Norfolk, Dec 2016
Based in Dereham, Norfolk, this room is somewhat off the beaten path, and turned out to have been set up by a father and son who discovered escape games and decided to build their own.
As you might guess it’s a relatively low-tech, low-budget build with plenty of padlocks – although does incorporate at least one auto-working mechanism. The theming is minimal, and although your target is a diamond you shouldn’t expect a bank vault look and feel. Rather, it’s a period feel with some really rather nice pieces of furniture.
For the most part the puzzles have a good flow to them. There were two points in particular that let it down. The first is the use of UV, in a way that required a non-trivial amount of searching; that always tends to leave the team blocked and waiting for whoever has the torch to find the critical clue. Secondly, there was a colour-related ambiguity that caused predictable and entirely unnecessary confusion. That one is something they could easily avoid, simply by replacing one item, so it’s a shame they’ve left it in.
There were plenty of elements that were familiar from other games, but one idea later on was both original (in my experience) and very nicely executed. On the other hand, it was flawed in that it gave a slightly ambiguous result, which then had more than one potential target to try it against. Additionally there was a puzzle which used a little general knowledge, and a couple of things that from their appearance we assumed were out of bounds, which then turned out to be needed. Nothing there was a major frustration, and most first timers wouldn’t think twice about any of that.
Overall, it’s a first-gen style room which for the most part is nicely executed, though with some friction points they could tighten up on. It’s not at all a walkover, but it’s a perfectly good room on which to introduce beginners to their first escape room – and given the location, I suspect most of their clientele are first time players. The hints were via TV screen, and managed very well (and the operators asked us beforehand how much hinting we wanted, which is always nice). They’ve just opened a second room, and have plans to open several more, so I’ll be interested to see how much their subsequent rooms are an advancement on their first.