Safe House (Lucardo Rawtenstall)

Game Date: 1st September 2019
Game Number: 34
Price for Two: £50
Website: https://lucardo.com/rawtenstall

Game Overview
Notorious gangster Tommy Neil is one of the most wanted criminals in the country. You have been chasing his tail without success for nearly ten years, his luck seems to be running out – his right-hand man has turned himself in to the authorities. He is currently in a safe house before being entered into witness protection. As the lead investigation team in this highly coveted case, it is your job to interview the witness and extract everything possible to finally convict Tommy. Be prepared for twists and turns in this epic game. 

Arrival and Introduction
We had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Lucardo’s new room since we first found out that they were opening a prequel to Corruption which remains to this day one of our all time favourite rooms. We managed to snag a last minute slot on a busy Sunday afternoon and made our way up to Rawtenstall. Once again we parked in the free car park just across the road but at the time there was plenty of free spaces along the road as well. We arrived at the same time as another team and so the reception area was quite busy, however we were still very warmly welcomed by Simon, the co-owner and our game operator Molly. Whilst we waited for our room to ready Simon chatted to both teams about rooms that we had done previously – the other team had only played a handful between them but Simon was still fully engaged at finding out how they had found them and it turned more into a group discussion that was nice. Molly gave us our game brief and although we had heard it a number of times before, Molly still managed to make it engaging and enjoyable.

Gameplay
Anyone who has played games here will know that the game really begins before you even enter the room and Safe House is no exception and it was certainly the first time we have had to solve a puzzle before we had even entered the room. The themeing starts as soon as you are lead from the main reception area and is of a high standard throughout the game. The concept of the game meant that the themeing perhaps wasn’t as striking as some of the Lucardo’s other games (but then can anything really live up to The University of Magic!) but set the scene really well and changed as you progressed through the room and progressed through the story. It was certainly convincing enough for us to think we were part of the story rather than just playing a game – a very immersive game.

There is a fair amount of searching and observation based puzzles in this room and because we are pretty appalling at searching there were points where we had missed something really obvious and needed to be nudged in the right direction by Molly, however some of the puzzles were really clever and each one fit well within the theme and the story of the room. As the story line develops more as you progress, when you solve puzzles you are rewarded with good a-ha moments. The great things with games at Lucardo is that you know the puzzles are going to be logical and that subtle signposting will present if it is needed and looking back the times that we were stuck with the puzzles is when we were overthinking or not just trusting in the puzzle.

On reflection, I think we completed of the puzzles out of the order that they were intended so the ending seemed slightly odd to us however would have been much more in keeping with the story had we solved the puzzles in the right order.

Outcome
As the outline above states be prepared for twists and turns I wont spoil the end goal but we managed to complete it with 5:45 left on the clock. Given some of our stupid mistakes we feel that we could have done much better and so were slightly disappointing with this time. We took 3 hints on some pretty major search fails on our part and these were delivered via screen within the room, which also displayed the time remaining. Whilst I do understand having screens does impact slightly on the immersion factor, I much prefer having a firm idea of the time without having to rely on my own timekeeping and it also means that clues can be written down (every person that has played a room where clues come by walkie-talkie know how frustrating it can be to ask for the clue to be repeated for the twentieth time!)

Credit: Lucardo Rawtenstall

Overall
Yet another superb game from Lucardo Rawtenstall. Whilst not mind blowing in it’s themeing, it focuses more on story line and development. There is a decent amount of puzzles and of a good variety that fit incredibly well within the theme of the game and not just thrown in to increase the difficulty. Simon as always was a fantastic host and Molly ran our game very well, nudging us in the right direction moments before we/I got frustrated. She also played the live action parts of the game really well and this really added to the immersion value of the room. I would personally go as a pair or three at maximum as some of the rooms in the game are quite small – also if you go as a big group you are just going to miss out on parts of an enjoyable game! I really hope Simon and the team can find some more space to make some more rooms soon because their games are right up their with the best we have played and we are desperate for more!

Customer Experience: 5 out of 5
Theming: 4.5 out of 5
Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5
Enjoyment: 4.5 out of 5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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