Games in Chelmsford by Chelmsford Escape Rooms
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The Last Testament at Know Escape in Chelmsford was my 25th room.
In doing a range of other escape rooms, I have come across a wide range of puzzles, great use of space and immersion.
As a whole it very much feels that this room tries to have a story to it but for us, it didn’t flow and was incredibly disjointed. We found things before finding the clue to lead to that thing so when we did then find the clue it was redundant and confusing.
The game starts with the GM playing Great Uncle Reginald’s video for you. This takes place in the room and so we of course, took this opportunity to start exploring the room and as a result earned a five minute clue penalty for not paying full attention to the video. Although the room overview states the solicitor has an envelope, inside of which is a VHS tape, it isn’t introduced in this way and we wondered afterwards if it would have been better to have found the video somewhere in the room (as another puzzle almost) and to then have to play it ourselves.
As we got going, we discovered that this room had limited variation in its puzzles - things were in the main either a padlock or a combination code. There was very little variety and whilst this can work in some rooms, it didn’t in this room. There was also scope for variation and some things could have easily been something other than ‘another key’. In terms of the puzzles, one was incredibly simplistic in nature (and wasn’t really even a puzzle) whilst another required careful calculation and working out. It felt like you went from one extreme to the other - there was clear thought put into some puzzles but this was completely lacking in others. My partner asked at the end if this was their first ever room because it felt very much like the puzzles had been created and had never then been updated or reviewed. There are certainly better ways of doing things, or even use of certain tech that could be used to update some of the things in this room. Compared to other rooms, it felt very much behind on the times.
There are two doors in the room to give the feel of it being a B&B, both doors have keyholes in them so naturally you think you’re going to need a key to open them, to lead into different rooms. Unfortunately this is not the case and we wasted a lot of time checking to see if the keyholes actually had locks in. I did say to the GM at the end that they shouldn’t have the keyhole in, to indicate they aren’t used in the game.
For us, there was also poor use of space. We spent a lot of time trying to work out how we were going to get somewhere which was never the case. This wasn’t at all clear and more could have been done in the design of the room to indicate this. It goes back to what I said about the original design not being reviewed or updated.
It really says it all when your partner wants to walk out with 25 minutes to go, as mine did. We were both frustrated by the lack of flow and even us standing around doing nothing didn’t prompt the GM to nudge us in any way. I also think this is where the company’s 3 clue rule falls short. We were reluctant to ask for clues, despite clearly not knowing what to do next, in case we needed to use that clue later on. In any room, I would rather ask for 20 clues and escape than ask for none and not complete it. At the end of the day, it’s my game that I have paid (in most cases a lot of money) to play, and I should be allowed to play it as I want and if that involves me asking for more than 3 clues, that should be allowed.
On the whole, possibly an enjoyable room for novices but I would say not one for more experienced players who have an understanding of escape rooms, who expect things to flow, variation in puzzles and better use of tech to support the room. Unfortunately not just The Last Testament, but my Last Room with Know Escape. I won’t be returning to do another room there.