Published on September 7th, 2017 | by Dean Love


The Escapement, Margate – Pirates of Polaris

The Escapement make very little noise about the fact that much of Pirates of Polaris is constructed from an actual 130-year-old ship, the Polaris. It’s something we didn’t find out about until after our game, but it does go some way to explaining how good the theming in this room is.

This time around, the job isn’t to escape the ship (I mean, where would you go? To play a second, far shorter and more inferior “escape the life raft” game?) but rather to sail it safely ashore. Although it starts with getting out of the brig, that’s a very small portion of the game.

Compared to the other game on site, Egyptian Exodus, Pirates is a very different game. That game was very cerebral, this one has a more physical elements. The former features no locks, this one features a lot of locks. The argument for locks is fairly straight-forward: pirates did use them loads. And the locks are commendably on theme, big chunky things attached to chains, not modern Yale locks with tiny keys.

What it has in common with the other game is the level of theming. As mentioned, parts of it come from a real ship, but even the rest of it looks spot on a gives a tremendous sense of place. The bowels of a pirate ship are perhaps a less fun place to be hanging out than in an Egyptian tomb (no taking your shoes off and playing in the sand here) but the more claustrophobic, sharp-edged, rough-and-ready aesthetic really work in the game’s favour.

This time around clues are provided through a porthole, as if floating by on the sea outside. It doesn’t make much sense, but it does allow for any sort of text-based clue to be delivered.

There are a number of neat puzzles that allow you to progress through the space, with good variety including some meaty physical interactions, before it all coming together at the end with a rather complex puzzle. It’s one of those puzzles that I loved, requiring the use of multiple elements throughout the entire game space, but it is pretty tough to figure out and could be frustrating for some. Much like Egyptian Exodus, that puzzle in particular left me wishing for a pencil and paper to make a few notes, as it becomes something of a memory challenge too.

Once you’ve figured out that final puzzle, the method of entry for it is extremely fun and a great way to top off a really good game. Overall this is probably the stronger of the two games at The Escapement, but it’s a close-run race. Pirates just seems a little bit smoother and better paced. But if you’re anywhere near Margate playing both is a must.

Result – we escaped in 40 minutes

Date played: 10 August 2017

Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Steph


The Escapement, Margate – Pirates of Polaris Dean Love

Summary: A genuinely fantastic game, well worth checking out.



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About the Author

Dean is a professional writer who has worked for The Mail On Sunday, The Digital Fix, MicroMart and others.

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