Published on September 18th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Canterbury Escape Room – Jail Escape
It’s perhaps no surprise that, in a city as steeped in history as Canterbury, that two of its rooms leverage both historical locations and themes. The first we played may not have had the most imaginative set up: you’re taken back to the 15th century, have been charged with treason and will be executed at sunrise. And would you believe it: sunrise is exactly one hour away.
I often talk about “physicality” in a game – which is a catch-all term for basically anything that can make you a bit short on breath. Lifting, crawling, pedaling or so on. Escape Canterbury throws in a bunch of this while also having a game that plays out over a fairly sizable space. Just to give you an idea of what’s involved: we reached the final part of the game and got a bit stuck. We heard a noise signalling that a clue had been sent through, but clues were shown on a screen, and the only screen was back in the first room. There was a brief pause as no-one really fancied the trek to the first room and back again to read it! That’s not a criticism, but rather a fairly neat moment – that a room could actually make going to retrieve a clue something of a challenge. Having said that you probably will want to have at least one person in your team who is fairly mobile.
You’ll start the game in a fairly small space, with your movement somewhat restricted (but done safely and not uncomfortably, for once) as you try and pick your way out of this prison cell. There’s not much story to it: it’s an “escape room” in the most classic of senses: you just have to escape. The continual forward motion and discover of new spaces over this large playing area really adds to the that feeling, and the room looks pretty impressive – a jail cell might not be a hard thing to make look right, but the period nature of it adds an interesting twist on the design.
Speaking of twists, the other thing that stood out about this game were the twists on puzzles that would otherwise have seemed rote or boring. There’s a genuinely good puzzle involving a blacklight at one point, and a finale that plays out really well, metaphorically throwing you in one direction before pushing you back in another. There was one puzzle that stood out for the wrong reasons though, which just had too many possible solutions – or rather, the “solution” was easy enough to figure out, but there were multiple ways to order it. It’s the sort of puzzle that you’ll never solve without a clue or blind luck.
It’s also a game that features lots of locks – obviously more advanced technology wouldn’t make sense given the theme, but then combination locks aren’t really historically accurate either!
Overall a terrific game that’s well worth playing if you’re in Canterbury.
Result – we escaped in 43.5 minutes
Date played: 11 August 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Steph
Summary: A strongly physical game, with some quite traditional puzzles and trappings, but elevated by the way manages to twist some of these in to something new.