Nottingham, May 2017
iLocked is one of a couple of large Russian escape game franchise companies that have spread into the rest of Europe. The Russian escaping scene is famously sophisticated, and the iLocked franchise has exacting design rules such as zero padlock use; The Mummy in Nottingham is their only location in west Europe. Edit: This is no longer true – iLocked Nottingham is now not affiliated with the Russian franchise company, and operates as an independent business.
This game is indeed highly automated, with most puzzles using hidden mechanisms. That level of tech might sound incongruous with the ancient Egyptian theme, but in practice it can be taken as ‘magic’ so fits fine. A few light-up buttons and other traces of technology might bother the purist, though seemed fair enough to me.
For a several thousand year old tomb, the room is awfully clean and well-lit – not that I’d prefer low lighting! But the set looks great, and only improves as the game progresses with skilful use of lighting effects. A common frustration in rooms that use a lot of hidden mechanisms is when you solve something but it’s not clear that you’ve done so, or what it was that was triggered. That pitfall is for the most part entirely avoided here – if you do something that unlocks a panel elsewhere, the panel cover is spring-loaded to make it obvious that that’s what’s happened.
The game moves through distinct phases and areas, with different types of challenge. Players suffering from claustrophobia should mention that to the operators before the game starts, since it involves some smaller spaces than most escape rooms. But for me it added an extra frisson, giving a feeling that little bit closer to actually being deep within some pyramid.
It’s a decently challenging game – we took our share of clues and I’d expect few teams to complete the game without needing any. The game’s highlight was a particular unexpected and brilliant surprise, but it’s high quality throughout. Enthusiast teams visiting Nottingham are likely to have come for the famous Escapologic games, but it’s definitely worth including The Mummy in the schedule too.
You enter a tomb and it seals behind you, with a threatening voice telling you to restore the artefacts to their place or be locked away forever. So far, so normal.
This room relied more on intuition and physical logic than mental puzzles, with a physicality that really worked (with a nice surprise in the middle) as well as a nice communication / teamwork setup.
The build quality of this room was really noticeable, particularly the robust physical elements and sophisticated electronics; the decor was good although it felt a bit artificial and could do with a bit of “aging”, however it didn’t spoil our experience.
The only frustration I had with this room were an ambiguous puzzle in the last room where the obvious symbols weren’t the ones required; and a slight warning that the toilets are not on site (3 minute walk to another building)!
The operators are very enthusiastic and we felt very looked after. Overall well worth a visit, and I look forward to trying their new room Alien when it’s open, which looks very promising.