Published on May 22nd, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escape This Room: London Bank Heist
This is a pop-up game, and if you’re reading this the day it goes up, you only have a week to get to play it, as it closes on 27 May 2017
I know why it’s called Escape This Room – because the nomenclature is “escape room” – but I still find it funny when a new company come along with a single where you’re not actually trying to escape a room at all. Indeed, most of this game is spend trying to break in to a bank vault.
It’s a very theatrical game – right from the start you ring the door bell and are greeted in character, before being led into the first part of the game. You’ll get changed into maintenance outfits, which fits with your cover story of being repairmen and adds to the aesthetics of the game, although they’re only available in large and extra large which wasn’t ideal for our team: as you can see from the photo, the large was about the right fit for me but my teammates could probably have both fit in to a single one!
You’re then contacted via video call (with genuine Skype sound effects) by your handler, who briefs you on your real task: breaking into the vault. Screens and video calls are used a lot throughout the game, both for the delivery of clues and for progressing the plot, which happens as you move into each different part of the game. On that topic, the game is fairly compartmentalised: you take very few things with you from one room to the next and most rooms have their own video briefing at the start. It both creates a neat sense of progression and exploration, and takes away some of the feeling of unguided exploration. That’s likely something that will frustrate and delight in equal measure, but likely a necessity for such a strongly narrative-driven game.
On the whole the puzzles are pretty strong, and tend to be based on real world things rather than “random code into random lock” logic. Albeit when I say “real world” logic I probably mean “heist movie” logic. It does that so well that I was genuinely confused by a puzzle at the end which required just randomly using two elements together to produce a solution: we only tried it out of desperation and were surprised when it worked. And where it reuses a few puzzles I’ve seen elsewhere, it includes some interesting little twists on them.
The game builds to an impressive finale, although the story doesn’t actually go anywhere interesting. It’s a weird criticism as the stories in most escape games don’t, but when a game puts so much effort into presenting that storyline so strongly, it’s almost a shame not to have a little more to it.
Nevertheless this was a really fun room that made a couple of mis-steps but finishes strongly and it’s worth playing to see how well an (albeit basic) story can be told in an escape game.
Result – we escaped with around ten minutes to spare
Date played: 14 May 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: A game that ups the theatrical element while offering solid puzzles and creating a neat bank vault adventure.