I went with the boss, and another local escape room owner, to play a couple of new-ish rooms in Huddersfield to see what they were like.
I hadn’t heard good things, in all honesty. So I was expecting bad things. And things were bad. Maybe not as bad as I had expected, but still pretty ropey. People have told me about the rooms, and the general consensus is that the owner’s a nice guy. Which he seemed to be, but when you just hear about the owner you have to wonder about the rooms…
There were puzzles that required huge leaps of logic, furniture that just moved if you tried to open things and stuff just looked tired. And it’s only been open for about six months or so. It was one of those places that makes you pleased to work where you work, but also that you could far exceed that with any room plans you’re currently working on.
There were two rooms we played – a haunted house with a missing documentary team (an almost carbon copy plotline to a room Carole and I played at Moviescape, even down to a skeleton in the wardrobe) and an entirely ripped off Stranger Things themed room which didn’t even pretend to be something else inspired by Stranger Things. It just was Stranger Things. But, you know, unofficially. In case the lawyers are watching.
Playing one room helped to identify the puzzle types in the other, as there were many repeated themes or ideas.
My favourite thing had to be the magnet maze which had almost zero maze properties to it whatsoever. You find the stuff, you read the blurb, you look again because surely you’ve missed some directions. No, you just move from one end of the table to the other. That’s it. Just dodge a few things which were stuck on the table anyway, so you had to avoid them.
I think the haunted house was better than the Stranger Things room, but even then I’d be heaping too much praise on something which was looking like it was falling apart already. There was so much that could have been done. Even just fixing things to the walls would have made a difference. But instead if you went to pull on something that was locked or screwed shut, the whole unit would slide across the floor. And also, cupboard doors that won’t stay shut in a room that is dark – with two torches regardless of team size – is a bit of a shin-basher.
But hey, we set two records. We’re top of the leaderboards in both rooms. Smashing the previous times by several minutes.
And, I have to say without putting too much air into my own trumpet, that’s partly due to me making wild leaps of logic – particularly in the Stranger Things room when some of the clues were so obscure that you expected to open the next thing and find some straw inside that you’d then be asked to clutch at.