The Lab: Something In The Water – Agent Brains – Letchworth

Present, in December 2021, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant

I’m going to start boldly by saying that, for me, Agent Brains is pretty much everything that an ideal Escape Room venue should be. An excellent location, bang in the town centre’s appealing pedestrianised area, restaurants and bars only metres away, so perfect for a lunch date or an evening out. A bright, professional, welcoming shop-front, as a really good advert for the industry. Smart, hugely enthusiastic and capable young staff, with a love and pride for their product that shines through. And a range of very different but complementary games, beautifully set in the same universe, that manage to be both family-friendly and enthusiast-pleasing. Not a bad effort for a relatively new company.

The Lab: Something In The Water was the last of our choices to play at Agent Brains – I like a science room but the theme is the most conventional of their three options, and we’ve encountered plenty of mad professors before. But having played both the Back To The Future and Jungle Jailbreak games we were confident that this would be a quality entry in the genre.

It is a very striking room, stark white minimalism – a strong contrast to the 80s’ neon and moody greenery of the other two sets. A choice recommendation for all those who struggle with low light levels or dislike difficulty by darkness. Despite the clean lines, there is a lot to look at, with fun touches at every turn. Both the puzzles and the set commit fully to the theme and follow the story nicely. Public Service Announcement: some of the funky special effects in here make it a good idea to use the bathroom facilities before you start the game, if you are susceptible to gurgling pipe noises…

This is generally a non-linear game. So non-linear, in fact, we must have been half-an-hour in before we suddenly noticed a puzzle that we could have solved right at the start! There were multi-part puzzles that we could work on separately and we were mostly kept busy all through – although there were a couple of patches where it became a (still entertaining) spectator sport. This room will definitely appeal to players with a mathsy-sciencey bent (the dreaded calculator makes an appearance) but no outside knowledge is actually necessary. Trying to get smart with it doesn’t really help. It could still feel like a nice, justifiably educational hour for secondary school pupils though, if you need any excuses for booking a game during term time.

So what could they do better, to become the ideal Escape Room venue? One thing really, they need more games! We’ve played all they have to offer and would love to go back. They don’t have space in their current location, but there were some vacant shop-fronts in the surrounding area… Please, everyone, go play their games, to make an expansion a reality, so we can experience the further adventures of Dr Nogood and Agent Brains.

  • Storyline: Foil the villain’s dastardly plans by investigating his lab. All follows through to a nice finale.
  • Theming and Set: Not as elaborate as their other two games but quality.
  • Searching: Observation rather than searching. We only suck a little at that.
  • Puzzles: Very much following the science theme.
  • Physicality: A couple of hand-eye type tasks. But their most wheelchair-friendly room.
  • Scare factor: None, unless you were traumatised by your school chemistry lessons.
  • Company Age Guidance: “Whilst our games are not designed specifically for children and some of the puzzles may be tricky and confusing for the younger ones, our games are family friendly. Suitable for players aged 12+”
  • Age suitability: A fun room, ideal for nerdy (no shade intended) school-age teens.

Also at this venue: Back To The Future; Jungle Jailbreak

Agent Brains website