The Great Loudini is a one-of-a-kind adventure that combines the thrill of an escape room with the wonder of live magic performances. You have been tasked by Harry Houdini himself to help retrieve one of his stolen diaries. Taken by the imposter that is ‘The Great Loudini’… However that’s not all, Loudini has been working on a way to predict the future! Can you retrieve the diary in time and help Houdini secure his place, as the greatest magician of all time…
Completion Time: ~50 minutes Date Played: 12th May 2023 Party size: 4 Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5
After returning from our epic escape room holiday in the Netherlands, we were a bit worried that rooms in the UK would not be able to measure up to the leaderboard topping rooms we had played the week previous. However, we struck gold with our visit to Escapable in Wakefield, where we had an all round magical evening celebrating Ash’s birthday.
The Great Loudini was an escape room that has been blowing up the recommendation pages, and since it launched we’d spotted plenty of shout-outs to Tom and the team via the various enthusiast Facebook pages. So naturally, we were very excited to see what Escapable had in store for us!
Take your seats for the Magic Show!
Upon arriving at the venue, we were greeted by our Games Master Tom, who appeared very much in character as a magician apprentice for ‘The Great Loudini!’. We are such big fans of an immersive start and arriving at Escapable did not disappoint. From there, we were taken through to the theatre to where Loudini would be performing. Our Games Master then gave us a glimpse into the fun we could expect from this experience, drawing us in with some of the best live magic any of us had ever experienced. Seriously, live magic in an escape room? We love it!
The Great Loudini was so much fun and truly jaw dropping (huge shout out to Tom for his magic abilities, I have so many questions!). After we’d had our minds blown with some magical mischief, we were blindfolded to sneak through to Loudini’s room. Our first mission would be to sneak into his dressing room to see if we could find Houdini’s stolen diary!
Perfectly Puzzling Puzzles 🪄
Once we were released into the room to explore, we were delighted to find the room’s physical space and decor very much on theme. Everything in the room was well through out and had a purpose, there were references to magic everywhere, and even some very special hidden surprises! As a group of four, we totally clicked with this room and would recommend this as the perfect size. With this group, the puzzles flowed beautifully, and they were delivered on theme in a satisfying way.
With a typical group of four, we tend to split to tackle different parts of the room at different times, but with The Great Loudini, we found ourselves coming back together on purpose, just so we could all experience the puzzles on offer. Not to mention tyring to figure out exactly how on Earth some the puzzles had come to be… It literally could only be magic! In The Great Loudini we also came up against a couple of absolutely stand out puzzles, and more than one we’d be left feeling beyond-perplexed as to just what we’d witnessed.
Knock Knock! Who’s There? It’s Tom.
Throughout the experience, Tom returned to us a number of times (in character), to provide some additional information about Loudini, and to provide us with some ‘tools’ we would need to complete some of the puzzles in the space. These ‘tools’ were presented wonderfully. It’s not exactly a live-actor room, but those touchpoints of interaction were some of the most pleasant interaction with a live actor any of us had ever experienced. These interludes were spaced out perfectly well, and didn’t feel clunky or disruptive in the slightest. Each one was a welcome ‘break’ from the puzzling and into the magical narrative of this superb experience.
Without giving away too many spoilers, one of the most unique moments of the room was when one of the final puzzles left us all feeling very confused, as we questioned the loyalty of our own as the puzzle and solution was revealed (looking at you Tasha!). It was the best way to finish the experience, and had us all laughing and discussing for many hours after how we had managed to locate the missing diary.
Escapable: Above and Beyond
Since we were playing on Ash’s actual birthday, I (Al) had reached out to Tom earlier in the month to ask if he had any particularly magical ways of producing cake. Anyone who knows us knows that cake is an integral part of our lives, not just for a birthday! Tom was wonderful and obliged in surprising the birthday girl with an excellent magic trick that yes – actually produced cake too!
Having played The Great Loudini, we can see why this room has skyrocketed in popularity with the UK escape room community. It was just so different! It was lively, it was funny, it was packed with brilliant puzzles and a smooth and seamless logical flow we all love to see. I cannot recommend this room more, we had an absolute blast.
Diorama Games: The Medusa Report Review | An American nuclear physicist is found dead in the USSR at the height of the Cold War. What happened, and what does any of it have to do with Abby and her enigmatic father?
Number of Players: 1 Time Taken: 1.5 hours Date Played: April 2023 Difficulty: Medium
The prequel to this game, The Vandermist Dossier, is one of those tabletop puzzle games I still talk about. In fact, when I sat down to review this game I noticed The Vandermist Dossier was still one of the six or so pinned games on our homepage, and trust me when I say I only pin games I really, really love.
So I was very unsurprised when I opened up The Medusa Report and immediately fell in love. Then, the game only got better and better as I played it. With each new reveal, each exciting detail, and each twist I thought to myself “Gosh, our industry needs a ‘Game of the Year’ award, so Diorama can win it” and I stand by that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. What makes The Medusa Report so good? Well, for starters it was a lot of fun to pick up where The Vandermist Dossier left off. There’s something extra satisfying about meeting old characters again for a new adventure. Secondly, The Medusa Report was perfectly signposted. Signposting is a real bugbear of mine, and there’s nothing I like less than not knowing what to do next. Diorama has none of that, it’s clear exactly what to do in a perfectly lore-friendly, non game-breaking way. Each puzzle rolled seamlessly onto the next. Speaking of puzzles, these ones were *chef’s kiss* good. Well balanced, surprising, and delightful. Last but not least, it’s just such a beautiful game. Goddamn beautiful. Let’s dive into all of those points one by one.
Pick up where you left off…
The Medusa Report is a sequel to the very popular Vandermist Dossier. Like it’s predecessor, The Medusa Report will be available on Kickstarter to begin with, and then will likely be purchasable via their website in a little while. Whilst they’re sequential in ‘story’, I think both are probably fine to play as standalone. There’s a slight cliffhanger at the end of the first one, and the second references the people and places of the first, but otherwise they’re fairly self contained.
That except for the bonus puzzle! Oh yes, if you happen to have a copy of The Vandermist Dossier, you get extra content! Although I don’t want to spoil anything – so I’ll just leave that for you folks to discover yourself. Amusingly, I’d already passed my copy of The Vandermist Dossier to another writer (Rebecca) here at The Escape Roomer. Generally speaking, we like to get as many of us writers across playing a game when we review it. But thankfully, Rebecca lives (thanks to a fortunate move on my part) about a 15 minute walk away!
In terms of that story, in The Medusa Report, we return to the Vandermist family and pick up where we left off with the sister of our main character. Once again we’re rifling through documents and solving puzzles to try to uncover a singular thing: Where is Abigail Vandermist?!
Part Narrative Journey, Part Puzzle Solving
The Medusa Report is story-heavy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean puzzle-light. It has a good balance between the two. The experience begins when you read an envelope titled “Dear Detective” and then, in a lore-friendly way you’re ‘guided’ through the story through the medium of puzzles.
The game plays out in a linear format – meaning as you solve one puzzle, you’re signposted to the very next puzzle. It might be as obvious as one of the characters directly calling out that item in the dossier, or as subtle as something formatted in a way that looks eerily similar to the format of another item. Both are good and, as mentioned, I really appreciate good signposting. It can make or break a game. The Medusa Report has excellent signposting – game designers take note!
For folks who wish to go ‘beyond’ the signposted game, there’s additional content in the experience. You begin with one goal: Find Abigail. But there are other goals woven throughout the game. Not to mention the ‘bonus’ meta content. I’m also imagining that since this game is the second in a trilogy, there’ll be even more hidden details which will come back in the third installment – but we shall see!
In terms of the ‘basic’ puzzles, the ones I encountered were brilliant. I say “I encountered” as even now I look over at my copy of the game and wonder if there’s more to find. Probably there is, but I’ll just have to figure that out myself at a later date. But for the purpose of this review, when I talk about the puzzles I’m talking about the main content of the game. All in, there’s probably around (or just under) 10 puzzles in the experience. Each one took me some 5 – 10 minutes to solve.
If I had to choose, my absolute favourite involved one where I had to return to something I already thought I’d “solved” and look at it again in a brand new way. However – it’s impossible to choose a favourite puzzle in this. They were all so good. I’m not going to say a single word about what the puzzles composed of because it’s best to go into this blind and let the ‘aha’ moments come to you. But just take my word for it when I say they were great. Objectively great puzzles.
A Visual Journey Through the Past
Last but not least, I want to talk about the aesthetics of The Medusa Report. As with The Vandermist Dossier, the whole thing is set in the world of spies – the CIA, the KGB, and some very interesting content from the USSR. It’s such a rich and fascinating era of history, lovingly recreated in print media. Every item in the case file, minus the fact it smelled so fresh and good (a strange thing to mention but hey!), genuinely felt like it were from the era. The graphic design is second to none, and the quality of the documents is absolutely flawless. It’s the kind of game I want to take everything out from it’s box and put it all in vintage frames and decorate my apartment with. Seriously, that beautiful!
If you couldn’t tell from the review so far, I loved The Medusa Report. It’s only April, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of my favourite games this year, just like The Vandermist Dossier was when I played that one too. With this impressive second game, Diorama Games are quickly cementing themselves as a household name worldwide, and I have no doubt that this game will be a hit in the puzzle community.
For this reason, we’re awarding The Medusa Report with our coveted “Badge of Honour“, which is only given out to games that excel in every category we ‘rate’ based on. I’d recommend this game for just about everyone – but for the best ‘overall’ experience, go back and play The Vandermist Dossier first! In fact, if you haven’t already, that’s the perfect way to spend your time from now until the game’s Kickstarter fulfilment.
A new lead turns up old doubts about an ‘Unsolved Case’. A trap, or a copycat killer? In this co-op puzzle game prequel to the award-winning Cryptic Killer series, put on your detective badges as you collaborate and communicate to crack the codes, solve the riddles, and catch the Cryptic Killer.
Date Played: April 2023 Number of Players: 2 Time Taken: 30 mins Difficulty: Easy
Although we became very familiar with digital escape rooms over the course of the pandemic, it’s been a while since I’ve played one. Last year I covered “Parallel Lab” by Eleven Puzzles, and greatly enjoyed it, so when I saw they had just released a new (free!) game, I absolutely had to play it. This is actually the first part of a larger game set to be released soon, which is even more exciting!
Much like their previous game, this game requires two players on separate devices. This game actually supports cross-device playing, which meant I was able to Skype my mum and play on my computer, while she used her iPad, which she is more used to than playing on a computer. Part of the reason I love the Eleven Puzzles games so much is their ease of play – you are not tied to what the other person is doing and are fairly free to roam and interact as you like, and the gameplay is pretty much just point and click, so no tricky key combinations to figure out – any difficulty is just about the puzzles themselves!
In ‘Unsolved Case’ we return to the partnership of Ally and Old Dog, who have just received a mysterious briefcase each in their own apartments. These apartments happen to be fairly similar, and hold all the clues needed to crack the case open…
All the puzzles in this game require cooperation, not just one or two. However, they’re also unique and creative in the way they require this teamwork. Certain puzzles may require you to do the same thing, with different results, while others require the sharing the information. One thing I noted as we played was how well-balanced these puzzles were – I never felt like I was missing out on the ‘aha’ moments, and similarly didn’t feel I was encountering them all. If there was ever a puzzle where I felt my mum was having all the fun, there was soon to be a similar puzzle where the role was reversed (although different enough that it wasn’t a cut-and-paste).
example with minor spoiler
At one point there is a puzzle that required my mum to essentially work out a maze (I think), and all I did was click a button to go left, right or forward. However, there was also a similar puzzle where I had to figure out which ‘doors’ to open or close and all my mum had to do was click a button with specific colours on. It’s a great example of balancing the gameplay with similar experiences, without it feeling identical.
In fact, I thought a lot of the puzzles were really well done – they were all creative while still being logical, if not too simple. At each stage, there is a padlock to unlock the next part of the story, with icons clearly showing which puzzles to solve to find the numbers. This meant we knew what we were doing and worked our way through each, even directly affecting each other’s rooms while doing so, which was a really fun.
I really enjoyed playing this – the playability was easy, puzzles were fun and interesting and it’s got a neat, comic book style. It’s a shame it was so short, but as it’s free I think this is a minor point! I would also say it would’ve been nice if there were slightly more independent puzzles too, to make it slightly less linear and bring a little more freedom. Overall though this is a really fun game to play, especially if your teammate is long distance, and I can’t wait to play the full game when it’s released soon!
The Library of Enchantment Review: Ever wanted to step inside a story? The Library of Enchantment is a fun-filled thrilling family-friendly escape room, full of seafaring adventures, time travelling tricks and a pesky old bookworm who’s always up to meddlesome mischief! Join us for an enchanting experience that requires your puzzling skills, logic, persistence and, most of all, teamwork. Can you help capture Billi the bookworm and put the chaos right before the Library Inspector arrives within the hour?
Completion time: about 50 minutes Date Played: 8th April 2023 Party size: 4 Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5
We were lucky enough to be asked to come and try out Z-Arts newest addition to their arts centre, to see if we could help restore calm within the library walls before the (gasp) ‘Library Inspector’ arrives!
Z-Arts: First things first – the Z-Cafe!
First things first, let’s talk about the Arts Centre itself. It was super easy to get to (accessible very easily from the tram or walking distance to the city centre). The space was wonderful: all bright colours and smiling faces. Put simply, there is so much going on in here and the atmosphere is very welcoming.
We started off by checking out the café (well, of course), where we got a coffee and a (vegan!) cake for £4.50. The perfect way to fuel up and get our heads in the game, before the main event. For this escape room, we invited Al’s parents along for the ride – so technically we fit the bill. We were a ‘family’ playing the escape room, some adults and some ‘kids’ (us!). Having played in this size group, I would say 4 is the perfect number for this game. It allows everyone to have something to do, but also making sure you have enough people to get through all the different spaces within the allocated 60 minute slot.
Photo (c) Lizzie Henshaw
Talk about ‘Reading the Room’…
Our first impressions were excellent. The game opened up brilliantly, beginning long before you even got through the main door, which is always a nice touch. It also started with a puzzle that was very much on theme, helping to get us into the swing of things right from the start. Throughout the game, we were welcomed into a number of different spaces, guided by our lovely host, El, who provided us with a new book each time for each room, to help us with where to go next. Each one of these books matched the theme of the new rooms we found ourselves in, and it was a really nice touch that tied the whole thing together in a neat, comprehensive package.
Having a host in the room with us throughout the experience was something that we haven’t come across before. Usually we want to play with just our team, or more likely desperately wanting the non-members of our team to be out of the room – as from our experience, actors in the room are usually a form of demon, ghost, or other unwanted presence to make us jump! However, and most importantly, as this room is built to be suitable for children to complete the experience alone, the presence of a games master throughout definitely makes sense. El was brilliant throughout our escape room experience. They knew exactly when to step back and let us puzzle on, and knew the perfect moment when we needed a slight nudge in the right direction.
From start to finish the escape room felt well balanced. The puzzles were varied and exciting – there were physical puzzles, there were logical puzzles, we did some searching, we did some ‘pondering’. We were kept very busy throughout the whole experience, moving through the different spaces to finish all our tasks in order to proceed to the next room. No spoilers, but one of the room transitions was up there with the most fun we have had moving from room to room!! Even Al’s dad had a go, and judging by his smile – he absolutely loved it!
Whilst Z-Arts have pitched this as a family friendly escape (which it definitely is), we think puzzle lovers, both adults and children alike, will have an absolute blast playing The Library of Enchantment. We know from experience that central Manchester is not the *best* place to find escape rooms, so Z-Arts have created a very, very welcome addition to the escape room scene, and one we wholeheartedly recommend!
The Verdict: A real hidden gem!
If you like puzzles, you appreciate set design, and you want a challenge that will fill up the full hour slot for most teams, we would 100% recommend getting yourself to the Library of Enchantment!
Ashes of Persepolis Review | Travel to Ancient Greece to solve a mystery of Persepolis, the priceless Persian city burned to ashes by Alexander the Great. The hero’s secrets are interwoven into an intricate puzzle guarded by Olympian Gods and an all-seeing Oracle. Only the mightiest can read Oracle’s cards to find out what really happened in Persepolis.
Completion Time: 1hr30 Date Played: February 2023 Party Size: 3 Difficulty: Hard
I have been waiting a very, very long time for a game that’ll pique the interest of my partner. You see: they’re not really into puzzle games. Their idea of a good time is a museum or two with a pub break in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds excellent, but after our museum and pub trips I love nothing more than sitting down to a puzzle or two. Anyway, there’s a good reason I play a lot of at-home escape rooms solo. That was until the wonderful duo behind Scarlet Envelope announced their latest game: Ashes of Persepolis.
Historical? Yay! Ancient Greece? Woohoo! Absolutely drop dead gorgeous graphics? Check, check, double check.
But why do I bring up my partner? Well, they studied this very topic at university for their Undergraduate and Masters. In short, I had a veritable expert playing next to me, and one just as enthusiastic for a game as I was!
History and Mythology Come to Life
In Ashes of Persepolis, we found ourselves completely immersed in the part-fiction, part-truth world of Ancient Greece. Similarly, the story of Ashes of Persepolis spares no detail. Throughout this game we experienced a captivating tale set in ancient Greece that weaved together myth and history to create a rich and immersive, puzzle filled world. The game is based on the mystery surrounding the burning of Persepolis, the Persian city that was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
Some Scarlet Envelope chapters are material-light and online-heavy, and others the opposite way around. In this one, there was a perfect balance. The envelope is thick, weighty, and filled with some of the prettiest little things you’ve ever seen. Peculiar, triangular shaped oracle cards, an enormous map of Ancient Greece on one side and stars on the other, and a few other trinkets that come into play as the game progresses. The game spares absolutely no detail, and is so gorgeous looking I’m genuinely considering hanging the map of Ancient Greece on my wall – yes! Really!
This story unfolds not just via the puzzles but also through cinematic content. You see, between each puzzle was a short, well put together video which revealed a little more of our strange quest each time. The videos add a sense of drama and intrigue, and provide a welcome respite between puzzles to sit back and relax. To play this game, we also Googled “Ancient Greek covers of modern songs” and let me tell you there are some fantastic ones out there. In short, the scene was set, candles lit, and we were well and truly immersed.
It’s all Greek to Me…
Once we got stuck in, we particularly enjoyed doing unexpected things with the physicality and unique shapes of the oracle cards – though no spoilers here. You’ll have to play the game if you want to see exactly what I mean! My favourite of the puzzles was probably the one involving the aforementioned map of Ancient Greece, or a particular little delight moment whilst on the Artemis card (unsurprising, as they’re my favourite of the Greek gods). Each puzzle felt like a step forward in uncovering the mystery of Persepolis, and the video segments that followed were a great reward for solving them.
In terms of puzzles, well… This game was hard. Maybe the most difficult of the series yet. We also found the game to be slightly front-weighted in terms of difficulty, with the first few giving us the most difficulty. As the game unfolded, we found our rhythm eventually and it mellowed out from “wait, what?!” to a comforting level of challenging. If I had to give exact reasons why I believe we struggled (and I probably should, given this is a review), I’d say the following:
When ordering your Scarlet Envelope you get to choose between easy or difficult. Though I’ve never confirmed with the creators (I fear their answer might be the opposite of what I expect), I assume I’m getting the difficult edition.
Our third player was brand new to not just Scarlet Envelope, but tabletop puzzle games in general
The lighting was low, and this game has a lot of small finnicky parts
We lost one of the parts
Yes… You read that last one right.
Annoyingly, on the very first playthrough we lost a very important item – the item that would take us to the clues page. Emphasis on: We lost. It’s not impossible to solve without it, but we got very, excruciatingly, frustratingly stuck. We managed to bypass the clues page with a little guesswork and a little help from others, but came up against another issue when something else on that missing item proved to be vital to the gameplay. So we skipped that puzzle to the best that we could, and played on.
It was only a whole three days later when I finally found the missing piece. I can only assume it had fallen out when I first opened the envelope, and been brushed underneath a piece of furniture, because boy did we look at the time. Funnily enough the missing item was a coin. Where did I find it? Nestled against a few actual coins. I think my apartment is a ‘coin sink’ and somehow managed to suck in this pretend coin along with it. Hah.
I only mention it as – if it seems like we struggled on this game, it’s probably got more to do with my own losing of a vital piece. But thankfully the support team replied immediately (despite being in a very different time zone) and did their best to help at short notice. But if you’re reading this review and looking for advice before you start playing, my advice is: don’t lose anything.
Sure, but if we struggled so much – why do we still rate this game so highly? Well, its a very good game. What you get for the price with Scarlet Envelope is second to none, and Ashes of Persepolis might be one of their best looking tabletop experiences yet. I admire everything Scarlet Envelope create, and they’ve once again outdone themselves with Ashes of Persepolis. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
In terms of who we’d recommend this for… Probably only for more seasoned puzzlers – it’s better played as a part of the full Scarlet Envelope series, so by the time you get to this chapter you’re familiar with how the games work. Maybe invite your favourite history buff along (it helps, especially with the Greek language in the game), for the best experience.
In all, another solid addition to the Scarlet Envelope series.
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!).
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.
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!
Edinburgh Treasure Hunts Review | Professor M has arranged for you a day of creature-hunting. It’s all about using your special map wisely and keeping your eyes peeled. There’s so many secrets hidden in the beautiful Old Town.
Completion Time: ~2 hours Date Played: 17th July 2022 Party Size: 2 Location: Edinburgh Old Town Difficulty: Moderate
I (Mairi) have just moved to Edinburgh from London and I wholeheartedly insist that the very best way to explore a new city is to immediately book yourself in for an outdoor treasure trail. What’s not to love?! New sights, hidden alleyways, history, and most importantly… Puzzles!
One of the most, if not THE most loved treasure hunt company in Edinburgh is the aptly named “Edinburgh Treasure Hunts“. A solo-run and operated business by your incredibly awesome host Sabi who, as a part-time tour guide, is an expert in all things Edinburgh. The company is also one of the first to start running games of this kind with many of their trails being well over 5 years old and host to thousands and thousands of players over the years.
In particular, Edinburgh Treasure Hunts is a hugely popular game to play during the Edinburgh Fringe. They take you right past many of the largest and most popular venues as well as plenty of popular landmarks on lesser trodden streets. Being self guided, there’s also no need to hurry. You can take the trail at your own leisurely speed (well, within reason!), so breaks to see the fun sights of the city are encouraged.
Over our very first weekend in the city, Rebecca and myself decided to book ourselves into two of the trails: Fantastic Creatures, and Sherlock. Let me just say, we were not disappointed! Let’s get into why…
Fantastic Creatures (and Where to Find Them in Edinburgh!)
If you’re into witches, wizards and magical places, then the Fantastic Creatures trail will be your cup of tea. At the Chamber arches on the Royal Mile, we met up with Sabi- or should I say, the Professor’s Assistant Sabi who set us off on our lesson in magical creatures around the city. We were first sorted into a magical house (House of the Haggis, if you were wondering what our team went for), then given a tote bag filled with curious objects including a bestiary, an old locked box, and a map of the city with carefully labelled locations.
Our ultimate goal was to find the fabled Unicorn, a rare creature from history with mythical properties. We had a sub-goal of finding (and I suppose, rescuing) our teacher, the Professor, who had a terrible accident. Our tertiary goal was to have a lovely day out and enjoy ourselves puzzle solving. Tick, tick, tick all round.
Unlike Sherlock, Fantastic Creatures had a web-app counterpart we could load on our phones. The broad structure of the game was that we followed a physical map around the city and at each marked point we had a challenge to complete – locate a particular mythical creature in the environment from our bestiary, read about it, and answer a location-based question. The experience was challenging on a few levels. Firstly, we had to find the actual location designated a single letter on the map. A task easier explained than done for a team of players new to the city, who aren’t yet familiar with it’s little hidden alleys. Then, we had to look very closely at our surroundings, taking care to stand exactly on the right spot, before we could answer the questions.
…And listen, this game was surprisingly educational! Yes, yes, the creatures are fantastical. Yet I learned a lot about their myths, legends, relationship with Edinburgh and more. It was very well done!
Unlike Sherlock, we finished Fantastic Creatures in a comfortable amount of time – around 2 hours. However despite it being on the easier side, more appropriate for family groups, we still managed to get a lot of questions incorrect. So some advice from us: read the question very carefully to figure out what it’s asking before wasting guesses (and points) on incorrect tries.
Any team that manages to score 25 points or above will win a special bonus prize. I say bonus as we were delighted to find that on discovering the final location for our trip a little treat waiting for us behind a lock. But then, as our host scootered over to collect our bags from us we were presented with a further prize for scoring a coveted 29 points!
Edinburgh, City of Hills
One of the things we loved the most about Fantastic Creatures was the trail itself. Although, ‘trail’ is a strong word as it’s largely self-guided and with just a map to guide you, you can take any route you like. On the one hand, at times we were worried we’d taken a wrong turn. On the other, we were glad to not be wedded to a specific route around the city, as it gave us a chance to stop off for a snack, a drink, and an ice cream cone. Which, if you’re interested, we recommend lunch at the tiny, family run Olly Bongos and ice cream at Alandas Gelato, both en-route around the trail.
Edinburgh truly is a really beautiful city though. No matter which specific road on the map you choose to take, you’re sure to discover a new hidden gem, or a beautiful sight around a corner at the top of a hill. In fact, the trail starts right up near Edinburgh Castle, which is the perfect tourist spot for snapping lovely photos of the surrounding area. It ‘ends’ nearer Underbelly, making it again, an excellent place to springboard you into an Edinburgh Fringe show, or to round off the day after one.
The only thing that we felt could have been improved about the route was that occasionally we doubled back on ourselves. Not because we’d answered anything incorrectly, but because the route required us to. Towards the end, you find yourself in an area of town, and are sent back to the start of your route. Only to walk back up the long street and need to turn right back around to head even further in the other direction. It was a curious choice! It didn’t bother us too much as, being new to the city, find every little alleyway delightful, but we definitely saw the same few streets multiple times over.
We really enjoyed Fantastic Creatures. After playing Sherlock’s Secret Challenge the day before we had high hopes and once again Sabi and her company absolutely outdid our expectations. For sure, there were some minor bits that didn’t completely click with us – a few difficult puzzles we struggled to get the answer for for example. But overall we had a fantastic experience once again. Edinburgh Treasure Hunts is a super hidden gem in the city and will be the first place I recommend folks new to the city book themselves into.
This is paper guaranteed to be recycled – as a seasonal puzzle game! What can you do for the loved one in your life who likes solving problems, adores a challenge, or even thinks they are the smartest in the room?
Completion Time: 1 – 2 hours Date Played: November 2022 Party Size: 1 Difficulty: Moderate
Well, my first present is wrapped and waiting to be placed under the Christmas Tree. You know what that means? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know Enigmailed is one of my favourite places for puzzles. From their individual games, wacky Kickstarter campaigns, to consistently fantastic Chocolateral series (puzzles, and chocolate? Um, yes please!). So, when I placed a large order before Christmas, I was surprised to find an extra goodie arrived in the package: A few sheets of wrapping paper.
In typical Enigmailed fashion, this is not ordinary wrapping paper. This wrapping paper is quite literally packed with puzzles. No, no, I don’t think you understand. Literally. Packed.
But with such excellent wrapping paper, I had to wrap equally excellent gifts up in it. So I suppose all those Chocolateral bars I’d just bought should probably now be sent off to friends instead of eating them all myself like a chocolate fiend… Ahh well!
Ho ho hope I can solve all these…
The first thing that struck me with each sheet of wrapping paper is how well the puzzles are laid out. Most wrapping papers print little pictures of snowmen or Christmas trees. This wrapping paper does as well, but hidden within each of those illustrations… A puzzle!
Some of the puzzles are spread out over multiple images hidden around and others are a little more self contained. For such a compact, A2 sheet of wrapping paper, there’s a lot of puzzle for your money. In fact, there are 12 puzzles to solve. They are:
The Hexagon Jigsaw
The Sphere String
The Buried Treasure
The Net Maze
The Tree Gift
The Michael Bauble
The Star Crossed
The Holly Wood
Once solved, each of these puzzles gives a single word answer: A festive word, for a festive wrapping paper.
In terms of difficulty… Listen, I always find Enigmailed games err on the harder side. However, this wrapping paper broke that rule slightly in that I found each individual puzzle fairly straightforward to crack. A few easy wins, and a few which took longer to think through. I didn’t do them all in one go, but I did solve most of them solo – all in all, maybe an hour’s worth of puzzling? Maybe a little longer? It’s a ‘game’ best played dipping in and out of and tackling when you need a break from eating Mince Pies and playing Christmas music.
My favourite of the puzzles was probably “Buried Treasure” or “Poppers”, which were functionally similar to solve – and the two I attempted first! Several others ramp up in difficulty, but as you progress you’ll begin to see patterns and understand how the game flows.
Reuse & Regift this Puzzle Wrapping Paper
The second thing I was struck by is what good quality the wrapping paper is! It arrives neatly folded in a protective sleeve, and each sheet is A2 in size and 115gsm silk paper in quality. The colours are bright and poppy – even more so than I’ve been able to capture in these photos, making it a perfect paper to use with yellow or black ribbon. The first gift I tried to wrap with it (a large board game) the paper came in a little too small. I could have used two sheets, but then I pivoted to something more appropriately sized so I could use the one sheet per gift.
The wrapping paper comes in sheets say, rather than a whole roll, as you’ll need to use the entire sheet to solve the puzzles – some details might be hidden elsewhere on the sheet, so if you cut a sheet in half you risk it becoming unusable. For that reason, pick a gift that uses one sheet in it’s entirety for the best puzzling effect for your recipient!
Then of course, the best thing about this? It’s totally reusable. The paper is such good quality it’s unlikely it’ll tear between gifts, and after wrapping, it folds back down into a neat stack to be popped in a cupboard and used again next year. Whilst I’m giving my sheets away this year, wrapping up a set of lovely puzzley presents for friends… I’m quietly hoping those friends will save the paper and wrap their own gifts up in it next year too. Perhaps the sheets will make their way back to me by this time next year, who knows.
Given the Christmas theme of the puzzles, this wrapping paper is only really good for Christmas – but it’s incredibly good value. For at least one, if not two hours worth of puzzling fun for yourself and for your lucky recipient, it’s well worth elevating a fairly normal gift into something extraordinary. With your order, you receive 3 sheets of high quality, brilliantly reusable A2 wrapping paper. Christmas mornings won’t quite be the same again, not least of all because I’ll be instating the rule “all puzzles must be solved before you can open your gift”. So better get puzzling before you hit the Bucks Fizz this year.
All in all, I am so excited to give gifts wrapped up in this wrapping paper as gifts. In fact, I’m more excited for them to see the wrapping paper than unwrap what is inside. No wrapping paper has ever made me feel that way about gift giving, and honestly? I think this wrapping paper will be a regular feature of my gift giving for years to come.
I’d recommend buying the wrapping paper as part of the Chocmas Lucky Dip bundle presently priced at £19.50. In this bundle, you get:
Three sheets of wrapping paper in a protective sleeve
Welcome to Phantom Peak, known far and wide as the Venice of the West! In this fully-realised steampunk mining town, nothing is what it seems… What is hiding in the vestiges of the mines? What does the charismatic founder of corporate JONACO really seek in this sleepy town? Was the Blimp Crash really just an accident? Dine, shop, play games, go sightseeing, collect clues… explore the town and uncover its mysteries at your own pace for up to five hours in an immersive open-world adventure the likes of which you’ve never seen before!
Time spent: 5 hours
Date Visited: August 2022
Party Size: 4
Mysteries solved: 7
First of all, an important note! I am not an immersive theatre fan. I have only been to one other Immersive Theatre show in London, and in general, I tend to steer away from anything immersive – I even hate live actors in escape rooms! Therefore this review is from my perspective, as a lover of escape rooms and mysteries, rather than immersive theatre. Keep an eye on our site though, as we will be sure to update this with the review from our resident immersive theatre lovers once they have had a chance to visit!
If you’ve become immersed in the Escape Room Industry at all you’ve probably heard the name “Nick Moran” crop up a few times. Nick is the genius behind “Sherlock: The game is now”, Hackers’ new rooms, and “Spectre & Vox”. Now he joins the creative team behind “Phantom Peak”, so we knew this was easily going to be one of the most mysterious immersive experiences in London, hopefully with the emphasis placed on the mysteries rather than the immersion!
So what is Phantom Peak? Phantom Peak is a cowboy / steampunk town that has recently opened in East London. On one hand, you can go and enjoy the food, drinks and various games around town. However, for the more curious amongst us, there are (currently) 16 different mysteries occurring in this small town, with many more set to come as the town expands in the future.
Entering Phantom Peak
The first thing to acknowledge is that, from the outside, Phantom Peak doesn’t look like much. Based a short walk from Canada Water station we found ourselves in a rather dusty car park, looking at a wooden fence. However, just before our entry time (11am) a couple of “townspeople” came out (including Nick himself) to give a bit more of an explanation of what to expect inside the town, and get us set up on our phones (which are crucial for this). We then answered a few questions to get our first trail assigned, and we were ready!
Unfortunately, rather than the nice, large double doors you see here, we were let in the smaller side door, which meant there was a bit of a backlog going in. However, once we were in our expectations were definitely met – we were presented with a real life “boardwalk” from the Wild West, leading to a lake, and even a cave. The set design is beautiful and fully realized, with no half-finished sets or rough finishes. There are so many big and small features of the town, it’s so worth just taking some time to look around. The attention to detail is fantastic, and due to the number of mysteries, you never know if or when something will be relevant! It lead to quite a few fun moments when we finally realised what a certain poster was alluding to, or immediately knew where to go next because we’d noticed something previously. The costumes that the cast were wearing were so beautiful without being over the top, and I also loved that a lot of the guests had also committed to the Wild West steampunk vibe – I’ll definitely need to make more effort next time!
Starting off on the right foot
As mentioned, a lot of Phantom Peak relies on following a mystery on your phone. You answer a few questions, get given the name of your trail, your initial story point, and a place to start and you’re off! These trails make use of the whole of the town, moving back and forth and venturing into a variety of locals. Luckily the people of the town tend to stick to their zones (whether that’s propping up the bar, running their store, or canvassing for votes), so once you know who’s who it’s easy to find them.
To unravel the mystery you will need to talk to a range of characters, utilise the various machines around town, and even do a bit of subtle sleuthing. I also want to give a shout out the gender neutrality of the names – the logical side of me knows this is so that actors can be switched in and out for the same character (which also shows how talented these actors are), but the liberal side of me is excited that at no point do you know whether the character you’re searching for is a man or woman, and even the titles are all gender neutral (‘post-person’, ‘supervisor’).
At one point I was scolded by the Saloon owner for saying I loved a ‘lady boss’, and she quite rightly told me it was just ‘boss’, no need to qualify it or bring gender into it! It was points like this that shows how brilliant the actors were – I really enjoyed talking to them, having fun with them, and have proper conversations with them that made it clear they weren’t just following a script. This aspect made them really feel like fully rounded characters.
It would’ve been nice if things you discovered in one trail (or ways you interacted) carried throughout the day, as at points we finish one trail and discover some sort of big twist, but 5 minutes later we’d talk to the same character and it would be as if it never happened. However, with such a large crowd I understand why this may have been a little challenging.
However we did find the phone aspect a little too hand-holdy in parts, particularly where the casts and clues were giving us some clear directions to follow, only to realise we had a few more questions to answer in the phone before we got to that point. However, it was also a nice safety net so we weren’t totally in the dark at any point, and the townsfolk were all very knowledgeable and ready to lend a clue if needed.
The Puzzle Posse
At this point, I need to talk about the mysteries themselves, because oh my word they were so much fun! If you are thinking the mysteries will just be about missing hats and rogue bandits you’re so wrong (mostly), and even the ones that started quite meekly had an interesting twist. There’s also one facet of every story that will appear quite quickly, and I absolutely loved this part of the town lore. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but let’s just say the town has a clear mascot, which I adored and found so creative. The way it features in each story and throughout the town was so much fun and so creative.
The mysteries themselves weren’t that hard – for the most part, they involved talking to a townsperson, using one of the machines to find some information, or finding a hidden clue on a poster or in a certain location (which we were mostly guided towards). I would say don’t come into this expecting complex puzzles and the need to be Sherlock Holmes, but that’s ok! It wasn’t until we were discussing our experience for this review that we realised we didn’t really ‘solve’ all that much, but somehow we hadn’t noticed at the time because we were having so much fun. The story building was also thorough and immersive – we always knew why we were going somewhere, and what we were meant to be doing next.
In the end, we managed 7 trails, out of a possible 16 (so far). I’m not sure how you’d get over 8 (due to the nature of the questions), but apparently, I’m metagaming here, as I know some people managed 11 during the 5-hour slot! This included taking plenty of breaks for delicious food, necessary water, and of course a romantic (?) boat ride. You receive a souvenir at the end of each trail, but other than being a keepsake these didn’t appear to have been used for anything. I’d love to see these used for something in the future, or even have some form of souvenir ‘guidebook’ you could purchase to store them in (and therefore see all the uncompleted trails you have yet to do!). I’d also love some sort of specific souvenir to display on your person (such as a badge) so that as you wander around you can see what other people have done, and it might also give the characters more material to play with.
In terms of the machines, they were all fun and easy to use, but by the 3rd or 4th time using them the shine wore off a little. I think this could easily be solved by just not saying which machine needed to be used – we became familiar with what number of letters/numbers led to each machine fairly quickly, and then that would have added a small amount of puzzle solving to the puzzle instead. Either that or potentially making them a little more complex to use. In fact, it might have been nice to have some more complex trails to do – we did one that could potentially be called ‘adult’, but I think it would’ve been easy enough to tone down the content for a family.
Mystery trails aside, there was clearly a larger mystery at work in the town. We worked out enough (from the wider lore and stories) that something was a miss, but never worked out the overall mystery or how to solve it. I absolutely love this. There’s clearly a lot of wider lore that is dropped into each mystery if you pay attention, and many conversations to have. I’m not sure if there’s much ‘hidden’ around the town that wasn’t part of one of the 16 trails, but then again I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.
Rooting and Tooting
Of course, there is plenty more to do here when you want a break from a puzzle (especially as the time slots are 5 hours). There are 3 food stores (4 including Gelato) as well as a couple of bars. We tried the burgers, chips, and tacos and they were all absolutely delicious. I also have a ‘beer float’ from the Gelato stand, which was perfect on such a hot day.
As well as food and drink, there’s also a variety of fun carnival games, which are harder than they look, and you’ll need to beat 3 of them to become a real citizen of the town. Unfortunately, I only managed to earn one rosette, so I have no clue what happens when you have all three!
There are also a couple of events that only happen at a certain time, likely to give everyone a chance to explore the town a bit more first. I only took advantage of one of these, but will be sure to do the other next time! You can also browse the variety of shops for your variety of needs (and walk away with some nice souvenirs). The town itself was also completely accessible – everywhere was flat, which ramps up and down where necessary. We didn’t use any stairs and believe all the doorways were wide enough for a wheelchair. We were there for 5 hours, which was actually the perfect amount of time. I was personally getting a bit frustrated by my non-enthusiast friends who were taking lots of breaks, and definitely flagging by the end, but I admit I probably wouldn’t have wanted to stay much longer.
This town ain’t big enough…
I absolutely loved our time, and I will absolutely be returning, but there were definitely a few niggles here and there which will hopefully be ironed out as the experience expands. For a start, we heavily relied on my phone, which meant the battery ran down quickly. Luckily I had packed a portable charger, but even then I was down to 30% when we left. For such a phone-heavy experience, I was surprised by the lack of charging stations in the town – I can imagine some rentable power packs would be a big hit here!
The walkways are also quite narrow, so we often found ourselves walking slow behind a queue of people, or waiting a while to get into a shop. This died down at certain points throughout the day (down to events, food breaks, or just people leaving), but it was definitely a bit harder at the start. Staggered start times would solve this, but then of course it would be hard to monitor when people’s 5 hours were up. In a similar vein, there were times we were essentially following another couple doing the same trail, either waiting for them to finish their conversation with a character so we could have the same one, or just listening in. Sometimes this was fine, due to the occasional puzzle that needed some time to solve, but otherwise, we got into the groove of using those moments to grab another drink rather than following on their tail. I’m not sure what the plan is for the expansion, but I’d love to see some bigger areas, perhaps with new characters to talk to and new machines to use!
What’s the verdict?
This is hands down my favourite experience I’ve done in London. I’d even go so far as to say I’d rather come back here than go to another London escape room. At less than £40 for a ticket, which covers 5 hours, it’s a real steal on price too!
You can be as immersed as you want to, but the characters don’t necessarily approach you or force you to put on an accent if you don’t want to, which was great for my friends who were less sold on this aspect. The mysteries were just really fun stories, and although the puzzles weren’t that complex I don’t think you’d be disappointed because so much else is going on.
I will be recommending this to anyone and everyone, and cannot wait to return to Phantom Peak.
Tickets for Phantom Peak can be booked on their website
Please, Don’t Touch Anything VR Review | Covering for a colleague taking a bathroom break, you find yourself in front of a mysterious console with a green screen monitor showing a pixelated live image of an unknown city. Also present is an ominous red button with the simple instruction to not touch anything! Push the red button once or press it many times. Your choices and actions will lead to outrageous consequences and over 30 unique puzzle endings.
Developer: Four Squares, BulkyPix Date Played: June 2022 Console: Oculus Number of Players: 1 Time Taken: ~2 hours
Every time I saw a warning on this game that read “Not for the faint hearted” I thought “Hah! How bad can this be?! It’s just a game where you’re sitting in front of a console pressing buttons.” Then I found myself worshipping Satan, being scared out my mind by demon standing behind me, and watching the human race get wiped out… Repeatedly.
That said, I still wouldn’t describe it as a horror game. I’d describe it as a fixed perspective escape room game. Which is a fancy say of saying “button pushing simulator”. It’s just you and the console, and a lot of different outcomes. Where most escape rooms just have one (you escape), this has multiple. But the idea is the same, you’re solving puzzles and performing actions in a small 2x2m room to achieve them all. And let me just say… It was some of the most fun I’ve had in VR in a long time!
About Please, Don’t Touch Anything
The original “Please Don’t Touch Anything” was a short pixel art game released by a Russian indie studio Four Squares for PC way back in 2015. It received a large amount of praise and the studio, in collaboration with Escalation Studios then went on to release a 3D version of the experience just a year later with virtual reality support. Later the game was launched on Nintendo Switch, and has continued to be met with praise for many years since.
Skip forward to 2022, and I’m idly scrolling through the Oculus store with a 30% off voucher in hand looking for a new title to try out. I wanted something short, fun, puzzley, a little bit creepy. After punching those filters into the search engine, there was one title that kept coming back to me: Please, Don’t Touch Anything. Well, of course I wanted to immediately touch it.
“I’ll be right back, don’t touch anything!”
The game begins with you in a small room with a large console in front of you. Your colleague appears at the door and says he’s popping out for a quick bathroom break and for the love of god, he implores you not to touch anything on the console. With a wave, he’s gone. It’s just you and the room. Oh, and a giant red button.
Amusingly, on my first playthrough I didn’t touch anything. My colleague appeared back from the bathroom and thanked me for being so diligent, and the game ended. I was immediately respawned into the room and it begun again. This time, I hit the big red button and triggered a nuclear apocalypse…
So far so good.
If you can tell from that brief description, Please, Don’t Touch Anything is a game of many many endings. Thirty endings to be exact. It’s best played with no expectations – you walk in, you press buttons, or you don’t, and you get a curious ending. The game restarts and you’re immediately hooked on a need to uncover every single one. What happens if you push this button? How do you get the hammer? Is that a UV blacklight? With each playthrough a new facet of the world reveals itself. How will you destroy civilisation this time? Or will you simply press a switch 50 times and nothing will happen. Perhaps you’ll make it your mission to clean up this (very messy) room. All valid game choices all with unique endings.
It’s also a game packed with many pop culture references. From TV, from films, and from other video games. Delightful nods to puzzlers past and some very creepy moments I’d only seen on the silver screen suddenly brought to live in VR. I love it!
Button Pushing Simulator Now in VR!
If you’re familiar with the original 2D version, there are enough changes in the VR/3D version to make the game feel innovative and fresh. Endings are different and things have been added. For the whole part, it’s a game that works well in both 2D and 3D but as a big fan of virtual reality I think it works really, really well in this medium. For starters, you’re pushing buttons and toggling switches and this feels extra immersive in virtual reality. Want to pick something up? You can simply bend down in real life and pick it up and manipulate it in real life.
In terms of controls, it’s not perfect, but that’s to be expected for an early VR experience. My hands in the game didn’t always move to where I wanted them to be and I found it was often quite tricky to stretch over objects and reach things. For the best gameplay, you need a large space to play in at home so that you can move around freely. You can play this standing up or sitting down. It might be slightly more immersive (and easy on your legs) to sit down, but I played it largely standing up. If you don’t have a large space, you can stay rooted to one spot and use the in-game mechanic to teleport around fairly easily too. No motion sickness here!
Where are the Puzzles?
Like any good puzzle game the primary ‘puzzle’ is figuring out what to do. Then figuring out how to do it to get the output you want. For sure, there are plenty of ‘classic’ puzzle mechanics the escape room enthusiast will recognise, like Morse Code or binary inputs, but it’s largely a game of sequence memorizing and inputting a variety of data pieces into your console creatively. You might find a 4 digit code on one playthrough that you suddenly remember 10 playthroughs later and input it. You might spot a symbol which ends up being a map to guide you around a grid of buttons. There are a few ciphers, and some very fun uses of black-light, and so on and so on.
In short, I think it’s a fantastic game for the escape room enthusiast to play. It’ll push everything you know about solving escape rooms to the limit, and then some. A unique game that doesn’t quit fit into any category box, but definitely one I think you, dear reader, will enjoy. Puzzles a-plenty.
I really, really enjoyed playing Please, Don’t Touch Anything. It’s tongue in cheek humour was the perfect setting for a quirky little puzzle game like this. When writing about any VR game I like to consider whether such an experience would be possible in any other medium other than VR. There’s nothing in it that wouldn’t necessarily be possible in another medium – the example being that it’s also available as a non-VR title, but it’s so much better in VR.
I’d not hesitate to recommend this to any other escape room enthusiast and I think it’s got a rightful place in the Oculus catalogue as a game puzzle fans should definitely check out.