The Doctor Will See You Now – Hourglass Escapes – Downham Market

Present, in October 2022, were: The Ant, Lioness, Parker

Nearly Halloween, so an appropriate time for a slightly scarier game than is usual for us, from the niche but surprisingly (worryingly?) frequent “doctor as serial killer” genre. We’ve enjoyed previous games from Hourglass in Peterborough, so were excited for our first trip to their new venue out in the wilds of Norfolk.

Downham Market is actually a rather lovely, civilised town, nice to have a wander round. There’s a decent railway station, which is walkable from the venue or, if travelling by car, there is plenty of free parking just outside Hourglass itself (in a mini industrial estate). I Google Street Viewed it in advance, as I thought it might be tricky to find, and I’d recommend that, although I had no problems in the end.

Straight into the Halloween spirit, the Hourglass reception was beautifully decorated; and we were also delighted to hear that we might find some extra “treats” hidden within our game. Honestly, you’ve never heard grown adults squeal with joy as much as when we found a Curly Wurly tucked at the back of a cupboard… We loved this initiative and it was a great incentive to examine every nook and cranny – very helpful for a team who can be rubbish at searching!

So, the game itself. You are searching a doctor’s office to find your friend, who has gone missing after their appointment. A little gentle Breaking & Entering is required, followed by some increasingly tense puzzling to solve the mysteries of our possibly murderous medic. This isn’t an active horror game, but does have some relatively grisly elements – if you are especially squeamish it might not be the game for you. We love a bit of squeam, so found it really added to the fun.

Hourglass like quite traditional Escape Room styles, so there are plentiful padlocks and keys. They do this well though, so unless you are really padlock-adverse don’t be put off. They have some inventive puzzles, with a clever use of the themed surroundings, so be prepared for a science-y type game. There’s good use of a mobile phone, both as part of the game and as hint support (although standard audio clues are also available). There is some crawling and scrabbling about – some of this can be circumvented with prior notice, but you do still really need someone on the team who doesn’t mind sitting on the floor. The opening section is dark – good torches are provided – but the darkness can be quickly fixed, if you are smarter than we were…

We had such a scream in this room. A little bit high on sugar from the unexpected sweetie treats, but this game (well supported by GM Joanne) did the fun trick of making us feel smart (ish). Not the sort of doctor’s appointment we’d like in the normal world, but a nice, gentle adrenaline jolt to the brain, which is good for every body.

  • Storyline: Good story and everything on theme, although a fair bit of Escape Room Logic required for the puzzles.
  • Theming and Set: All on theme and did the job.
  • Searching: Yes, this is quite important, and not just hunting for chocolate.
  • Puzzles: Not too challenging, with good flow and plenty to do. As usual, we nailed the complicated stuff, and floundered with the simpler bits.
  • Physicality: You need at least one person who can crawl.
  • Scare factor: The website has a trigger warning for fake blood – that’s more the sort of thing you need to worry about, rather than someone coming at you with an axe.
  • Company Age Guidance: “This room suitable for ages 12 years and up.  Any player under the age of 16 will require an adult to be in the room with them at all times.
  • Age suitability: Given the more adult themes of possible abduction and murder, 12 is a sensible age. The teens would have loved it.

Hourglass website