Present, in August 2018, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger.
Escape Room tourism. I read with envy all the reviews of trips to Escape Rooms around the world; weekends in Prague, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, taking in multiple rooms in exotic locations. We managed one game in Cornwall. Which is lovely. But not quite so glam.
There is a lot going for domestic escape room tourism. The weather, for a start. Sometimes, in the UK, you just need to be indoors. And that was kind of how we ended up at Eureka Escape in Truro. Our day out in the South of Cornwall was curtailed by the rain, so we did a last minute hunt around for an nearby early evening room (the map on exitgames.co.uk invaluable as always).
A significant measure of a venue is how well they handle last minute requests. So much is direct online booking only that the actual human face (or phone) customer service part can be neglected. It is not necessarily a good sign if the phone is answered immediately and you are offered instant availability – being the only customer of the day might set alarm bells ringing. But arguably an unanswered call or an abrupt ‘no’ is more off-putting. We tried a couple of locations before hitting on Eureka Escape, and I was instantly impressed with their approach – they hadn’t planned on running both their rooms simultaneously that evening, but they called in extra staff and made it work. From phone call to arrival at the venue was about an hour, and we were greeted smoothly and if as old friends. Very nicely done, and so much better than the ‘not worth it for just two of you’ response we got elsewhere.
We didn’t get a choice of room, which probably saved us a difficult decision as both the Truro descriptions sounded fun (the company also has another site in Penzance, with two more equally enticing options). So we had Death By Prescription, not our first ‘mad medic’ room but easily the most beautifully realised as a perfectly retro ’40s doctor’s surgery, complete with waiting room, office and pharmacy. We knew we were in for an entertaining hour, getting off to a super start with a lovely little twist that left us in hysterics. Solid, logical puzzles felt satisfyingly classy, and a great use of authentic tech throughout (including a fun clue delivery system) really helped with immersion.
We did have a glitch – TA’s penchant for checking ‘just in case’ meant we discovered pretty early on that a major door had been left unlocked. GM was super apologetic but, given the speedy room reset they had pulled off for us specially, we really didn’t mind and just pretended it was locked until we found the key. One puzzle towards the end required a hefty clue. The answer seemed like too much of a logic leap was required for me, although it may just have been outside of our skillset.
The time whizzed by and it was all action with just the two of us. TA enjoyed the clue system just a bit too much, so maybe we got out a bit quicker than we should, thanks to the GM assistance. But we never felt short-changed – we got our money’s worth in laughter alone. And Eureka Escape’s location is ideal, a very short walk to a range of bars and restaurants, perfect for post-game analysis. Truro’s not Las Vegas, but this little spontaneous evening was a winning holiday gamble.
- Storyline: Neat, detailed and logical and sensibly followed through.
- Theming and Set: Great, not just window dressing, but also well built into the puzzles.
- Searching: A bit, so much to look at, there was always something to keep us busy.
- Puzzles: Nicely themed within the different sections, some maths, some code, some logic, some observational.
- Physicality: A bit of clambering about, not sure how much was actually essential, but TA enjoyed it.
- Scare factor: Slightly grisly story line added a pleasant ghoulishness, but nothing to scare small people.
- Company Age Guidance: “Our escape rooms are suitable for anyone of 10 years of age and over. Please do call us if you have younger children and would still like to visit. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, we may ask for an adult to be present in the room. Please contact us if you want to make a booking for a group of under 16s.”
- Age suitability: We could have taken Jack-Jack in. Most puzzles would be over the heads of pre-teens though.