Published on November 2nd, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escape Reading – Kidnapped
Escape Reading isn’t just what dyslexic kids tried to do in primary school, it’s also an escape game based out of a large town in Berkshire. I’m opening the review with a pun because it’s a pretty hard game to write about. Here is how the website sets it up:
“You wake up in a small darkened room. Nobody can clearly remember it all seems so blurry.
You realise you have been Kidnapped.”
That’s it, that’s the entire plot, with the exception that the guy who kidnapped you will probably be back in 60 minutes to do something awful.
The opening is very much on that theme – you’re in a dark room that looks like a prison. But you won’t be there for long. It’s not just a transition to “the serial killer’s lair” either. The game quickly develops and in fact goes through two very differently themed rooms before you make your final escape. But to give those away would be something of a spoiler. Needless to say, while being distinct they all make sense in the story and actually help to add a real sense of plot and feeling of immersion.
To talk more in generalities, those rooms get stronger as you progress. The initial prison is somewhat uninspired with fairly straight-forward puzzles, but the next section is a significant step up in both size and puzzle quality. It also adds in a pretty neat mechanic that creates a sense of urgency mid-game that I’ve not seen before. Often when discovering a new space in the middle of the game, it’s a chance to relax a little and take some time to explore and gain a comprehension of your new space. This flips that on its head and demands you do a specific thing immediately, which really shakes things up. The final section of the game is the best looking and most impressive of the three environments, and also ups the ante in terms of cool toys to play with. Indeed, it has the best use of neat gadgets working as parts of puzzles that I’ve seen for this theme.
That’s about all I can say about the room. It’s really pretty good, and is certainly better than most “you’ve been kidnapped” games I’ve played, but much of that is through not being afraid to mix up that concept and deliver something very different.
One other notable thing about Escape Reading is they have a small game set up in the reception area that takes around 5 minutes to play through, based around exploring and opening all the locks and compartments on a desk. It’s not going to win any awards: it really is just “search thing, get code, enter code, search new thing” but it’s a clever way to introduce people to exactly what to expect from an escape game, and also to how those different types of locks work without a long and boring demonstration from the host. It’s such a smart idea I’m surprised more venues haven’t stolen it!
Result – we escaped in around 39 minutes
Date played: 17 September 2017
Team: Dean, Sera, Sharon
Summary: A really good, strong game that's hard to talk about as so much of what's good is in the reveals. Worth playing.