*Previously Clever Dilemma, now under the Escape Kent umbrella. Follow this link for updated venue website
Present, in February 2022, were: The Ant, Aunty Ant
Something we didn’t plan on doing for our Kent Escape Room binge trip was a horror game. With just me and Aunty Ant, we didn’t really feel the need to have the bejeezus scared out of us, and with a fairly packed schedule we thought a full-on frightfest might have finished us off. I’d booked Dracula’s Chambers though, because, you know, that’s Dracula, it’s literature, history. It’s not scary. And that was fine, until Aunty Ant looked at the Clever Dilemma website and said…actually, this sounds kind of terrifying… So it was with some trepidation that we pitched up in Faversham on a wild and rainy night…
We had a warm welcome in Clever Dilemma’s expansive lobby-lounge, complete with a virtual crackling fireplace which somehow works in making everything feel more cosy. They had stayed open late specially to fit in our booking, which says a lot about their great customer service – as does their offer (declined) to plunge out into the rain to get us half-time interval refreshments. Slightly reassured by their friendliness and the promise of no live actors (“yes, but what about undead ones?” I should have said) we made our way up the candlelit staircase (nice touch) to meet our fate.
First impressions – this is a classy set-up. Simple but beautifully immersive, everything felt on-theme, from the creepingly sinister soundtrack to the reassuringly solid props. A lot of love has clearly gone into making this an immersive experience, with a surprisingly heavy steamer trunk, period-style furniture and vintage-feel artwork. Funnily enough, I’m sure, logically, that there were modern padlocks and possibly a laminated sheet or two, but I genuinely can’t remember where – the whole atmosphere was so charming that nothing jarred as anachronistic.
You might notice I used the word “charming” rather than say “tense” or “petrifying”. Because, for the most part, this is a lovely, quite gentle game. The puzzles were clever and fun – we did get a bit hung up on a multi-piece problem which we kept trying to solve too early (repeated search fails). There is a little bit of gloom in the first section (torches provided) but it is otherwise well-lit. The emphasis is definitely more on intellectual sleuthing than on spine-chilling or blood-curdling. Which is all very handy in luring you into an unsuspecting state of mind…
This is not a horror room. Those expecting an out-and-out gore-a-thon or a disturbing gothic nightmare would probably be disappointed. But Clever Dilemma do have a couple of tricks tucked under their wing to ensure that their game does fulfil the Dracula brief. We may have screamed, a tiny little bit. As such, if your team includes kids or teens with a more sensitive nature, you might just want to be prepared. This is such a brilliant, fun game, it would be a shame to end up with sobbing, traumatised young people (or adults). It is always difficult to tell how they might react to spooks or shocks or scares or severed limbs – some relish it – so it is hard to put an age rating on this room. But maybe don’t assume that Drac is actually just a big old batty cuddlemonster that all your kids will love.
So, book with caution. But do book. If necessary, leave the kids at home. Because this is a really great venue with a fantastically fun take on a timeless tale and, even in the legendary Kent Escape Room scene, you can count on Clever Dilemma being worth getting your teeth into.
- Storyline: Find the cure for vampirism and get out. I think we did!
- Theming and Set: Some great details and overall classy feel.
- Searching: Yeah, we search-failed hard for a little while. But not too search-heavy overall.
- Puzzles: Quite nicely intellectual with a good use of props.
- Physicality: None – although there is an interesting spike in my Fitbit’s heartrate monitor.
- Scare factor: See above.
- Company Age Guidance: “Minimum age is 11 and 11-16 year olds are to be accompanied by at least one paying adult”. Contact Clever Dilemma direct if you have concerns and need to check specifics.
- Age suitability: I know my two usual teenage team-mates from when they were 13 would have loved this game. At 11, I’ve not so sure. Very much a case-by-case basis for this game.
Also at this venue: Murder At The Wild West Quest Saloon