Present, October 2018, were: Granny, The Ant, Panda, Piano-Player Panda Crew member, Cynical Newbie Panda Crew member
Discuss: Taking your children to leisure activities that involve summoning the devil – good or no? (Note, not a spoiler, Trapp’d has a big warning notice revealing this particular plot point before you even book the game). Some might define it as bad parenting. Irresponsible. Sinful, even. Fortunately, none of the kids present for The Forsaken belong to me, so I can’t be accused of any of that…
As you may gather, the theme of this room in the new Wellingborough venue is somewhat controversial. Trapp’d have done their best to head off potential complaints with their prominent waiver – if you may be offended by occult imagery and roleplay, then don’t sign up for this specific game. And they are right to warn, because this isn’t just an odd ouija board as a prop, this is a full-on Satanic-themed experience, and it won’t be acceptable to everyone. On the plus side, the devil worshippers are very much cast as the bad guys, whose lair you are infiltrating to save your friend.
If you are willing to treat it as an exercise in good triumphing over evil, or better still, just as entertaining fantasy hokum, then you are in for a cracking adventure.
The movie influences for this room would be The Devil Rides Out and The Seventh Victim, with a touch of The Da Vinci Code and a splash of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The set is gorgeously realised. Other parts of the venue maybe still a little unfinished (move that Henry Hoover out of the hallway, guys!) but no effort has been spared with the main event. Trapp’d go for immersive theatre over classic puzzle solving, so if you have only ever done gen-1, lock-and-search-heavy games this will be a whole new experience. That’s not to say there aren’t some good puzzles, including traditional code-breaking and a few combination padlocks. But there is also the need to throw yourself into the magic of the story and trust in some non-conventional methods too.
So, how suitable is it for kids? Well, you do need a fairly fearless type, who doesn’t mind the dark and the spooky. I think Carly, our game host, dialled down the scare factor a little for our young group (the blood-curdling screams coming from the room on our other visit to the venue confirms that) and I still definitely would not recommend it for under 12s. Probably more importantly though, they need to be willing to commit to the game. Nothing would kill the vibe quicker than a sulky teen refusing to join in, with a ‘this is stupid, I’m not doing it’ attitude. Luckily, our teenagers present were enthusiastic in suspending disbelief and embraced the dressing-up and roleplay with healthily giggly glee. “It’s just like being in a movie” whispered the PPP at one point, “but more real”. Even the CNP and wise-beyond-her-years Panda were wowed.
Some of the decor does make for a particularly challenging game experience. No clock, for example, and so dark, so very dark (especially when some of the battery operated candles run down). Oh yes, be prepared to get mucky.
If you want to make any notes, you have to write in the sand on the floor. With a bone.
All-in-all, a stimulating, adrenaline-pumping spooktacular, that left even three laidback teenagers buzzing non-stop all the way round town and home again. Just hope they had calmed down enough not to chat about their weekend activities in front of the vicar when they pitched up for choir on Sunday morning…
- Storyline: Very strong, if not maybe to everyone’s taste.
- Theming and Set: Utterly committed. Not been in many satanic lairs, but seemed believable enough.
- Searching: Very little searching involved.
- Puzzles: Mix of classic brain-benders and totally outlandish.
- Physicality: Quite a bit, it’s not a game you can solve reclined on a sun lounger.
- Scare factor: Atmospheric creepiness rather than screaming gory horror, not for the faint-hearted.
- Company Age Guidance: “Suitable for ages 10 years and over. Players of 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.”
- Age suitability: Older, tougher teens only.
At the same venue, see also: Legend of Drakon