Published on December 8th, 2017 | by Dean Love1
Escape Quest, Macclesfield – Curious Encounters
Curious Encounters is the oldest space at Escape Quest, but has recently had the entire game redesigned and re-implemented. If you played this game before 2017, you’ll have played in the same physical space, but it will have been an entirely different game. I can’t speak for the old version, but the game as it stands now is certainly worth your time.
The objective this time is to fix a time machine and rescue the missing professor, but this is closer to steampunk or Jules Verne than Star Trek, with the game taking place in an old antiques shop. With a time machine in it, of course. (Let’s not worry about the fact that, if time travel is possible, antique shops don’t really have a business model anymore.)
The game takes place over a fairly large area, and it looks the part. “An antique shop” might not sound like the most ambitious build, but a lot of effort and expense has been put in to giving it a luxurious feeling. It’s not just a bunch of old items dumped into a barely decorated room. They’ve gone for a more high-end aesthetic and have nailed it. It’s rare I talk about the soundtrack of a game, but this one stood out as a soundtrack that actually contributed to creating the theme and aesthetic, rather than just being something vaguely appropriate picked after the fact.
It’s a game that involves a lot of movement around the space: you’ll unlock access to new areas, but you’ll constantly be moving back and forth between these and the starting area, which gives it a dynamic feel. There’s a lot of linearity to it, but it feels really open. You quickly learn that your task can be divided into two parts: gather all the time crystals, and find the correct date to travel to. This breaks the game down quite well, and lets you keep track of your own progress. And figuring out how to actually use these things once you have them is a task of its own that also serves to create a nice finale to the game.
The puzzles themselves were strong. Much like Amazon Escape, there was a lot of reliance on combination locks, but not to quite the same extent and the setting meant they felt less out of place than they did in the Amazon. Though there was still often the requirement to try codes in multiple locks to track down the correct one. Some of the puzzles were exceptional, with a fun musical puzzle (and I normally hate music puzzles so that’s high praise) that left one of my teammates complaining that “the violin didn’t play properly”. The puzzles are generally quite logical and cerebral, though there are a few fun things to play with, including one prop that forces you into some interesting decisions.
Overall this a great game that nails the setting and theme and provides a really nice environment to be solving puzzles in for an hour.
Result – we escaped in 51 minutes
Date played: 4 November 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: A fun adventure of time travel, antiques, and slightly broken violins.