Present, in January 2018, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant, The Teenage Avenger Crew.
The unique take in our Escape Room reviews (maybe) is that we always have kids in tow. And this one was a doozy – a full complement of four teenage boys, most on their first Escape Room, being marshalled bravely by myself and Aunty Ant. Now, shutting yourself into an enclosed space with four teenage boys is never something I would personally recommend. The smell, to start.
Trapp’d are known for their atmospheric, malodorous rooms. On the odour side, we may have been the first team to supply our own.
The noise levels (do boys have any volume other than ‘shout’?). The brain-meltingly inane conversation about Minecraft/Pokemon/Fortnite. I definitely have more rewarding chats with furniture. But, funnily enough, this was quite an enjoyable hour. To begin in the best possible way, we got to lock all their phones into a metal filing cabinet and took away the key (manic, evil laughter). Reeling in their shocked state, the boys became almost mallable and able to be herded quite submissively into teamwork. It helped that Trapp’d sets do have a wow factor. “It’s a real alien” the cries went up, noses pressed against the glass. The storyline was X-Files enough to capture their imaginations and key elements of communication and co-operation did actually materialise in a way that would have definitely required Mulder and Scully to investigate, had it occurred under any other circumstances.
The room was well suited to novices like ours. There was a fair bit of searching required, which suits Teenage Avenger (his superpower is removing things from walls), and there were enough puzzles to be worked on in pairs so nobody was left out. Not a whole heap of space, possible the smallest room in the Trapp’d stable, but oddly still enough room for the boys to keep misplacing essential items (that teenage thing of mindlessly picking something up and wandering off with it). Hidden rooms (remember to duck for that low shelf alert!) go down a treat with the boys*. That discovery, the racheted-up tension of the clock, and a corking jump scare were all real crowd-pleasers, and made up for some of the palpable dismay that they didn’t need to actually dissect a real alien corpse.
*ok, everybody loves a hidden room.
We escaped, with 3 minutes to spare, after a last-minute Avenger Crew malfunction plunged us into unnecessary jeopardy – we trusted a tech-savvy teenager with inputting answers on to a computer and he got a bit click happy with the mouse. Could have done with that potential pitfall being accounted for in the game design. By the time you read this, the Area 51 room will have closed, to be replaced with Victor Frankensteins Reanimation. Missing apostrophe aside, I hope the new room is as good as it sounds. Area 51 was, I think, the original room in the original Trapp’d venue, and in truth was looking a little tired – at least two of the puzzles were a struggle due to faded props. But I am still a little sad to see it go, as it gave 3 thirteen year olds a thrilling, satisfying, entertaining introduction to the great world of escape rooms. And afterwards, Aunty Ant and I went off to drink plenty of wine.
- Storyline: Strong and followed through.
- Theming and Set: Excellent.
- Searching: Important.
- Puzzles: Conventional.
- Physicality: Just a touch over minimal.
- Scare factor: One of the good X-Files episodes – amusing, gently nerve-jangling and with the odd actual shock.
- Age suitability: Ideal for ages 10 and over with guidance, or fine for independent teens with a bit of Escape Room experience.