At the ‘Up the Game’ Conference most escape activities were sold out in 8 minutes, Killjoy’s Escape was one of them. On the second day, a second timeslot was available. I was very lucky to get on the waiting list and was able to take part in this large group game.
The game is based on a Time travelling agent that has a terrible plan to bring a virus back to the future, while creating havoc along the way. The resistance of the future has stopped him in transit and has landed his belongings at our location. We must work together now to help save the future. The team was 21 of us, spilt into 3 groups, working together to stop this agent.
To respect the Escape Room secrets, this will be a non- spoiler review of my experience playing this game as other people might get to play it as well.
We were gathered together to discover a trunk and some discarded clothes that looked like the person had been standing there but then had disappeared. We were briefed about the game and upon a short investigation were briefed from the future, via projector.
We cracked the trunk and out came various authentic props from three different countries, we all gathered round our three tables to discover what needed to be done. One team took one country each leading to about 7 on each team. A team leader was chosen at the beginning that started to float around to make sure there wasn’t anything we had missed.
To be honest at this point, I didn’t have a quick look around to see what else had materialise out of the trunk. The props were so engaging and linked to their countries very well. Which made me very detracted, intrigued in what others would be doing them. The props were mostly brought in and had a lock on them and some were custom made which is what made each table so engaging.
I returned to my table to see the suitcase had already been opened to a host of props, locks and 2 tape recorders. Tape recorders? Why 2 of them? I guess we have to find out later as another presentation from the projector told us more from the storyline and what we needed to find from each location. Back to the case and a small collection of puzzles that work on their own and some where you need more information from the rest of the props. We blitzed through these and then were left with a time zone, logic puzzle. I will admit, I am not good with these types of puzzles, but the beauty of escape rooms is that usually someone in the group can do it. It was obvious this was the last thing we needed to solve until the final puzzle on this table. So I left the few people remaining on the table and decided to take a look around.
Looking at the puzzles on the other tables it is obvious how much love and care has gone into this story. The props are nice and colourful, they all have purpose and all encourage teamwork. For most of the time I observed teams trying to solve a puzzle with only half the information provided. This can be a pain if you don’t know that. However, in the end gratifying if you are willing to stick with it to the bitter end.
The array and variety of puzzles covered all elements of problem solving, including sensory and smell which conveniently had appeared in our escape rooms. The other team were stuck on these so provided my assistance, leading to the solution of the puzzle. There was a joke about ‘mike dropping’ then moved on to the next puzzle. Unfortunately the other table had solved everything so was unable to see any puzzles that came from that table. So returned to our table to discover the logic puzzle was still unsolved, it was only when the team from the completed table came to assist it started to come together. Time for the final puzzle on our table and it was ‘all ears on deck.’ Yes, I did write that correctly, to navigate this very clever puzzle. It was then I realised I had gravitated to the final lock and had it in my hand, an electronic directional number/ letter coded lock. An object up for much debate on Escape room owner sites, fortunately I knew how to use it. We had an option for two codes, put in one of them; it was wrong and had to wait for the lock to reset. Tension was building, one code left to try. The other group had also finished, now gathering round us and the final lock in my hand. The pressure was on, 5 numbers on a directional padlock, 20 sets of eyes watching your every press..........click. The crowd goes wild, or more of a universal ‘yes’ in relief of solving and collecting the last piece of the puzzle.
Gathering round the projector again for a final presentation of all our efforts and the completion of the story, but wait there’s more. One last puzzle and now we have 30 seconds or all is lost. Fortunately, the group are escape room owners, we see your trick you are playing and as a group decide on a password that can save the day, just in time.
Overall an enjoyable experience that provided quality props and good storyline. However I have to look at this with my player head on and my owner head on. As a player I enjoyed the puzzles and felt involved in each group but due to the dynamics of the setup I felt like I could leave the group to it if I wanted to. There were enough people to solve things on each table so I had the freedom to walk around. As a player I did not get the full story, sometimes this is not a problem but as an owner I had talked with the presenters of this experience who had explained this story in full. When playing it, I only got to see a small part of the story, which was a shame as I knew it was there and a lot of effort had been done to keep everything on this story. The games master was excellent in his clue delivery, so much so that they haven’t been mentioned once in this review so far. It was done in such a sneaky way that it didn’t feel like a cheat that we had received a clue.
The introduction of tech is a nice touch which engages the audience and with the ability to use a computer pass key means no jumping ahead or possible cheating from the group. This experience is available to buy, however it seems the games master is key to running this experience. The price is good value for the quality of props and story.