St Helens Arts Service…. did a “temporary” venue work?

After my (Adam’s) success in Las Vegas solo, I noticed that for two weeks, the St Helens Arts Service had a one of a kind escape game running over the summer holidays. Amazingly, it was free to play! Sadly nobody else on the team was available due to work commitments so I headed over there alone to give it a shot. The game was called “St Helens vs the Lizards” and the story was pretty good. You walk through a time portal back into 1984, into the bedroom of a kid called Sam, who believes that there is a conspiracy where Lizards rule the world.

The website describes it as follows: “Sam seems like any other teenager – problems with authority, fed up of school… except there might be something more going on… What if dad isn’t just embarrassing, but is actually much more sinister? What if the teachers at school aren’t only tracking grades, but also texts? There are strange messages in music and on Facebook… patterns in the news, odd occurrences in the town. Something is going on, but no one else can see it. From now on, nobody can be trusted – they could all be lizards! Sam has been busy in the library, researching the local history, making connections between the books people read and the bizarre goings on. Sam’s even built a research lair in the heart of the library – a makeshift hut of bookshelves and surveillance, hidden in plain sight. From there, the puzzles will be solved, the conspiracies revealed and the lizards unmasked.”
The room is actually in the middle of St Helens Library, and there are a few warnings to be careful of the walls as a lot of pressure could see them being damaged. After the usual safety blurb my host explained the story and led me into the room.
The first thing that hit me was how realistic the room was. There were no signs of anything that hadn’t been invented after 1984 and it was exactly what you would expect for a kid’s room in that time period. Needless to say I was a bit wary of destroying anything and got off to a start. I got stuck pretty early on because I made an “error”…where the same code opened two locks. Normally it is one code = one lock but it did make sense when the host explained why afterwards.
The room is a bit linear but there two puzzles in particular which wouldn’t look out of place in The Escape Room, never mind in a free game in the middle of St Helens! They also have the most unique way of giving you a hint I have ever seen, which definitely adds to the atmosphere! There are a couple of negatives, only small ones…but if the library is busy you can hear the outside noise which can be slightly annoying at times. Thankfully I was booked for the last slot of the day so it was quite quiet but in the middle of the day I assume it could be different. Sadly I can’t go through the other negative here without giving a major part of the room away unfortunately, but it has been discussed.
As they have opened up some extra slots (at time of writing) I’m not going to give much away but if you can get one of the last few slots then do so. It’s not the hardest room in the world to do but it is a good room, certainly better than some efforts by the “professionals” and well worth a visit. Hopefully they will come to some sort of deal with the company that put it together (which I discovered afterwards had help from our friends at Exit Strategy, which I should have realised before after comparing the rooms) and be able to use it to make some money!
No pictures with this one, as I’ve misplaced them somewhere, but will add them when I find wherever I’ve hidden them!

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