Well, this is a tough review to write… Caged is a recently opened escape venue based on the top floor of Burnley’s rock-themed bar “Sanctuary”, and has launched with three available games Asylum, The Presence, and Escape to the Jungle.
Despite knowing very little about the company, (they don’t even have a website – probably should have been a warning sign!) we decided to play all three games…
I’d usually review each room separately, but the key points about each are all very similar, so instead I’ll give you a brief overview of the whole experience…
The theming in the rooms wasn’t bad at all. The Asylum seemed a little odd, as despite the story being based around your incarceration in an Asylum, the place was covered in fake blood and echoed the very loud sound effects of chainsaws. Probably not quite accurate to the location (how would you smuggle a chainsaw in?), but overall a decent effort. The Presence was set in a child’s bedroom – well furnished and quite creepy, and Escape to the Jungle looked quite good, although it was very dark.
Now, this is where the review goes very quickly downhill. The gameplay was quite honestly a nightmare, and not in a good “horror room” type way.
Very few puzzles made sense, with the game having absolutely no signposting or logic. You could try to complete something in as many different ways as you could think to try, but you’d still have to call the host in to explain it, and even then the solution is an absolutely bizarre, contrived choice.
But to top it all off, every single room used red herrings, usually a big no-no in escape games. I’m fine with the odd one here and there, but they actively warn you against them in the brief, referring to them as “randoms”. For example, in one room we had a four digit lock, and found a set of four items around the room with numbers on. We set about trying to work out the order they could possibly go in, before just trying them in all possible orders, only to be told after requesting help that they were “randoms”. This moved us onto the correct puzzle, which consisted of six items, only four of which were applicable. How do you eliminate the two? Is it part of the puzzle? No. They were all potentially useable, and you pretty much had to guess which two were “randoms”.
Even when “randoms” didn’t come into some of the puzzles, you still had absolutely no chance of working a lot of the game out, as it was one of the most nonsensical we’ve ever played.
Overall, these games are some of the worst we’ve played – definitely in my bottom ten. What makes this review difficult to write though are the people. When we’ve played poor games in the past, it’s felt like the staff couldn’t care less, and are one of the contributing factors to the negatives, but you couldn’t be further from the truth here. Our host was an absolutely lovely woman called Gaye, who was so, so welcoming and funny.
Despite that, I have to say to say that sadly, this is one to avoid.
Host: As mentioned above our host was Gaye, who was lovely and did a great job.
Clue System: To get a clue, you had to send a text or call a number from a mobile in the room, which would get the host to come into the room. It’s also worth noting that there were no cameras or microphones in the room, so you had to explain what you was stuck on each time.
Success? Yes, we escaped each of the rooms, but I’m unsure of the times. All I know is we had a LOT of clues.
As far as I know, no other bloggers have played here yet, as it’s always interesting to read if our experiences match up, but some enthusiasts we know did play a couple of days after, and did feed back to us a very similar tale. Sadly, not reviewers so I can’t link.