Published on September 6th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
The Escapement, Margate – Egyptian Exodus
I guess it’s appropriate for a game in a seaside town like Margate to be covered in sand, to the point of giving you the option to play barefoot if that’s your thing.
The tons of sand is the first thing you’ll notice about Egyptian Exodus, the second is the rest of the set: it’s a stunning set up, more movie set than typical escape room, making it a lovely place to be puzzling for an hour. You’re attempting to find the missing canopic jars and lift the curse of Anubis, which is both on-theme and provides a handy way of tracking your progress through the game, with each strand of puzzles delivering a jar at the end of it.
There’s good attention to historical detail too. I don’t think it’s spoiling too much to say that in an Egyptian themed room, you’ll be deciphering some hieroglyphs at some point. What’s impressive is that you’re actually reading real hieroglyphs, albeit somewhat fudged. One of our team being an Egyptologist let us get a bit of a jump on those puzzles, which was certainly unexpected.
There’s a good mix of puzzles, with the vast majority being very strong. One was just a little bit too ambiguous, which caused a fair amount of frustration. In that case we felt like we were missing the tools to accurately make a measurement. Similarly the game involves quite a few puzzles with multiple steps but there’s no way to take notes (well, short of drawing in the sand) which is odd as pencil and paper would not be out of place – thus those puzzles take on a certain memory-test element. On top of that, clues are given from a “colleague” shouting down through a hole in the ceiling. Except it’s not the host, it’s a pre-recorded voice, which obviously limits the clues that can be offered to those that have been recorded. In this case, we needed nudging to do one thing but instead just got the same clue over and over again telling us what we had wrong, but not how to fix it. Couple that with the lack of pen and paper and the aforementioned ambiguous puzzle and we ended up with a good ten minutes of frustration.
Tellingly though, that’s the only frustrating bit in the entire game. There’s another bit that stumped us for a while as it requires you to do something that could only be verified by the “eyes of god” – that is, the host watching on a screen to see if you do it, then manually triggering the relevant effect (the opening of a door or such). That’s not a technique I’m opposed to, but up until that point the game had been entirely automated (or at least, given the impression of being automated) so we weren’t expecting it. Hence it took a while (and a nudge from the host) to figure out what we actually needed to do. If the “eyes of god” are used it’s generally helpful for them to be used in a simple puzzle early on to clue the players into the fact that it’s on the table. Else it feels a bit like the rules are changing mid-game.
But these are minor gripes around an otherwise fantastic game. Generally the hints we got worked, and the puzzles made sense and were pitched at a sensible level – and they tend towards the more cerebral than mechanical side of things. It’s apparently possible to play the room on “extreme” mode and get even harder puzzles, but I’d perhaps suggest that’s not necessary even for more experienced players.
The game comes to a fun and satisfying ending which gives a nice sense of accomplishment too. All-in-all a very strong game.
Result – we escaped in 51 minutes
Date played: 10 August 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Steph
Summary: A superb set to accompany a superb game, well worth checking out.