Present, 2nd November 2018, were: Granny, The Ant, Panda, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant
Two types of recommendations are needed when talking Escape Rooms. There’s discussions with fellow nerdy enthusiasts, comparing times and suggesting the next (usually more extreme) challenge. And then there’s conversations with complete newbies, wanting to try it out, or those recent converts, done one room, needing to do another (usually one they can actually escape from this time). 46 Below falls very much into the latter category. It’s not a stretch for an experienced team. Our biggest struggle was with two sticky padlocks – if we’d got those open first try, we would probably have shaved another ten minutes off our time (doubting ourselves we cast around for a different solution, when we had the correct answer all along).
A gauntlet for a really serious team would be going flat out to beat the record, which currently stands at something like 19 minutes. Probably want to book a double header if you’re doing that – Billing Aquadrome is a bit of a random place to travel to just for 15 minutes of fun. Alternatively, you could take your time and luxuriate in the batty uniqueness of this game – it really does have the wow. There are not many actual puzzles to solve, but the exploration accompanying them is a blast. As such, it really is an ideal room for beginners. They might well struggle to get going for the first twenty minutes, but that should still leave them enough time on the clock to complete. For most other rooms, that lost first third of ‘what do we do’ is fatal. This has a gentle introduction to the Escape Room staples of codebreaking and directional locks, and even very small kids would have fun in here with some of the less intellectual activities included.
Don’t worry about the frankly terrifying room description ‘story’ on the Trapp’d website – there is no horror element.
I could see how this is a ‘marmite’ game, with stronger teams disappointed that such a high-concept isn’t more of a strenuous test. It would be relatively easy for Trapp’d to add an extra couple of layers of complexity – padlocks on two of the doors, an additional tech component to find. They have plenty of room (and I mean, really, so much room) that a few more items would in no way clutter the place. I can understand why, though, with the family friendly location and the utter fiendishness of one of their other rooms, they would not want to increase the difficulty level here. Maybe a two-level customised game is the key, where players choose the hard or easy option at booking and the room is set accordingly. The current game is open enough for there to be plenty of places to slot in more puzzles. Trapp’d is one of the most creative and innovative companies around. A ‘choose your own adventure difficulty’ would fit perfectly with their forward-thinking brand.
In the meantime, recommend 46 Below to all your newbie friends or groups of young people. They will love it, even if it spoils them by raising their expectations of every other escape room they do.
- Storyline: Typical escape room giant hole in the story logic, but brilliantly followed through.
- Theming and Set: Amazing, unique, brave to even attempt it.
- Searching: Plenty to look at, not actually much to be found.
- Puzzles: Small in number, straightforward in nature.
- Physicality: Really quite a lot, not suitable for a team with mobility issues.
- Scare factor: The only screams will be of delight when first seeing the room.
- Company Age Guidance: “Suitable for ages 10 years and over. Players of 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.”
- Age suitability: Could easily have a creche full of toddlers in here. Game fine for 8 and up.
At the same venue, see also: Exordium