Monosphere (Trapp’d Northampton)

Game Date: 29th February 2020
Game Number: 44
Price for Two: £49/£39 Peak/Off Peak (Note I played as a group of 5)

Game Overview
After a monotonous 9 to 5 shift, you get home and look around, deciding that you need a change so you call up a few friends and arrange to do something exciting. How about that new ‘escape room’ thingy that just opened near the town? The posters look stimulating and it’s had great reviews! Everyone agrees that it’s a good idea so you decide to book in and a few days later you are standing in the blackened void that is the Trapp’d reception eagerly waiting.

You have decided to try ‘The Monosphere’ room which promises to be a crazy, mind-bending psychoactive experience all rolled into one fascinating room. What you don’t realise, however, is that the government are actually using this room to test a new form of mind-modification to try and create the ‘perfect utopia’ within society – a sort of brain-washing totalitarian epidemic, if you will. Anyone who attempts this ‘escape room’ unconsciously falls into a passive stupor of compliance and conformity. Do not let this be you! Figure out a way to escape without alerting anyone to your recognition of the untold activities being performed within this room. Trapp’d in with 60 minutes to escape! before you lose your mind!

Arrival and Introduction
A slightly different game this time round as it was party of my stag weekend activities. We were a party of 10 and split over two rooms, which are the only two rooms at this branch of Trapp’d. Its a rather small reception area compared to some of the other venues I have been to, but I guess that with only two rooms you do not need a massive space! we arrived slightly early just as another couple of teams were leaving which caused a bit of confusion but eventually managed to split into our two teams and chose the rooms we would be tackling. As the only player with more than 5 rooms completed, we took on the harder of the two rooms. We had a joint briefing given before we headed into our room, the other room was booked for 30mins later but was ready and the team allowed us to enter and pretty much the same time to add an extra level of competition.

*Mild Spoiler* This room starts by being led into the room blindfolded and we some pretty intense strobe lighting so I would advise speaking to the venue if this is an issue. *Spoiler Ends*

The puzzles in this room were novel, and there were few using technology and science that I had never seen before which is always a positive. Light became a factor fairly early on within this room and has always been a source of frustration for me as there are very few themes that require such lighting – more often it is done just for added difficulty. I am in two minds whether the darkness was needed in this room and, if it were up to me, I would have added a couple more puzzles to increase the difficulty, as the quantity of the puzzles was certainly lacking.

*Mild Spoiler* One thing that did annoy me was the location of one item that was hidden away in the room. Part of escape room health and safety is not hiding anything near to something that is not part of the environment of the room eg lights, sockets, heaters etc. To me this item was hidden to close to something that is not part of the room and many experienced teams would need clues to find it as they would have dismissed the area next to the item as part of the room. *Spoiler Ends*

The theme lived up to the brief well and was one of the more unique rooms that I have played, however, the story promised in the outline, was overly present within the room. Whilst the puzzles linked together well, with good flow from one to the next, there was no real connection between the story and puzzles.

We escaped just a minute outside of the months record time with 26 minutes left on the clock. We took 2 clues from our game master – one for a search fail mentioned above and one for a really stupid mistake on my part that I am still kicking myself for missing. These came via voice over within the room. N.B There are no screens in the room so make sure you take a watch if, like me, you like knowing how long you have left.

A unique game that was certainly enjoyed but not without its shortcomings. The other team took twenty minutes more to escape their room which was down to the amount of searching needed in the Mine (according to our GM its quite a search heavy room). Our room was almost entirely linear so at times, members of our team were at a loose end whilst the other worked on a puzzles and so I would recommend taking a small team – a pair is fine if you have played a couple of games before. Given the search heavy nature of the mine room, perhaps more is better. The staff were friendly and ran both rooms well.

This was the second Trapp’d room I have played and my experiences so far would definitely not stop me playing more.

Customer Experience: 3.5 out of 5
Theming: 4 out of 5
Gameplay: 3 out of 5
Enjoyment: 3.5 out of 5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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