Nearly two weeks ago (I’ve been slacking on the review front!), we headed back to Make Your Escape in Derby, the home of “Spellbound“, a game that is still firmly in our all-time top ten. They’ve finally opened their new rooms, a pair called Dystopia and Utopia, that go hand in hand. Although they’re offered as a head to head experience, you can play both games in the normal style, with Dystopia recommended as your first. So, that’s where we started…
“Beyond the great dome of Utopia lies a desolate wasteland. Disease has ravaged the population, resources are scarce and, for those still managing to survive, life is hard.
Yet, long condemned to the darkness, the Dystopians have become resilient and determined. No longer will they accept their fate quietly and no longer will the advancements of Utopia benefit only the few.
Besides, they’ve made some advancements of their own and Utopia might just need them more than they realise.”
You start the game in the small entrance area of the Dystopia apartment block you’re moving into. They’ve nailed the theming, mixing together dated decor with post-apocalyptic rot. Once through into the main area, the game opens up, with more great theming. It’s still an apartment, but there’s much more of an industrial feel than you’d expect, and it looks as Dystopian as the story describes.
The gameplay was good, with some excellent, unique puzzles. There was a slight reset issue at the start of our game that caused around five minutes of disruption, but we had the clock reset, and after that point the flow was great. There’s plenty to work on seperately, as well as a team, and there are some lovely touches. We’ve seen quite a few CCTV based puzzles at different games recently, but the one they’ve installed here is by far my favourite – very clever!
Some good logic puzzles, observation, and physical processes mix together to make this a very fun game, in a realistic environment that weaves this Dystopian land right into the storyline.
Host: Our host was Evan who delivered a good brief, and was spot on with his clue timings.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen.
Success? Yes, we escaped in 49:49.
Fresh from our escape, we headed straight into the next part of the experience, Utopia…
“In an alternate time-line, the world is divided between those who have and those who have not. Utopia and Dystopia share a story and a past, separate yet intertwined, where perhaps not all is as it seems.
For those in Utopia, life is good and technologically advanced. Every need is catered for. Every wish fulfilled. Overseen by their benevolent government, the Utopians are protected from the outside dystopian world and the disease-ridden creatures that roam there.
As they strive to maintain perfect balance and harmony, will you be able to pass the selection process and begin your new Utopian life?”
Wow. There is such a huge contrast between the two rooms, with the Utopia/Dystopia divide executed perfectly. Utopia looks so modern, clean, and shiny. It’s definitely a beauty of a room, that only gets betters as you work your way through.
They’ve gone all out throwing technology into this room, which is the basis for a lot of the puzzles. Despite this, there’s still something different in there for everyone, with word puzzles, observation, skill and more.
The two main rooms in this game have some great centerpieces, with the final part of the game a big highlight. Specifically, I’d say it was a joy to complete the final 12 puzzles… (this will make more sense when you play!)
Overall, it was a pleasure to play this game. They’ve really hit the nail on the head when it comes to producing a unique, original room.
Both Dystopia and Utopia are great games, that despite being so closely related, are completely different with so many good puzzles. After how much we loved Spellbound, we definitely weren’t disappointed.
Host: Again, our host was Evan, who gave us well timed clues, and a good brief.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen in the room.
Success? Yes, we got out in 51:14
Facilities: Everything you’d expect, such as toilets & storage, as well as a free bottle of water for each game, which is always a nice touch.