A few weeks ago, after a quick Twitter conversation, Ken, the main protagonist behind http://thelogicescapesme.com/ was asking for a room ranking of the many North West rooms that I’d played, as he was planning a trip up encompassing the Preston, Liverpool and Manchester areas. This quickly expanded into an invite for Mark, the reviewer behind http://www.reallyfun.uk/puzzled-pint-manchester/ as well as myself, with the premise being that as a team of 3, we play a room none of us had before, and then without chatting about it afterwards, write our own reviews. We left the final decision to Ken ( seeing as he was paying up front), and he settled on the new room at Tick Tock Unlock Salford, called the Hatch.
We met up before hand at the New Oxford pub, just over the road for a quick drink, chat and general conversation about our experiences so far, as well as a generalisation of our favourites and ones to miss. I was fashionably late to this, mainly as I have a foot injury (awaiting X-ray results). I don’t know about the other 2 guys, but I was pretty nervous going into this. We all have good % escape rates, and was wondering how well we’d work together. In each group of regulars, there tends to be a variety of personalities that assist in being successful, and if we were all the same, how would we cope? Just one of the small things that was on my mind.
We popped over the road to Tick Tock Unlock, fortunately Mark had been before, as late at night, the sign outside is a little tricky to see otherwise. It is set underneath the railway arches just outside Salford Central train station, so the immediate thought is to imagine a cold, dark damp place. The door was answered rapidly, we were ushered inside where we had the usual chat with the game host, and thankfully, it was nice and warm. They also provided somewhere for bags and coats to go, if you didn’t want to take them into the room, which is always a good touch.
The Hatch sounded an interesting concept. You have an hour to turn off an electromagnetic device that will wipe your memory, so you either manage it, or fail and have no memory of the attempt ( quite a clever idea). Added to that, we were split up at the start which wasn’t expected, with Ken and myself in one room, Mark in the other, with walkie talkies to talk to each other ( we ended up just yelling). The puzzles in the first rooms were definitely designed to get us working as a team, even if Ken and myself completely butchered one of them. We also had answers to puzzles Mark required and vice versa, but we eventually muddled through into the main room.
Even though there was a linear aspect to the room, it seemed to flow pretty well. A lot of the puzzles were definitely different than usual, either in their presentation or in their solution, and we did get a little stuck, we generally received a fairly quick prompt ( maybe a touch too quick sometimes), where we hadn’t properly checked/searched. They also had the MOST difficult puzzle to physically find where we would never have found it without assistance. We did generally fly through each puzzle, with what turned out to be the final puzzle an absolute corker, and if you solve that successfully, you feel like you’ve definitely achieved something and possess the patience of a saint!! We escaped with 17:30 left on the clock, which is the fastest time they’d had so far ( in a relatively new room), and I honestly think we left 10 minutes in there as well. The usual discussions and photograph followed, and it was time to say goodbye, as I had to rush off to catch a train. It was a bloody fun night for certain!!
The room – the premise is sound, but doesn’t quite follow through from the initial brief. There’s a great opportunity in my eyes to stick a huge machine in the middle of the floor of the main room saying electromagnetic device on it, with several puzzles requiring solving to de-activate it. Saying that however, I did really enjoy how they linked up all 3 of the rooms throughout the game, and culminating in one of the more challenging final puzzles I’ve seen. There’s an about right level of difficulty overall, with some easier and some more challenging, and it’s definitely a fun game to play. That one tweak suggested above, would set it slightly aside to some of the other escape games.
Now to see what the other 2 have written….