Game Date: 16th August 2019
Game Number: 32
Price for Two: £45/£52 Off Peak/Peak
The role of the modern day Sheriff of Nottingham is to protect and uphold the legend of Robin Hood.
A group of ruthless kidnappers have taken the Sheriff and are demanding the fabled golden arrow of Robin Hood as ransom. They have given you and your team 24 hours to comply with their demands, that was 23 hours ago… Your team has searched all manner of Robin Hood related locations looking for the arrow, from Nottingham Castle to Sherwood Forest, but to no avail. Your last shot is the private office of the Sheriff an unusual and unique room with many hidden secrets to find, ancient codes to crack and elaborate puzzles to solve.
Arrival and Introduction
As we were in Nottingham for a few days we took an Uber from our hotel into the city centre ready for this game. We had snapped up this free slot after rain put our hope of watching some cricket out the window and so we headed to Escapologic for the first time. It was early Friday evening so it was unsurprising that the waiting area was packed with teams waiting to play their games. We were welcomed at directed to some lockers where we could keep all of our stuff and waited for our turn. The waiting area is very different from the light, pristine, clean cut spaces that we have graced in other games but it did add a level of immersion and excitement to an otherwise dead part of your game. We waited whilst other teams left to play various games and quietly wished the team about to do “13utcher” good luck (this games reputation precedes it and we will be steering well clear!).
After a short wait, Charlie met us a led us over the road to begin our game – Escapologic is spread over two buildings. It took us somewhat by surprise that we were led immediately into the room before having our health and safety brief. It was the first time that this had happened to us and after a decent amount of discussion after the game we concluded that it just is not for us. You lose that initial intake of breathe when you first make your way into the room and no matter how immersive you make the room, some of that is lost when you are speaking to a staff member wearing branded clothing. There did seem to be another team about to enter their room near us so it did at least mean that we were more separate which is a plus. Anyway, Charlie gave us the brief and also chatted a bit through our backgrounds and the rooms that we have enjoyed doing most previously etc and left the room and we were off.
As the game intro suggest you start in a small office which was well themed with all the sort of paraphernalia you would expect to find. It is not something that is going to blow you away but sets off the beginning of the game well. Thanks to some covert searching done whilst we were having our game brief we had already spotted a few things of interest and began to work out what we needed to do in order to continue. This first room is almost entirely linear with some good observation and logic puzzles that were challenging to do but very satisfying when they came off. Signposting in this room was good and we only got stuck when we failed to fully explore what we were being told to explore. What really impressed us in the rest of the game is how Escapologic have thought about the transitions between areas and how to makes these interesting and fun whilst still keeping broadly within the theme.
The second area could not be further away from the office/study space we just left and made use of the natural environment really well. There is a distinct change in puzzles within this room as well with the focus being on mechanical puzzles where you actually need to DO something in order to continue. Another linear section that I imagine could frustrate bigger teams but one that we found enjoyable – especially with the more physical side of things. You could clearly see what the end goal needed to be and it was a real joy trying to work out what we needed to do and in what order. The final puzzle stumped us but this was because we had no idea how much time we had left and I was definitely starting to panic but eventually it clicked.
Despite my panicking we retrieved the arrow with 3.41 left on the clock. I do really prefer having a way of knowing the time within the room but it does usually take away from the immersion factor from you. After the game, as we had enjoyed the transitions so much, Charlie allowed us back in the room to do them again; a great touch that was very warmly received. As the room was fully booked after us, we would understand being ushered out quickly but that was not the case at all. Charlie took our photo and then briefed us on Escapologic’s other games so we can plan our next trip. Clue delivery varied between the areas and fitted well within the theme each area we were going for – we needed 2.
Escapologic’s newest game and a thoroughly enjoyable one it was too. You can see why they have such a reputation for such good games and we will certainly be back to play some more. The room itself had some fun puzzles and was well themed. Our game master was very welcoming and accommodating though if I was being SUPER critical, one of the clues could have come a bit quicker because we had started to get a little frustrated. That being said, Charlie would have a much better knowledge of the room than us so it is just personal opinion. If it we me, I would have the room brief done outside the room as well, though these are two very small negatives on a very good room and one that is probably not far at all from being in our top 5. A largely linear game that would suit teams of 2 or 3 best.
Customer Experience: 4 out of 5
Themeing: 4.5 out of 5
Gameplay: 4 out of 5
Enjoyment: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 4.5 out of 5