After playing ‘The Celestial Chain’ at Time Run, we very quickly jumped onto the overground to make it to our second of three games in time – Secret Studio! One thing you’ll notice about Secret Studio’s website is that they don’t give an exact address – this really is a secret studio.
After booking, you receive an email that gives you some fun directions to find their exact door (think counting how many steps you take down a street etc.), as well as a secret phrase to say into the intercom when you find it. Chucking in some simple but effective immersion before you’ve even arrived at the venue adds so much to the experience. But how would the game live up to its pre-arrival theatre?
“Beneath the dark streets of London Town lies an old film studio, lost in time, waiting for you to release its secrets. Once locked inside Secret Studio you’ll have just 60 minutes to solve its fiendish puzzles and escape. Stay calm, keep your wits about you and you might just escape the cutting room floor!”
There’s not much of a story on their website, but as stories go, I found myself getting easily engrossed into this one during the brief. They’ve set up a great story, and it’s not at all forgotten about once the game starts – it’s perfectly woven into the experience and gameplay.
As we stepped into the game, there was a slightly underwhelming feel. To be fair, the game starts in an office, and we’d just played a stunning game at Time Run, so this was never going to wow us. However, after a few moments of looking around, the room isn’t as bland as it might first seem. There are some excellent props and bits of technology that fit the room perfectly, adding a touch of vintage and realism to the game. In fact, there’s a lot to take in, despite the relatively small space.
The second half of the room takes place in a much more atmospheric setting, that by this point in the game will feel very relevant. The theming was lovely, giving a creepy feel and just a touch of nerves.
In terms of gameplay, there are some very clever puzzles. A lot of what you do in the game is completely unique, and there is one activity in particular that really puts the icing on the cake. Forget automation and spoon feeding – there is something that you are required to do as you would in the real world that we’d not done before, and it’s an absolutely lovely touch.
The finale of the game is brilliant. It’s hard to describe it without giving anything away, but there is a twist in the gameplay that added some very funny moments to our experience – you might react differently!
To note, this isn’t a horror game in the slightest. There were a couple of slight jump scares in the room, but as someone who hates playing scary games, it really wasn’t much of a bother.
Overall, this is a very fun, unique experience. It’s not a game that packs big “wow” moments, but is instead a room that builds up an overall feel that ties you into a bizarre story, while providing you with enjoyable, excellent puzzles. If you’re planning a London escape trip, we can definitely recommend Secret Studio as an option.
Host: Our host was Antonia who told the story of Secret Studio before the game perfectly, properly reeling us into the scenario. Once in the game, she gave us perfectly timed clues and pushes.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen.
Success? Yes, we escaped in 53:02