Published on November 14th, 2017 | by Dean Love1
Escape 60, Folkestone – Zombie Apocalypse
Sometimes you’re just not in the right headspace to give a fair opinion a game, so be wary and take this review with a pinch of salt. On our way over from Ashford to Folkestone we ended up in stationary traffic, with some frantic Googling suggesting we’d be stuck for around 4 hours, which would basically knock out the rest of our day: this game and another two after it. We ended up getting lucky somehow, and the traffic started moving again and we were only delayed by around half an hour. Cue a mad dash out of the car to find Escape 60 and the quickest briefing ever.
I’m not sure what to think about how the company handled our delay. Obviously they can’t just delay the game indefinitely, as there will be more groups following you, but – along with offering to reschedule for a different date – Escape 60 took the somewhat interesting approach of just starting the clock while we were still a few miles away, at the latest possible time the game could start. Now, logistically that’s the right approach. We were half an hour late, there’s 15 minutes grace / briefing time and then anything after that eats into your game time. Sensible. But there’s a certain psychological difference to just getting in late and being told “okay, you’ll only have 40 minutes for the game, but we’ll try and help you along a bit, off you go” and arriving there and seeing the clock already at 43:52 and jumping right in. Obviously being late was totally on us, it just felt like an odd way to handle it. Amusingly, with the first 15 minutes of our game spent travelling in a car, that makes Zombie Apocalypse the biggest game in the country!
Once in the room proper we then proceeded to rush through with a level of panic that’s actually quite befitting of the theme if a bit at odds with our regular, calmer approach. In case you hadn’t guessed from the title, the theme is that there has been a zombie apocalypse, and you need to find a cure. Cue slightly spooky abandoned lab with a bunch of zombie noises to freak you out a bit.
It looks the part, and continues to get more impressive as you progress through a sizable space. Generally the puzzles are good, though it’s a lot of finding codes and keys to use in locks. I’m normally not hyper-critical of that approach, but it stands out here because, as mentioned, the set design is pretty good; it looks enough like a lab that security consisting of bulky metal locks seems out of place.
There were a couple of missteps with the puzzles. In one case a key was hidden very high up in the room. I could have just spotted it had I looked from the right angle, but anyone shorter than me (including my team mates) would have had no chance. And I don’t want to run my hand along the high shelves in my own flat, never mind in someone elses’ escape room.
There was also a puzzle that required using a very fiddly device to try and do something, and it’s one of those awkward ones where you’re not even sure that what you’re trying to do is possible. (Indeed, we gave up a few times before being nudged back towards it.) Coming right towards the end it sort of dampened things a bit, as we were convinced there was something else we must need to do, but instead we just had to figure out this device.
But overall it’s a solid room – the set is good, and the puzzles inoffensive, if rarely crossing the line into interesting. Worth playing
Result – we escaped in 29 minutes
Date played: 23 September 2017
Team: Dean, Sera, Sharon
Summary: An unremarkable game that's worth playing if you're in the area.