Cornwall, Jun 2017
Let’s get something straight right away, this room has no theme. Not only does it have no theme, it actually bears zero relevance to the name of the room either — TIMEBOMB. There’s neither a bomb or a fixed time to escape in.
Whilst being briefed by the incredibly enthusiastic host, I noticed a plethora of 4-6 person teams’ times beyond one hour, and in many cases beyond 90mins — all scrawled on the wall Escapalogic style.
Sitting there as a 2 with Mrs Chris (4 months pregnant and growing increasingly tired of doing escape rooms with a bump…) I did wonder if we would be in there long enough to need hot water and towels.
Set in an old fire station and training building, Locked In Cornwall claims to be more of a Crystal Maze experience than a traditional escape room.
I guess, you could say that this was the Crystal Maze’s lesser known FireStation zone, and the room itself was littered with random doors, escape routes, huge metal grates and some rather alarming charring on the wall from some prior fire fighters’ training exercise.
Anyway, keen not to extinguish anything other than the puzzle count, we started the room proper.
And — oh, my! — there’s a lot of stuff in here. It was one of the largest rooms I’ve seen for an ER, with a huge array of standalone puzzles, mostly solvable in parallel and a door with a multi lock hasp. With about 6 locks attached. This was going to take some time.
We ground out a few early wins. A Haribo based puzzle, leading onto something with flags. An awesome use of the unique space and tunnels that form part of the building, and a couple of common or garden number puzzles. Some more physical quests, too.
Eventually, probably around 35minutes in, we’d hacked away at those six locks, and opened the door….
… to a similarly sized space upstairs. With just as many puzzles. This is a room that would benefit hugely from a bigger group – not just volume, but parallelisation would keep everyone busy.
That said, we made some more progress, until we were hampered by a key getting stuck on one of the props, meaning the host had to come in and reset with a spare. Whilst it only took a couple of minutes at most, it did interrupt the flow somewhat.
As we drew nearer to clearing the second set of six locks from the hasp, and presumably our freedom, I took a moment to take stock. We’d both worked incredibly hard in separation to break down these challenges, and we were both really enjoying it.
OK – this is not the most techie room ever created, in fact the most technical part of the room we didn’t even realise was useful until after that part of the puzzle!
OK – the puzzles are mostly things we’ve seen before, or rehashes of normal puzzle concepts (but so many!)
OK – something broke and cost us time
OK – the theme doesn’t even exist, and there’s nothing tying any of it together
BUT – none of that mattered, we escaped, and enjoyed it immensely. And given the relatively low cost of the game, it was superb value, especially if you consider the puzzle to time ratio.
This isn’t a commercial, crafted hermetically sealed experience by any stretch of the imagination. It’s raw, fun, challenging and different.
It’s also in a great location, smack bang on the A30, which many an “Emmet” will be familiar with, as they travel around the fantastic County.
We escaped in 1hr 30 seconds (minus a couple of mins for the interruption from prop failure) which was the 2nd fastest 2-person time.