Escape Quest in Macclesfield has been closed for more than a year and a half – in part due to the pandemic, but also because they were undertaking a huge new project. They weren’t just moving to a new venue, but also creating something very special inside of it.
The new venue is finally open, for now with just one game. Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe is the first game to open at the new venue, and is carried over from the previous location, where it was known as Curious Encounters. It’s been given a major revamp, with the Curiosity Shoppe now located on the mysterious Chapel Street…
“Mr Copplestone aka “The Professor” is an inventor. His greatest invention is the world’s first time machine, built so he could travel through space and time to find interesting objects and life saving potions to sell in his curiosity shoppe.
Trials of the time machine have been taking place for many years and thanks to the brave testers, some who were unfortunately lost along the way, Mr Copplestone had a fully working and reliable time machine. Until…
Today something went wrong!
Mr Copplestone stepped into the time machine and set it to his required destination, all seemed to be working as usual. He pulled the switch to activate it and with a loud bang and a puff of smoke he was gone. The time machine’s vital equipment exploded and scattered into pieces around the shoppe.
As a failsafe measure Mr Copplestone had set an emergency portal to open in the future, which would allow rescuers to enter through it and into his Shoppe. The portal should have opened inside the institute of quantum mechanics Moscow, clearly this also went wrong, as the portal has opened here in Escape Quest!
Enter through the portal and into 1873, find out where the professor went, fix and then programme the time machine correctly and bring him back. The time entry vortex looks weak and I’d say you only have about an hour before it closes! If that happens Mr Copplestone will be lost in space and time. This would mean that time machines will never be invented and cause the portal and everything inside it to be instantly vaporised.
Can you save him?”
There’s absolutely nothing to worry about if you’ve played the previous version of the game – from the second you start, it’s obvious that this is pretty much an entirely new experience.
Curiosity Shoppe is now part of a group of games known as the ‘Chapelgate Mysteries‘, described on Escape Quest’s website as a series of games that “are all set during different periods of time on the fictional Chapel Street, in the Chapelgate district of a mysterious town.”
It’s an incredibly unique concept that means there’s some crossover between the games that will eventually open, as part of the set will be utilised multiple times for different games in different ways. It’s hard to go into too much detail without going into spoiler territory.
However, as the description says, the games take place on Chapel Street, and incredibly, Escape Quest have built an actual street, on which you’ll find the Curiosity Shoppe.
The set design is superb – so much detail has gone into the build, and it felt like a magical, immersive space to play within. What’s even more impressive is that the entire game, as with previous rooms, has been designed and built by just Elaine and Mike alone.
The game takes place partly on the amazing Chapel Street, and then in the new Curiosity Shoppe itself. The shop is filled with all sorts of eye-catching props and antiques. On it’s own it’s a beautiful set, but combined with Chapel Street outside it’s the perfect setup.
The gameplay is very open, and lends itself to larger teams going off in their own directions and taking on whatever puzzles they fancy. The challenge isn’t to escape the room in 60 minutes, but collect as many crystals as possible in that time.
The variety of puzzles was spot on. Some felt quite easy, while others were more complex and time consuming. Everything clicked into place though, with the puzzles being very satisfying to solve.
While I mentioned the game is great for larger teams, it works very well for smaller ones too. As always, we played as a team of two – it did feel at times like we went off and played two separate solo games, although we did at times come together for anything that required some more thought.
Overall, the new version of Curiosity Shoppe has been worth the wait. It’s been more than three years since Escape Quest’s last new room ‘House of Illusion’ – at the time, we were amazed that Elaine and Mike had managed to build a gorgeous theatre, but they’ve absolutely blown it out of the water with the new Chapel Street set. We’re already very excited for our next visit to the street to play the next games to open.
While the game is at a new location with a much bigger set and a whole new idea, all of the classic Escape Quest hallmarks are there – the quaint design, the well thought out puzzles, and plenty of humour running through everything. This is a definite must play.
Host: As always our game was hosted by Elaine & Mike. It was lovely to see them again after so long. You’ll always get a friendly welcome and a well-ran game at Escape Quest.
Success? Yes, we made it back to the time machine at the end of the 60 minutes, having collected 18 crystals.