Present, December 2017, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant, Groot
On first impressions, this isn’t really an escape room for kids. It’s not even an escape room for kidults like me. Feels a little like those posh hotels where you think it’s some kind of mistake and the manager will stop you and ask to see the permission slip from your mum and dad. It’s so sophisticated! Lovely, welcoming, instantly intriguing, but ever so slightly intimidatingly…classy. Not the place for sticky fingers or muddy boots. As well as ‘normal’ games, Kanyu also offers a half-day corporate team-building and staff training session, complete with video assessment of players’ skills from the the rooms – and with their smart vibe and polished briefing room you can see how they are targeting that gap in the market. This aura caused me a nerve-shredding build-up to the game, dissuading Teenage Avenger from inadvertently breaking the beautiful, delicate executive toys on display – but in reality Robert (host and superbrain of the venue) could not have been nicer or more accommodating.
The whole set-up of The Secrets of South Lodge is striking.I’d driven past this anachronistic little building set in the middle of a roundabout for years, and thought of a dozen interesting uses for such a quirky place. I’m delighted that it is now being put to a quirky use.
Taking a cue from the architecture, the theme of the venue is carried through very successfully – you are arriving at the late Sir Henry’s lodge to solve his mystery – from the sealed envelope handed to teams to the heirlooms on the walls of the lobby. It is clearly a labour of love and the room itself did not disappoint. Set up as a gentleman’s study, it has plenty of eye-candy, and the mostly vintage-feel puzzles fit perfectly with the theme, before taking a twist with the second ‘act’ of the game. Plenty to work on for a team of four, nothing too fiendish, but with a couple of corking a-ha moments. The game manager was a little trigger-happy with the clues at first, offering suggestions before we had fully worked through our options – but they had only been open a few weeks when we did the room and I expect that will have settled down. Clues were probably only needed due to our Christmas brain fug, and the puzzles were never less than fair.
I really loved this room, for the set design, the story, the problems, the atmosphere.
Kanyu’s second room follows on with Sir Henry’s story, but quite different in style – reputedly much harder, but we will definitely be making another trip to find out. With an individual, inventive narrative, unique location and joyous buzz under the corporate gloss, this venue really deserves to succeed. And now, with the announcement of a third room, based outdoors, partially targeted at junior players, it appears that those concerns about unwelcome sticky fingers and muddy boots are unfounded as well.
- Storyline: Very strong.
- Theming and Set: Beautiful and involving.
- Searching: A bit of delving in dark corners involved.
- Puzzles: Lots of lovely classic, classy puzzles and some interesting solutions.
- Physicality: More than first impressions suggest but nothing too strenuous.
- Scare factor: Again, a little more than first impressions suggest, but still gentle.
- Company Age Guidance: 12 years upwards.
- Age suitability: Older pre-teens would love it, as would grannies.