Yes. We personally had a fantastic time and I like to say that if I had a great time then of course it’s worth it, right? But it’s hard to say if we could have physically afforded to pay full price, which for 5 players at £43 each would be £215. But if you can afford it, then by all means it’s well worth it for the unique-ness factor!

Georgie: I’d agree – we had a great time, but it did leave me itching for a ‘real’ escape room, and if we’d paid full price I would be feeling very short changed! Even if I switch to viewing it more as an experience, I would’ve wanted longer on the ship and more education/story aspects. I think this might be worth it if you want the experience of being on board the Golden Hinde, but if you’re looking for an escape room there are better rooms in London for a lower price.

However, I would gladly pay that premium price if I could just spend the whole hour watching Gooselegs and Jackie – they’re the real stars here for me!

A Note on Accessibility

Georgie: A quick note on accessibility from me – this is a historical ship, so unsurprisingly it wasn’t very accessible! There were lots of stairs, cramped spaces for the majority of it, dim lighting and loud sounds/puzzles requiring some hearing. If you’ve played “Secret Studio” you may be worried about jump scares, but let me assure you that there are no “scares” here!

The Verdict

Escape from the Golden Hinde is at an incredibly unique location in the heart of London and it’s quite unlike anything else we’ve played! Part escape room, part immersive theatre, there’s a lot of love gone into this room and it shows. In particular, we really enjoyed interacting with our hosts, Jack(ie) and Gooselegs, as well as the cast of fun characters we met along our adventure. At present, the high price point may be a barrier to play, and enthusiasts will probably not be challenged by the puzzles. But it’s still a delightful pirate-themed romp around one of the most iconic seafaring vessels in British history, and that’s pretty special!

Just like those explorers who claim to visit the furthest reaches and climb the highest mountains simply “because they are there”, I think playing this escape room should be done because it’s there. Escape from the Golden Hinde is an escape room that will not be around forever, and if you’ve ever wanted to don a funky hat on, talk in pirate-speak, and get very hands-on with an awesome piece of history, then now is your time.

It may not be our favourite escape room in London, but I’m really glad we did it and we had a great time. Decades in the future I’ll be walking around London with my grandkids and be like “I was once a pirate on that ship” and I’ll describe how I ran around the deck and hooked ropes, solved puzzles, hoisted the sails, and drank grog beneath a disco ball… And my offspring will be like “sure grandma lets get you home“. But I’ll have those fun memories!

Escape from the Golden Hinde can be booked by heading to Escape in Time’s website here.

Locked In Games: Rags to Riches | Review

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Rags to Riches Escape Room Review | The two coins clinked together in your pocket as you stumble down the cold pavement. Yesterday, you were sleeping on the cobbles of Museum Gardens, icy winds smashing against your face. Today, you’ve been told you’re the heir to a huge inheritance, left to you by an old lady across the road. This may sound like a rags to riches fairytale, but before the celebrations begin you must prove yourself worthy. There’s just one catch. The court has authorised the demolition of the property. You have an hour to find the riches before the house and your dreams are reduced to rubble.

Date Played: 20th December 2021
Time Taken: 59 minutes
Number of Players: 3
Difficulty: Tricky!

Previously, I’d said that my favourite escape room in York was Operation H.E.R.O. at Can You Escape York… And then on our very last day of the York trip, right before our train was due to leave for London, we booked one more room. Rags to Riches at Locked In Games. Can it be that this might be our new favourite escape room in York? Why yes, it might just be!

About Locked In Games

Tucked away opposite Lendal Tower and the Yorkshire Museum Gardens is Locked In Games – the York branch of the popular Leeds escape room. Initially, despite our party staying in accommodation on the same street, we hadn’t noticed the escape room company there. Then, when deciding which rooms to play in York we’d overlooked it again when we couldn’t find any enthusiast reviews. Big mistakes!

It was only after we’d found a couple of Geocaches in the area that we noticed the company and thought “Hey, they’ve got availability – let’s give it a go!” My only regret? Leaving it to the last day of the holiday and not booking more of their rooms!

We booked in for the next available slot and were greeted by the enthusiastic Games Master Chester, who led us past the other businesses in the building (a few lawyer firms) and down the stairs into the lobby of Locked In Games. Chester explained that there was one prop that had been recently broken in the Rags to Riches room, for which he apologised profusely and went above and beyond to make the game work seamlessly without this prop. In hindsight, we may not even have noticed it, but since everything else in the room worked flawlessly and was in great condition, it was good to be given the heads up.

“I know I’d go from rags to riches…”

The story behind Rags to Riches follows Tony Bennett confessing his love- haha, just kidding!

The actual story of Rags to Riches follows you and your quest to claim your inheritance. With just a few pennies in your pocket, you suddenly get excellent news – you’ve been left a fortune and it’s hidden in this old woman’s creaky apartment. The problem is, the apartment is scheduled to be demolished in 60 minutes, taking the inheritance with it!

In our team of 3, we ventured into the room on the look out for anything our kind benefactor may have left us. What we found were a lot of cryptic puzzles. Good job we’re the right team for puzzle solving, eh?

Rags to Riches (c) Locked In Games York

Granny’s Crumbling Apartment

One of our favourite things about Rags to Riches was the decor. It’s your classic “old lady’s house”, but completely fallen to disrepair and a layer of dust on anything. I’m not sure exactly when this particular granny passed away, but it was a while ago and it feels like it in the best possible way.

It’s easy to argue that ‘crumbling and slightly dilapidated’ is a very easy theme for an escape room interior designer to create, but I just really like the effect when it’s done well. Rags to Riches reminded me of how much I enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) finding dust in Leicester-based room, Operation Magnus. To add to the effect, the walls had been painted with peeling wallpaper, vintage furniture, depressingly beige carpet, antique looking china, and a very cool (and hefty) wall safe.

At the start of our escape room, our Games Master informed us that you can choose to be locked in, or not locked in, as you please. In the event of a fire, all the locks automatically unlock. Conveniently, this room is also located right next to the fire exit. So we opted to be officially ‘locked in’ – very exciting! But in this case, even the lock felt authentic. It’s one of the very same locks my own granny has on her door. Extra points for that.

Where’d She Hide It, Then?!

In terms of puzzles, the game was themed really well. Every puzzle was contained within some object that you’d reasonably believe could be found in an old lady’s apartment. With some added high tech here and there.

As mentioned, in our playthrough one of the props was broken – so instead of physically interacting with it, we solved it from afar and called our the answer to our Games Master who then triggered the result. It was one of those happy moments when one of our team made an educated guess – one we might not even have put into the prop, and received the satisfying “that’s correct” relay call to proceed.

Besides this puzzle, the game was a solidly challenging romp across the various rooms within the old lady’s apartment. We encountered a range of puzzles including plenty of search-and-find, a few padlocks, a really fun puzzle involving a board game, and a couple of listening puzzles too.

Being a room on the slightly harder side- or perhaps we simply hadn’t drunk enough coffee yet- we were offered a fair few clues. This was for the best, as we managed to escape with a thrilling 40 seconds left on the clock.

Oh my god I’m not smart enough to solve this in 60 seconds!” I called out, before my brother half my age solved it in just 20!

The Verdict

Any escape room with a picture perfect finish with less than a minute left goes down in my personal hall of fame. It’s only happened around four times, but it just shows that it’s a perfectly paced escape room… For me, anyway! No two players are the same.

Of our team of semi-enthusiasts (with between 5 – 100 escape rooms between us), we all agreed on one thing – that we had a fantastic time. Plenty of puzzles we’d never encountered before, and lots of very cool props used in interesting ways. Add in some bonus points for how much we enjoyed the theme and the decor, and it’s a winning formula. Rags to Riches is definitely a hidden gem escape room in York. Not a lot of enthusiasts have played it (or even heard of it), but it goes right up to the top of my “you must play when you’re in town” suggestion list.

Rags to Riches can be booked at Locked In Games York on their website here.

Ratings

Real Escape Game Japan / SCRAP: JUJUTSU KAISEN Online Puzzle Game “Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School” | Review

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Jujutsu Kaisen Online Puzzle Game Review | You are a student of the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School. Your skill as a jujutsu sorcerer is the ability to use cursed techniques over long distances. But in exchange for that power, you are unable to leave your home – a student who has been registered in name only. One day, news of ordinary people going missing one after another at an abandoned school reaches your high school.

Completion Time: 2 hours
Date Played: 29th January 2022
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Medium

If you had to ask us (or rather me specifically) for a list of my favourite escape room companies in the world, based on any metric, SCRAP / Real Escape Game Japan would come up on top almost every time. No matter what the escape room industry looks like here in the UK, or in the USA, or anywhere else in the world… SCRAP is doing something totally different and it’s brilliant.

In their latest at-home ‘escape game’, we found ourselves escaping from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School. A very wordy headline, but no more than the previous two titles you may recognise from earlier reviews:

The game is similar in that there’s this fantastically high production value featuring live voice actors, high quality artwork, and exceptional storytelling. But Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School (which I’ll refer to as Cursed Spirit from herein) had a couple of key differences from the earlier games in SCRAP’s at-home series. Firstly, it’s a partnership with the hugely popular manga and anime series Jujutsu Kaisen. Secondly, you need a physical pack to play the game.

With both of those things in mind, we waited until a Saturday evening when we had ample time, plugged in our laptop via HDMI cable, grabbed our pack, and got puzzling!

About Jujutsu Kaisen Online Puzzle Game

Jujutsu Kaisen is an anime and manga series about a group of students named Yuji, Megumi and Nobora who are students at the Tokyo Jujutsu school and learn to become sorcerers. Their goal is to rid the world of evil energy and exorcise curses.

Which is pretty much where the game comes in. There’s a cursed spirit lurking at an abandoned school, and after a streamer goes missing, you and our three heroes are called in to perform another exorcism. I’ll let the trailer do the talking:

The game features the original cast of voice actors from the show as well as recognisable artwork and environments, which is pretty cool! Especially if you’re a fan of the anime.

Your journey as the player begins when you receive a mysterious letter from a fourth character named Gojo. He is a senior sorcerer and reaches out to you since you have a very special ability: Long Range Techniques. Meaning, you can cast spells from afar and help a team along from a careful distance via a web connection. The catch however is that you are essentially a hikikomori (so cool that I learned a new Japanese word from this game!), a shut in who is unable to leave and help physically.

So whilst you cannot be there in person, you see and hear everything that our three heroes see. Told through a series of video connections which are pre-recorded video sequences in Japanese with English subtitles, you take part in subtle ways. Each video lasts between 5 – 15 minutes, and at the end you have puzzles to solve which allow you to cast spells to further our heroes efforts. Cast a spell, sit back and relax, cast a spell, sit back and relax. And so on, and so on.

For Saturday night entertainment, we loved this format! You can plug your device in onto a big screen, have a keyboard near you to type in your spells, and keep the whole pack on your lap. It felt just like watching an animated film, but a film that we were a character in!

Solving Puzzles and Casting Spells!

In terms of puzzles, we felt that The Cursed Spirit did one thing but it did it really, really well. When we first received the pack we were surprised that it was a little light – just a few curious letters, books and sheets of paper. But when we got into solving puzzles, the game was unexpectedly delightful.

The premise of the puzzle game aspect of the experience is that you are able to cast a particular type of spell and you do so by folding your paper doll to conjure the image of what you’re casting the spell on. That then outputs a code, which advances the game. Essentially almost every puzzle centres around this idea (though we won’t go into more detail on this as to avoid spoilers), but somehow over two hours this familiar mechanic doesn’t feel repetitive!

Some spells we spotted and were able to cast quickly, and others took quite a good deal of thinking outside of the box. It wasn’t too difficult of a game, but we were certainly scratching our heads and trying to figure out the best way of solving each dilemma.

But overall, well balanced and fun to solve. I have a real soft spot for tactile games that involve physical manipulation of materials. The Cursed Spirit did this really well! But just one note – we did have to destroy some of the components so this game is not replayable (or re-giftable).

The Verdict

The Cursed Spirit is another fantastic play at home escape game from SCRAP and Real Escape Game Japan and we’re thrilled to have played it. As ‘Saturday evening entertainment‘ goes, it’s a hundred times more fun than watching a film or playing a traditional boxed escape game because it’s like both things combined together.

Overall, I probably still prefer SCRAP’s previous two games more: The Strange Village and The Demon Fortress. Both experiences we played early in lockdown and they absolutely blew me away. The Cursed Spirit was just as accomplished a game – if not better in parts – but we were not familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen and that probably didn’t help! I imagine if you’re a super fan of the series then getting to work with your favourite characters to exorcise demons would be thrilling.

In The Strange Village and The Demon Fortress you meet the characters for the first time, but in The Cursed Spirit there is an implicit assumption that you are familiar with the characters already, and the game jumps straight into the action.

That said, we are once again very impressed!

We would recommend The Cursed Spirit for smaller teams of no more than 3 players as many of the puzzles are quite tactile and can only be done by one or two players at a time. We would also recommend playing in the same location, as it is very video-heavy. With those two conditions met, you’re in for a treat if you play The Cursed Spirit and I kinda wish I could go back and play it for the first time again!

JUJUTSU KAISEN Online Puzzle Game “Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School” can be purchased in the UK from Amazon for a limited time only. Head to this page to find all the international links to purchase.

clueQuest: PLAN52 | Review

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PLAN52 Review | PLAN52 is a top secret location and a fortress for highly classified archives and data. However, something terrible has happened: four agents who were stationed there have vanished without a trace. We have proof that this was the work of Professor BlackSheep who had help from a clueQuest insider. It is up to you and your team to discover the identity of the double agent. You will have just 60 Minutes to learn who the double agent was and deactivate the security device before the entire facility detonates.

Completion Time: 59:02
Date Played: 5th November 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Medium

There’s nothing quite like back to back escape rooms to satisfy your puzzling needs, so after the nail biting finale of Revenge of the Sheep, we were suitably warmed up (especially after directions to the local coffee shop from the clueQuest team!) and ready to defeat Professor BlackSheep once more.

Not a lock in sight…

PLAN52 was the first escape room offering from clueQuest and although exciting at the time, an office space full of padlocks has now become an all too familiar sight in the escape room world. We were delighted to be informed by our Game Master, Esther that the experience has been lovingly and technically upgraded to be almost fully digitalized.

This made the game feel so much more immersive. When you’re playing a spy, you want your surroundings to pull you in and convince you that you’re genuinely about to save the world. Typing codes into neon red number locks, hacking into computers and automatically triggering big reveals with puzzle solves made the theming of this room so much better than manual puzzles and locks could have offered.

Pay close attention to everything

One of my favourite moments during this game was realising something we had questioned at the very beginning turned out to be a massive clue. Obviously I won’t reveal the answer, but after this point we decided to trust our gut instincts and keep our eyes extra peeled.

It’s a good job, because you’ll have some red herrings to contend with as you make your way through some sneaky puzzles. Frustrating they may be, but they provide a nice nod to the history of the room as well as a chuckle.

You’ll also need to keep an eye out for plenty of hidden objects, which is great for families to ensure everyone can contribute. They all satisfyingly combined for some big puzzle solves towards the end of the game.

No I in Team

One of the trickier puzzles in PLAN52 was one where we were practically in different rooms having to communicate to operate a nifty device. It’s a real test of observation and keeping calm under pressure where the other person can’t see what’s right in front of you, but the reveal is completely worth the potential fall outs!

There were plenty of other cooperative tasks, as well as puzzles which can be solved individually for those who like to separate to cover all bases. There’s something for everyone, from books to mathematics to map reading to building blocks, all your puzzle solving abilities are tested. I especially enjoyed the codebreaking which fitted the theme perfectly.

Another close call

We escaped with less than a minute to spare, and just like Revenge of the Sheep it was a nerve-wracking experience. Our frantically high pitched voices were trying to figure out the final piece of the puzzle as the clock counted down, and it was brilliant to have such an epic end to the game.

The Verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and even if you’ve played it before I’d recommend popping back to see the enhanced version. You won’t be disappointed! The staff at clueQuest are all incredible and will ensure you are completely immersed in your surroundings as well as providing some laughs along the way.

PLAN52 can be booked at clueQuest by heading to their website here.

Society of Curiosities: The Glasshouse Ghost | Review

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The Glasshouse Ghost Review | Investigate the strange events at the Winchester Mystery House and solve the case of The Glasshouse Ghost! You can start your mission right away! This game can be played completely online.

Completion Time: 35 minutes
Date Played: 8th January 2022
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Our first play-at-home escape room of 2022 goes to Society of Curiosities’ exciting new release: The Glasshouse Ghost. And hey, it’s good to be back playing with Escaping the Closet and our friend Tasha. If this game teases anything for what the landscape of escape games will look like in 2022, then Society of Curiosities have set the bar very high. Every time I think I’ve seen it all in at-home escape rooms, something delightful comes along and surprises me! The Glasshouse Ghost is one of those games. Narrative driven, deductive puzzles, and talking to ghosts via mysterious radio waves – spooky!

The Haunting of Winchester Mystery House

The story of The Glasshouse Ghost follows you, an intrepid team of ghost-hunters, sent in to the Winchester Mystery House – which is a very real place – to find out what is going on. You’re greeted at the start of the game by Taylor, the historian at the Winchester Mystery House. This is of course a chatbot, but in the moment it’s thoroughly immersive and feels like you’re speaking with a real person.

Taylor explains that during recent construction works, secret documents and hidden compartments were found. But with uncovered secrets, come restless spirits. Surely the construction cannot continue until the ghosts are found, identified, and exorcised- wait, that’s probably too strong of a word. In any case, the ghosts need to go.

Remember… Ghosts are all about unfinished business!

But fear not – you’re not alone on your ghost-hunting adventure! Through a straightforward, top-down desk interface, you have access to a number of documents, your in-game mobile phone and most importantly… A radio!

The aim of the game is to find the following:

  1. The name of the ghost?
  2. What happened to them?
  3. What do they want now?

As we discovered each new item within the house – a myriad of exciting documents like photographs, letters, and scribbled notebook entries – our page would update with the new document. Ever the trigger happy one of the group, I spent a lot of time tuning into various radio stations. Occasionally we would find static, but sometimes I would encounter music too. A correct answer gives the correct radio station where the invisible hand of the ghost would guide the words to form a sentence – a little like watching an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved.

…But in ghost hunting, it’s not quite as simple as ‘input a correct answer’. No, one of the best things about The Glasshouse Ghost was the nuance and subtlety. For starters, the chatbot takes a wide variety of inputs and responds very humanly to them. At no point during the game did we feel like we were just solving puzzle after puzzle – no, we were detectives!

The Glasshouse Ghost takes you on a journey via a winding narrative that has twists and turns and of course, plenty of puzzles along the way. It’s refreshing and entertaining.

Things that go ‘bump’ in the night

One thing to note is that The Glasshouse Ghost does require audio. So don’t be like me and show up to game night without headphones! If you opt to play together via Zoom, you will need to have your PC volume up (to the maximum to catch some of the subtler noises) which doesn’t lend itself to talking out loud. It’s a fine line to balance – but in this particular play through I made do by muting my browser for most of the time, then unmuting it when I needed to follow along with a puzzle.

There are a number of sound-related puzzles in the puzzle, including but not limited to listening for clues, tapping, musical notes, and tests of how well you were listening! For the dialogue, the game offers a written transcript after any major dialogue is spoken. You can get by with the transcript, but for the best experience, listen to everything!

The other thing to note is that if you are playing via Zoom or another video message service, each player will need to input their own codes on their own screen – the game does not automatically update for everyone. This also meant that throughout our four players we all received a different score at the end of the game. Since I spent an embarrassingly long time trying different radio stations and talking nonsense to Taylor, I received the lowest score. The conclusion I draw is that the game will penalise for incorrect answers… That or the ghosts just weren’t very happy with me!

But despite these two small warnings about the tech, The Glasshouse Ghost otherwise ran perfectly well. We played a couple of days before public release – so expected to encounter a few hiccups, but instead had a smooth experience from start to finish.

The Verdict

Overall, we had a lot of fun with The Glasshouse Ghost. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a game like this, but it didn’t disappoint. As we wove our way through the different spaces and uncovered more secrets, a story slowly unfolded in front of us. Everything felt natural and realistic, the back and forth between you and your guide, and the sensitive history we engaged with.

I can’t help but feel like The Glasshouse Ghost is packed with many more secrets we didn’t yet find – and that’s a really exciting feeling. I actually kinda want to play it again. I want to try more radio stations, and I want to spend more time in the Winchester Mystery House trying different things and poking into dark corners.

Society of Curiosities have created something really special. It’s hard to call it a ‘hidden gem’ because it’s no secret this US-based company is one of the most consistently brilliant escape room creators out there – but over here in the UK we were surprised and delighted by what we found within the walls of the Winchester Mystery House. We’re looking forward to (hopefully) future installations!

The Glasshouse Ghost can be played by heading to Society of Curiosity’s website here.

The Enigma Fellowship: Dinner Party | Review

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The Enigma Fellowship – The Dinner Party Review | Enrico Fabricci, a vintner has been missing for months. The disappearance happened at the same time as The Scattered Cards kidnappings. He was never found. The Fabricci ancestral estate, including the impressive Castello Di Dolcci in Italy, is embroiled in legal battles. Now, his heirs and the court appointed caretaker of their Castle in Tuscany have received mysterious invitations.

Can you find out what happened to Enrico and help save a legacy in peril?

Completion Time: Around 120 minutes
Date Played: 20th December 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Enjoyable and challenging

For two hours, you will be immersed in the Castello De Dolcci and its expansive grounds – searching through evidence and solving cryptic clues to try and find out what has happened to the vinter Enrico Fabricci.

About Dinner Party

This being my first Enigma Fellowship adventure, I didn’t really know truly what to expect with The Dinner Party. As soon as I opened the unassuming white envelope and its opulent contents spilled out onto our table, I knew we were in for a treat.

The first thing that caught our eye were the invitations to the main event itself – the Dinner Party at the Castello Di Dolci, with some beautiful print work and eye-catching ribbon. But once we got stuck into the game, we realised that it was more what didn’t catch our eye that was important, with observation being a key part of affairs.

The scene was set by some excellent voice acting and I found myself, throughout the game, wishing I could experience it in person, the wine cellars, the library, the vineyard, all vivid in my imagination.

The Challenges

The puzzles in The Dinner Party are varied and enjoyable, with a mix of the mathematical, the verbal, the observational and the logical.

What I really enjoyed about the game was the way that progression was controlled and how the goals of the game were set. When embarking on a puzzle we always knew what we were aiming for – a 6 digit code, an 8 letter word – I personally always find tabletop games to flow better when I have a sense of direction, and The Dinner Party consistently offered me this reassurance with a neat online system.

The first section of the game really set the scene for what was to come, with some elements of spatial observation that used the paper elements in a really interesting way. Every piece of paper was essential, whether it was to enhance the plot or used for a puzzle.

We made it into the first of the ‘locked’ envelopes and discovered that there was so much more content inside. Each step of progression gave us more to read, more to unravel and more to puzzle.

Another feature that I really enjoyed about the design of the game was the extremely comprehensive  clue system. As much as me and my playing partner enjoy the more tricky puzzles, we are definitely not ones to struggle for longer than we deem necessary. We also; however, don’t like being told the answers immediately. This leads to a tricky balance for a clue system to manage, but the clue system for The Enigma Fellowship was fantastic in this regard, with incremental help that really assists you in a non-overbearing way.

Was The Enigma Fellowship: Dinner Party fun?

When reviewing an experience I feel like this is always the most important question. Was it fun? Did we have a good time? Would I recommend it?

We decided on a few spoiler-free highlights:

Firstly; a maths-based puzzle in the middle which required both history and mathematics in a wonderful combination. The nice feature of this puzzle was that no outside knowledge was required, everything you needed to know was provided in the envelope.

Another of our highlights was a particular element in the game which combined the physical and the logical together to give a neat solution. I don’t want to say too much about this, but at the start we suspected that this physical element would turn into a puzzle, and the designers didn’t disappoint, with a clever solution providing an essential answer.

It wouldn’t be a highlight section without another nod to the great voice acting in the game. The voice clips were a lovely method to set the scene of the game, breaking the story to the players in an exciting way and also reducing the amount of reading in the game, which although not a deal-breaker for me and my partner, can be for some tabletop players.

Summary

Overall I think that The Enigma Fellowship: Dinner Party was a tabletop escape game experience that hits all the notes that people who enjoy tabletop escape games will appreciate.

I think my only criticism would be that it doesn’t break any new ground when it comes to tabletop escape games. But that’s not necessarily a bad quality. Dinner Party knows what it is and owns it – it has a nice storyline and some clever physical paper puzzles. You know what you’re getting in for when you set out to play and if you enjoy tabletop paper-based games then you’re in for a fun evening.

It took me and my partner about 120 minutes to complete the game and I would say that above all it is excellent value. We enjoyed solving the puzzles and were fully immersed in the plot of finding what had happened to Sig. Fabricci.

The Enigma Fellowship: Dinner Party can be purchased here

Wacky Wheels: Longest Night in Bell-Ville | Review

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Longest Night in Bell-Ville Review | Winter is coming to Bell-Ville and the villagers are totally unprepared. Not only do they have to prepare the celebrations of The Longest Night, they also have to make sure that they safely cross ‘The Frozen Wastelands’. Can you help them get ready on time?

Completion Time: 1 hour
Date Played: December 2021
Party Size: 1
Difficulty: Medium
Recommended For: Families

A puzzle wrapped in a story between the pages of a magical book that arrived on my doorstep just before Christmas Eve… What could be more magical and festive? The Longest Night in Bell-Ville is the latest “Mystery Story” from Netherlands-based creators, Wacky Wheels. With their very highly rated play at home games finding a lot of popularity in the escape room industry, I was very excited to finally have my hands on a Wacky Wheels experience.

But how did it hold up? And what exactly is a mystery story?

Wacky Wheels Mystery Stories

To put it simply Wacky Wheels’ mystery stories series (this being the second, after The Fugitive’s Escape) are puzzle games in a book. If you’re familiar with play-at-home escape rooms in general, you’ll know that most can be printed at home, mailed to your home, or even bought in a box. There’s no reason Longest Night in Bell-Ville couldn’t have been any of those things, but the creator has made the choice to put this story in book format. And heck, it works so well.

The reason this works so well for this particular game is how the story is set up. It’s a linear experience where players read each page as they work their way through the game. The main character (in this case, you!) works their way through different locations in the fictional town of Bell-Ville and the story slowly unfolds across the 30 pages towards a conclusion.

Of course, there are puzzles along the way too – no puzzle game would be complete without them of course. These can be found at the bottom of every page and can be solved in any order. So if you’re stuck, you’re encouraged to come back to a puzzle later. To validate your answers along the way, you’re given a QR code and will need to create an account on the website to log your answers as you go. In all honesty, you can still play the game without doing this… But more on that later!

Welcome to Bell-Ville

The story of The Longest Night at Bell-Ville is an excitingly festive one. You play a resident of Bell-Ville, a floating world travelling the world from within a giant snow globe. One of the biggest annual celebrations – the longest night – is nearing, but the town is woefully underprepared. What’s more the town is about to pass over the Frozen Wastelands – a dangerous place! No wonder everyone in this town is panicking!

And yet despite that, your job isn’t easy. One quote in particular around mid-way through the book sums up my thoughts exactly:

Why is everybody in Bell-Ville always communicating in riddles?!

To ‘save the day’, you must complete 11 tasks, and each task comes with it’s own puzzle to solve. These tasks range from finding food, music, activities, lighting the lights, and so on. Typical party preparation stuff.

But despite the drudgery of running around and doing everyone else’s jobs for them, the story is so light hearted and fun it’s a joy to read-or should we say, play? The Longest Night in Bell-Ville perfectly plugs that post-Christmas, pre-New Years Eve week when you lose track of what day of the week it is anymore. The characters are written well, the illustrations across the book are absolutely gorgeous, the dialogue is fun, and the puzzles are enjoyable too!

So, how did I get on?

In terms of puzzle difficulty, we’d put this at around ‘medium’. A few took just minutes to solve, and others had me scratching my head for a while – and roping in family members to take a second look over my shoulder.

I chose to play The Longest Night in Bell-Ville as a solo puzzler, and did so whilst on a family break with almost no access to the internet. Which in hind-sight was possibly a mistake. On the one hand, I had a great time reading and playing through he book curled up in front of a fireplace with a mug of mulled wine at my side. On the other hand, I missed out on some of the competitive, leader board fun.

When I later did gain access, I’d forgotten most answers and one of those I did remember my phone’s auto-correct unhelpfully corrected into an incorrect answer. Or so I think? The online element doesn’t provide correct answers, simply logs your score on the leaderboard. So it’s hard to tell!

In the end I decided to skip on the online- part altogether and simple enjoy the game as a fun, book-based analogue experience. The truth? I kinda prefer it that way! I like my books more when I don’t have my phone with me and it would have been nice to be able to check my answers too – but that’s just my humble opinion! The Longest Night in Bell-Ville can be played in any way you like and is just as fun.

The Verdict

The Longest Night in Bell-Ville is a fantastically fun little festive themed puzzle book that we think would have a perfect Christmas gift for families or solo puzzlers of all ages. Despite some tech issues (my fault), playing the game was a real highlight of my Christmas break and I’d be sure to recommend this. It’s very well-priced at £8.50 and is available in both English and Dutch.

To purchase The Longest Night in Bell-Ville, head to Wacky Wheels’ website here.