Reading, Feb 2020
Those who are less familiar with London history might assume Pudding Lane is confectionary themed – but of course this game is actually named after the place where the Great Fire of London began in 1666. Your team has been sent back in time, not to prevent the fire from breaking out but to determine how it started, and ensure blame does not fall in the wrong place.
My first reaction on entering the room was to gleefully geek out over how beautifully a certain aspect of the scenery had been built. While that might be a slightly niche interest, there’s no denying that this is a very pretty room. The rather lovely simulation of a 17th century street also provides plenty to look at, and it took us a little while to get going – this isn’t a game that throws you a couple of simple solves to start you off, it expects you to be firing on all cylinders from the outset.
Pudding Lane involved less peril than I’d expected from the theme. This is about investigation, not fleeing from burning buildings. My knowledge of 17th Century England isn’t solid enough to really judge, but the impression the game gives is of solid background research of the period. At the same time, it’s not dryly academic; several puzzles emphasise physical interaction, and in places seems slyly tongue-in-cheek. As with the venue’s other games, the design seems to try hard to ensure that, wherever possible, there’s more than one thing to tackle in parallel – an approach that works well at keeping the game flowing.
The step that caused us the most trouble was one that required a degree of awareness of what we’d been doing, something easily lost in the frenzy of a game. I’d find that a questionable design choice, except that it was in fact solvable even with zero memory of earlier stages of the game, which I think makes it entirely fair.
Imaginative, varied, entertaining and with a satisfying finish – Pudding Lane just felt like it showed quality throughout. In its puzzle design, set and game flow, in all aspects it’s an attractive and hugely enjoyable game from a company that knows exactly what it’s doing.