Published on December 21st, 2017 | by Dean Love1
Extremescape, Disley – Lost Tomb
The newer of the two rooms at Extremescape, this instantly felt like a step up from our first game on the Pirate Ship. This time you’re hunting down some hidden gold in an ancient tomb, and it’s a game of two halves: first, get into the tomb. Then, in true Lara Croft fashion, raid it.
Disley is certainly an interesting location for an escape game. A small village on the edge of the Peak District, the drive up from Derby was probably the most visually impressive trip we’ve ever have to an escape room. Certainly one to visit in the daylight hours! Here’s the view from the car park, with the venue on the left:
And location is more relevant than you might think for Lost Tomb, as the game itself takes places in what seem to be some old underground caverns carved out of rock. It does mean that they’re halfway to that Lost Tomb aesthetic already, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
The opening to Lost Tomb proved a little odd. You find yourself in a small, enclosed area trying to break into the main section of the game, as the music builds up and you’re frantically trying to solve the riddle in front of you. Clearly what’s meant to happen is you solve at the music reaches the apex of the crescendo and burst into the room… but we ended up taking a bit too long, and it had faded out by the time we finally figured out what we were trying to do!
Once you’re into the game proper, the real fun starts. The first half has a sort of Western feel, with clues given in a southern drawl, lots of tools for prospecting and one huge machine that you actually get to manipulate in a very physical and very satisfying way. It’s a very low tech machine, but that makes it all the more impressive once you figure it out and trigger one of the most impressive set-pieces I’ve seen in an escape room.
It’s a much more linear game than Pirate Ship, and it benefits from that. The puzzles are of a similar difficulty (to wit: hard) but because there are fewer of them around, it’s a lot easier to piece together what goes with what, and think through anywhere that you’re stumped. There’s also good use of sound throughout – both in the aforementioned hint system and the use of effects at certain points to indicate certain things had happened.
Once you make it through to the tomb itself, the visuals go up another notch and the puzzles shift a little to be a bit more cerebral and logic-based. Both areas eschew the abundance of padlocks present in their first game, instead offering some more interesting ways of entering puzzle solutions that are frequently entertaining.
In my review of Pirate Ship I talked a fair bit about how we found it frustratingly difficult. It’s easy to question when writing up something like that if you’re actually more annoyed with yourself for struggling with the game than you are with the game itself. But it’s interesting that in Lost Tomb we didn’t feel that way at all, even though our escape times for both games were within a minute of each other. That suggests that, as another 90 minute game, Lost Tomb is actually of a similar difficulty to Pirate Ship, it’s just not as frustrating. If nothing else, the way the game is split up leads to a constant sense of forward momentum. You’re constantly seeing something new.
Overall this is a great game. It looks fantastic, has some wonderful set-piece moments, a good sense of adventure (with a decent story behind it) and is pleasantly difficult. Highly recommended.
Result – we escaped in 63 minutes
Date played: 5 November 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: It's probably worth going to play this just for the first room set-piece alone, but the rest of the game also delivers brilliantly.