Game Date: 5th November 2019
Game Number: 41
Price for Two: £39/£40 Off Peak/Peak*
*Full Disclosure – We were not charged for this game. You can see a full explanation here.
The waves slam and crash against the old rickety wood of the famous pirate ship; The Pillager of The Damned as it sails across the seven seas. The sound of the waves like a lullaby after being a desolate, abandoned prisoner for 7 years. So lonely, forgotten. The bars so familiar and friendly, your home for so long. The echo of the crew above your head, working, fighting and singing all to satisfy the cruel Captain Storm Jackson. Given his name for the thunder and despair that he rains down on anyone to cross his path. Always intoxicated and giving away secrets that only a locked away companionless soul could overhear. The plans to steal the legendary pearl…tonight.
Dead Man’s Cove. No one fully knows what lies there, only rumours of the rare, exquisite pearl. Only one pirate survived the treacherous journey however he is nowhere to be found and is thought to have gone crazy! Now, no one knows the horrors that await them at Dead Man’s Cove but plotting your escape has been effortless as the dimwitted pirates have revealed a detailed plan of their mission to search and retrieve the precious pearl. Giving you time to plot your outbreak. No longer will you be held captive by the cruel Captain Storm, you will escape…but at what cost?
The crew has left, the ship is so quiet. All you have to do is breakout of your jail cell and venture through the Pillager of the Damned’s decks without being seen! Find the raft and guide it across the stormy seas. Hurry your time has come to put your plan into action and jump over the hurdles that will come your way, freedom is in your sights.
Arrival and Introduction
Despite living well within driving distance of a couple of Trapp’d branches, I cant say that I knew much about them and to be honest as soon as saw the advert asking for help with staff training, I checked that we were free and had sent a reply before actually checking out the company behind the room. With two rooms opening at the new Stockport branch, the arrival of Trapp’d adds yet another company with a very saturated market of Greater Manchester. Just because an escape company is big does not mean that the product they offer are any good (I’m looking at you Escape Reality) but a quick google of their other sites left me full of optimism.
There is a very large car park near to the centre that is very reasonably priced – Merseyway – seems to be the major car park for the shopping district and if you park in the right zone (we were Orange 3) then its only 5 minutes of so to the venue. This is obviously a brand new venue (and the smell of fresh paint was still lingering around) so the reception area was a little sparse but has been filled a little judging by some of the photos online. We were welcomed by Craig who is a manager at the company and a number of other staff that were clearly training. It was clear that Craig had a passion for escape room and I hope that his enthusiasm trickles down to the rest of the staff. Lockers were provided to stash our things and then it was on into the room.
The game story is delivered on tablet when you sign the usual Ts + Cs but I personally would have appreciated at bit more of a briefing when we were outside the room. We were asked to put blindfolds on and we were led to a split start to the game. I do feel that sometimes the addition of blindfolds doesn’t actually add anything to the experience but to access the starting room we had to move through other parts of the room and so not being blindfolded would have definitely ruined some of the immersion! The only downside of this split start is the skill game that is needed to reunite the team. Luckily for us, we were put in the correct places to play to our strengths otherwise this may have been very frustrating for us!
Themeing throughout the room was very appropriate to the theme, with plenty of nautical paraphernalia and the customary parrot (can you even have a pirate room without having a parrot?!) Despite its popularity, I do still get plenty of enjoyment from a well themed pirate room and this was no exception. There were plenty of locks present within all spaces during the game and thankfully there was enough variety in these that you didn’t need to waste time entering a code in multiple locks to find the correct one. The puzzles that led you to these codes were mostly observation and logic and fitted well within the theme. Two of the most enjoyable puzzles focus on code breaking and touch and required a decently level of team work and communication to complete.
Linear and non-linear sections were both present during the game, with one puzzle in particular being present throughout the game only to be completed just before the end of the game. We tried to complete this on a number of occasions before being told by voice over that we were on the wrong track. I liked the idea of this puzzle being present from the start but perhaps it could have benefited from a dash more signposting as to when it should be completed – this may just be personal preference though. The same puzzle was the only one that seemed to me to not fit in with the rest of the game – there was a clever bit of technology hidden away but I just felt that it did not fit within the story of the game, whilst this is not a major issue it did prompt a major discussion on the way home about using technology within rooms where it doesn’t always fit within the theme.
Our time in Dead Man’s Cove ended with a little under 15 minutes left on the clock having had a few nudges from a voice over within the room. There is no timer screen inside the room so if you are like me and have a tendency to panic when you feel time running out, make sure you take a watch! We were asked to fill in a space on a blackboard in the corridor – a nice touch I must admit. It will be cool to come back in a few months when they have had more teams on the wall! Craig spent some time after the game talking about the other venues and games that Trapp’d has and we will certainly be adding them onto our list of venues to check out on our travels. Another nice addition was the attachment of the game photo to the customary post-game email along with our escape time – always useful to have a record of it somewhere. Looking back on the game, the story did not seem to be overly present within the room, which was a shame because I thought that this was a strong story line. Had there been more of the room story woven through the puzzles would have given an extra level of enjoyment to this room.
A solid game on the whole with a few minor frustrations that did not take too much away from what is at its heart a fun pirate adventure. Whilst it is not going to blow you away, there is plenty in there to keep new comers and enthusiasts entertained (all be it a touch on the easy side). Good communication is certainly going to make your task easier in this room, probably more so than regular rooms as you have the split start to contend with as well.
Alas, it seems that a the moment there is only going to be two rooms in Stockport and with one being horror themed its unlikely we will be back to play another room but I am very tempted by the offering of rage rooms and might make use of them during stressful periods of work! The staff were friendly and I am sure given time, this will be a very successful venue.
Add it to your “to play list” if you are in the area. Pairs of players will have no issue with this game even those who a newer to the craze should be able to escape.
Customer Experience: 3.5 out of 5
Theming: 4 out of 5
Gameplay: 3.5 out of 5
Enjoyment: 3.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5