Present, in August 2020, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger
Trapp’d, the Midlands behemoth, have taken a cautious approach when opening their seventh venue (this one in West Yorkshire) during the pandemic, by sharing their space with a trampoline park, Jump Inc. I’ve touched on this before as a sensible tactic for Escape Rooms, benefiting from piggyback signage, built-in refreshment facilities, on-site car-parking and an effortless market flow direct to their door.
This mutual backscratching scenario does have some potential disadvantages though. The trampoline park struggling, or being closed down, would have a serious knock-on effect and ironically the venue not being quiet could also be an issue – the screaming kids and thumping pop music when we arrived didn’t really set us up for a visit to the world of 17th century witches… But more on that later.
Salem is a brand new Trapp’d game. The other two rooms in the Leeds venue are transplants from Northamptonshire – Reanimation is a copy of the Corby game, while VX 2.0 is also available in Kettering. Even if we hadn’t already played both in their original locations, we would have picked to play Salem purely for the strong Blair Witch meets Sleepy Hollow vibe.
And the room itself definitely delivers on that vibe. Opening our eyes (no Covid-risk blindfolds allowed) we seemed miles away from the neon-elastane of Jump Inc.; a dim, wooden witch’s cabin in the woods. Trapp’d have done a reasonable job of suppressing intrusive sound too, with only the odd bit of bass noticeable in moments of stillness. The theme is kept going nicely very nearly all the way through – potions and ravens, tombstones and incantations, bare branches and bones. A bit like Forsaken, it might not be to everyone’s taste, but we found it to be perfectly atmospheric and spooky, without dipping into distressing occult or gore. As befits a historical-style room, there are very few padlocks, circumvented by some very Trapp’d-style solutions. Again, these GM-triggered unlocks aren’t to everyone’s preference, but Emily, our young, enthusiastic host, was clearly on the ball and note-perfect.
We were a tiny bit disappointed in the ending – after a pretty cool finale our actual exit was quite mundane, lacking the magic of the preceding hour. However, this is a new game, and they are still tinkering a little. Some of the set-dressing also feels somewhat unfinished, with bare boards (possibly to ease the disinfection process required between games) but this didn’t detract from our overall immersion.
We found this a fun and characterful addition to the Trapp’d stable. The physical tasks keep it buzzing along, the interactions have about the right amount of paranormal magic, and they get an extra gold star for what was almost certainly the best practical torch I’ve had in an Escape Room. The balance between atmospheric lighting and being able to see is so often done badly, but here it was spot on. A strong addition to the generally weak Leeds Escape Room scene.
- Storyline: Suitably witchy plot, referenced throughout.
- Theming and Set: Good theming, set a little rough around some edges.
- Searching: Not really search-heavy.
- Puzzles: A good mix, all relevant (bar one, maybe) to the story.
- Physicality: Quite a physical room in several different ways. Be aware that the team gets split, and you will need one player with a sensible degree of agility. Hand-eye co-ordination also useful.
- Scare factor: Spooky, not scary.
- Company Age Guidance: “Suitable for ages 10 years and over. Players of 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.”
- Age suitability: You might need a fairly robust 10 year old. Some will adore it, and would probably ace some sections; others might just wig out.
For other Trapp’d games, see also: Abigail; Dead Mans Cove; VX 2.0; Legend of Drakon; The Forsaken; Atlantis; Cartel; Victor Frankensteins Reanimation; The Outlaws of Red Rock; Madame Curio’s Cirque Delirium Exordium; 46 Below; Molten Creek Mine; End of the Line