Published on December 7th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escape Quest, Macclesfield – Amazon Escape
Amazon Escape was the first of four games we played at Escape Quest. It’s an interesting venue: despite four different games, they only ever run one game at a time, so you get the full attention of the staff (also the owners). It’s an odd choice that appears to be an purposeful decision based on the sort of service they want to offer – there’s certainly enough room in the lobby and space around the games to comfortably cater for two teams if they wanted, but this seems to work for them, and it’s certainly to the benefit of the player.
Amazon Escape was also the oldest of the four designs we played, and to be frank, it sort of showed. There’s nothing horrendously bad about it, and a few nice touches, but overall it sorts of plods along. You mission is to escape a tribe of cannibals before they return and eat you, although the game isn’t as dark as that might suggest: either in terms of the story (which is mostly played for laughs) or the actual light level in the room. Indeed, I was expecting a dark and gloomy Amazonian forest with the trees blotting out the sun, but instead it’s bright and airy and… covered in sand. Yeah I’m not sure how exactly that’s meant to be the Amazon either, still it makes it look good and gives it an almost Crystal Maze Aztec-zone feeling. Apparently there was a lot more sand in it at one point, but they’ve had to cut back. Hard to source in the Amazon I guess.
So it looks decent, and does a good job of feeling like a large open area. It does use the common escape room trick of having a second area you gain access to part way through the game, but that area is visible from the start. The overall playing space is actually quite small, though there’s a lot packed in. The only thing that really looks out of place are… all the padlocks. There are a lot of combination locks in this game. A lot. I’m generally more tolerant of padlocks than many other reviewers out there but this game even had me questioning the need to have quite so many. There were multiple points where opening one box would just reward you with another box with another combination lock, and many situations where we were trying codes in three or four different locks to find which one was correct. It’s not an unforgivable sin, but it can get a bit tiresome.
Luckily the puzzles involved in finding the codes are a lot more interesting. It’s a very tactile room with plenty to poke, prod, pick up and play with. Careful observation of everything in the game is needed to solve many of the puzzles, and is responsible for the few places where we got stuck. There are also a few straight up riddles with one-word answers for solving letter locks. Clues are delivered via screen and were given at appropriate points.
Overall, it’s a solid game that just feels a bit dated, and perhaps also suffers in comparison to the other games at Escape Quest, as it lacks both the maturity of design and the interesting stand-out features of the other games. It’s worth playing, but I’d play their other games first. And because of their one-game-at-a-time policy, you’re never going to be in a position where this is the only one available.
Result – we escaped in 51 minutes
Date played: 4 November 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: A solid offering but nothing spectacular.