Northamptonshire, Aug 2018
It is a policy with Trapp’d to supply all players with blindfolds before they enter a room, so that they don’t see their surroundings before the game starts. With their abandoned mine and American West games they also give all players plastic shoe protectors to wear. In those games the level of hazard to your clothing is an indication of how full-on the sets are, so it was a promising sign that 46 Below used the same shoe protectors.
The plot here is that you’re stranded in the Antarctic by a plane crash. That’s a pretty original theme, and for good reason – how do you turn an interior room into anything resembling a polar wasteland, let alone one with a crashed plane? And yet they’ve managed it pretty successfully. The room is notable for its size, and although you’ll need to engage suspension of disbelief for some details, few will fail to be impressed. (The set design does not extend to making it freezing cold, a sensible choice of comfort over realism.)
Far and away the strongest element of 46 Below is the way it looks. Its weakness, at least for enthusiasts, is that it’s short and easy, and I’d expect experienced teams to need not much more than half an hour, or less. The actual puzzle content rates somewhere in between, with several workmanlike puzzles that spit out padlock codes in perfectly reasonable ways that are free from flaws but not very memorable. A couple of more physical tasks lift the average, as does a better themed communication task near the end.
However, the size of the space means you’re constantly moving about, shouting information back and forth, and adds a genuine sense of exploration and movement to everything you’re doing. Because of that the impressive set is not just eye candy, it gives the whole game a greater sense of adventure and fun.
The difficulty level makes this one that’s clearly more suitable for beginners. Even so, it’s definitely worth playing even for enthusiasts – just don’t expect sixty minutes of puzzling.