NOTE: This game has since reopened under new management, and the below review is no longer fully accurate.
This is the first time we’ve gone to a new game centre that previously hosted another escape game company, and it’s fascinating to see just how much has changed. Gone has the plush reception area of Trapped In (which has moved from Ela Mill to Carne House), to be replaced by the damp looking, dingy, industrialised entrance area of Time Race. The place has been changed completely, with the only thing of note left behind being the ceiling tiles from Trapped In’s “Time Machine” game, now creating the backdrop behind the reception desk.
The new place looks great, but does the first game “Vault 17” live up to the expectations set by the reception area?
“It was 30 years ago that the first bomb dropped. The war lasted just 18 days. You were lucky…you made it to Vault 17. In the Vault, generations have been born and raised in the dark. Vault 17 has become your home.
That was at least until today. The Vault’s final power core has decayed so far that the Vault scientists believe that there’s only 60 minutes of power left. If you and your team don’t take the risk and make it to the wasteland, the Vault will become your tomb, as the Vault door is too heavy to manually operate. Will you make it out in time?”
Vault 17 looks fantastic. So much detail has gone into this room’s design, and every room we opened had something unique in there. The immersiveness was high, with nothing looking out of place or “escape-gamey”. The set is very high quality, but can get pretty dirty – luckily, you’re given the option to pull on a branded “Vault 17” boiler suit before entering.
In terms of game play, it’s very linear and packed with lots of complex, but enjoyable puzzles. This room is advertised as being a proper challenge, and we can see why. None of the puzzles were simple – we needed a bit of help now and then, but everything in there does make sense. It just takes a while to get your head around it! Unfortunately, the amount of things to do in the room means you can’t have a while. This room is filled with some great, unique ideas, and was a lot of fun to play, but there’s a chance there’s a few too many great, unique ideas.
Daniel was our game host and the creator of Vault 17, and he was very keen to get feedback, having already made some changes based on the feedback of other players. It’s clear he’s still fine tuning this game, and I think with a few more minor changes, and either increasing the time limit or removing some puzzles, he’s got a perfect game on his hands. Until then, you’ve got a fun, immersive trip through a Vault, that might not be quite escapable, but is certainly enjoyable. We’re looking forward to returning very soon to play The Invitation.
Host: As mentioned above, our host was Daniel, the creator of the game. He’s very passionate about what he does, and it was a pleasure to talk to him about all things escape game. He told us about his plans for future games, and he’s got some brilliant ideas.
Clue System: Clues were delivered by the vault’s answer to Siri – Lex! A fun way of getting clues, but sometimes hard to understand.
Success? Not even close! The only team to so far escape from this game did it in 90 minutes during the testing phase. I’d say we probably needed another 20 minutes having been shown what we’d have had to do from the point we got to.