We ended our second day at The Panic Room with a game we’d heard very, very good things about since it was a temporary pop-up game at Clockwork Dog. Saved from closure by The Panic Room, it’s now housed at their largest location, and it was something we’d been excited to play all day.
“Are you ready to enter the unknown? Be the first to test a pioneering new technology, in an experiment that will change the course of human history.
Welcome to Frontier Engineering — a private research and development company working on nuclear transmutation, quantum tunnels and the applications of dark energy. We are seeking teams of 2-5 to undertake a one hour trial at our new workshop facility.
Teams must be capable of lateral thinking, problem-solving, and enduring the most difficult scientific paradoxes. You will be faced with concepts that push beyond the limits of human understanding… so bring your thinking cap.
You will not regret joining us.”
The theming is as clinical and high-tech looking as the brief suggests, and Frontier Engineering feels like a very real thing. The room is filled with really interesting looking gadgets, and despite being relatively small, is initially a little overwhelming.
The gameplay is fantastic once you’ve got into it. Bar the first puzzle not being 100% clear, everything else was a joy to play. Every task had a half “aaahhh”, half “wow” moment as things became clearer, and the vast majority of puzzles were things we’d never seen before, and were very innovative.
It’s the killer twist to the game at the halfway point that really completes the game though. It’s such a crazy, unique idea, and I have no idea how this was ever thought of. It’s seriously genius, and it’s implemented so well. The pressure in the second half is the most unique pressure I’ve ever felt.
A room can’t just rely on a good, secret twist to be a winner though. The overall gameplay has to back it up, and as with Curio at Escapologic Nottingham, it does so solidly. This is a properly good game and one that goes right into my top five, something which is a big compliment considering we found a “150 Rooms” trophy in the room! (Thanks again, guys!)
For the first time in many, many months, this game has made me bring out the “Lock Us Up: Must Play” stamp, something we only award to the very, very best games that you absolutely can’t miss. In this case, it’s very well deserved. A stunning twist, genius puzzles, and an excellent, immersive set up. Loop is not to be missed.
Host: Our host was owner Alex. Perfect introduction, hints and hosting.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a little bleepy device you carried around with you. Actually one of my favourite clue systems I’ve used.
Success? Yes, we completed the game in 50:21, and averted the time paradox (you’ll get what this means once you’ve played it) by 9:09