Published on May 17th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escapologic, Nottingham – Contraption
We’d heard such good things about Escapologic, hence a Nottingham trip to play five of their games, starting with their very first: Contraption. Or Con-trap-tion as it’s styled in the logo. And it was good. It was fine. It was al-righ-t.
It’s a relatively small room, with the conceit being that you’re locked in an old laboratory, so the dusty, somewhat worn appearance is appropriate, even if it makes you wonder if it was always that way. The props are good, interesting and on-theme but the rest of the decoration is just average. It’s also very dark to start with, and it took us a good while and a clue to figure out how to improve the lighting situation. It requires doing something quite counter-intuitive – and ironically it might be something I would have done at a venue I had less confidence in – but that coupled with the somewhat delicate-seeming nature of much of the room, hitting every possible switch never really occurred to us. For better or for worse, we were allowed to get quite far in the game before being given a hint as to what to do to illuminate the room more clearly.
The room has a covered item in the middle, and if you’re anything like us removing that cover will be the first thing you do, and you see the object that will form the center of many of your interactions with room. Everything else spins out from that object, and it does create a neat structure to the room, but at the cost of making it feel a tad repetitive (especially if you’re playing with just two people, as we were).
The puzzles themselves are fine, though nothing hugely original. We struggled in a few places, and at one point were confused for a while: we were told in the briefing that there was something in the room that we might thing was broken, but wasn’t, we just had to work out how to use it correctly. So when we found an object with a tag on it that said pretty much the same thing but in a slightly different way, we figured it was just that. Whereas in fact the tag meant something else entirely and was a more significant clue to what we should have been doing. And once we had it figured out it created a fairly long, arduous process to actually get the answers we needed. Though again, a lot of that was down to playing with just players – it did feel like a puzzle that ideally needed four people working together.
The hint system was pretty different, with a board with various words on it lighting up in order to provide clues (such as “LOOK UP LEFT”), which was pretty neat. And we were fed clues at appropriate moments (though again, would have preferred a clue for getting the lights on much earlier!). Like many of the Escapologic rooms, there’s also no clock in the room so you don’t actually know how close you are to failure, which was a bit weird.
Unlike the other Escapologic games, there’s also no great finale or stand-out puzzle at the end. You just solve the final puzzle and get out. It’s a decent enough game, and certainly not unenjoyable, but there’s at least four better games at the same premises which makes it tough to recommend.
Result – we escaped in around 50 minutes, though as there’s no clock it’s hard to know for sure
Date played: 30 Apr 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine
Summary: A good room with an interesting structure but little else to make it stand out, and a few frustrating bits.