Traditional and padlock-heavy, but mostly enjoyable
You and the rest of your detective team have been on the case of Danny Badd. Badd has been wanted for 7 years and is a known criminal all over Europe. He’s wanted by many different countries for various crimes. After 1 year of gathering information, 24 hour surveillance, and even capturing Badd’s brother, you’ve finally got the best lead that any intelligence unit has ever received with regards to his location. You’re going in, but not without a plan. Badd is notorious for blowing up anyone who attempts to track him down. Watch your step…
Being in Somerset often means slim pickings for escape rooms and when the only company in the area is ClueHQ we’d normally avoid it. But desperate times and all that, and using a decent discount code we decided to give ClueHQ Somerton a go, and I was actually pleasantly surprised and that will teach me to tarnish all franchises with the same brush.
ClueHQ Somerton (currently) has two rooms and Detonation was to be our second room of the day having just completed Cell Block C moments earlier. Now while Cell Block C felt like a more refined offering, it is their newest room after all, Detonation felt like a very traditional escape room.
After finishing Cell Block C we waited in the very comfortable waiting area while a GM (not our GM) reseted Detonation and made sure it was ready for us. We were given the usual health and safety briefing by the owner, Gerri, and once it was ready we were shown to the room. Once inside the room the mission briefing took place via a video on the monitor in the room, this video promised us that our mission would be straight-forward and to expect a twist. When the video ended, our time began…
This was a very traditional escape room and would actually be a good room to invite friends to if you wanted them to get a feel for doing escape rooms. The puzzles had the usual mix that you’d expect to find, a bit of searching, some logic, ‘find a combination and enter it’ type puzzles, and then as always with ClueHQ rooms, a maths puzzle. Fortunately this wasn’t an overly complex maths puzzle, and a calculator was provided, but personally it feels like they throw in maths puzzles just to slow teams down.
There wasn’t a lot of sign-posting in this room which wasn’t too much of a problem except that nearly all the puzzles you were solving gave you combinations for padlocks. This meant we had the monotony of trying the code on all padlocks we could find, and there was a lot of them! I don’t mind padlocks, I’ve said that many times before, but if you’re going to have multiple identical padlocks then a bit of guidance is always useful just to save on the frustration and time wasting.
The room was multi-linear in points so our team was able to work on different things at the same time, although it did come together at various points and very much so at the end.
You won’t be blown away by the room design here, in fact it is actually quite boring, but other than the over abundance of padlocks it was a rather enjoyable room. Liz and I are harder to please as we have done so many rooms but our other team mate had only done two and he had a great time – so that probably says a lot.
There is nowhere outside of the room to store your personal effects so there is a box in the room, but even the box was designed so that it looked like it belonged in the room.
When we went into the room we were provided with torches and were also told we could use our phones for lighting if we found it too dark (already better than the other ClueHQ venue we’d done before). Strangely for us we never found the room too dark and were able to make do with the torches without the need to use our phones.
This room did indeed come with a twist at the end and the change of music and atmosphere made for an adrenaline pumping end. We love a clear ending to a room and this room certainly had that.
ClueHQ seem to like linking their rooms together with the backstory and this was no exception. The chief protagonist of the ClueHQ Cell Block C room, Danny Badd, also was a key part of the story in this room.
There was a timer displayed at all times on a screen in the room and this is also where your clues would come through if/when requested. We needed a clue or two to get us back on track and they came through exactly when we needed them and were suitably cryptic enough to make us look at the problem in a different way while not just giving us the solution. We didn’t actually get to meet our GM as she was feeling unwell so was locked away upstairs while suffering with tonsillitis (Get well soon, GM), but the fact that she gave a stellar performance despite being under-the-weather says a lot.
Our last experience of a ClueHQ room wasn’t great, and that was partially down to how it felt like we were treated like cattle and herded in and out, fortunately the Somerton branch pride themselves on their customer service and we felt like we got that personal service that really makes a difference.
Tech failures happen we know that (and have experienced them), but with any failure in a room it all comes down to how it is handled and ClueHQ Somerton were great. We had just solved something and the room went black, and then suddenly a door popped open, this surprised us and felt like an odd transition but it was actually because the power had tripped. Rather than leaving us with our confusion one of the owners appeared in the doorway, apologising profusely and explained what had happened. They paused the timer and once the power was back to normal he apologised again and then closed the door so we could continue. The timer resumed and we continued with our mission, yes some of the immersion had been lost, but really, who would want to bomb Somerset anyway?!
A padlock heavy room that won’t blow you away, but if your observational skills are on point then you’ll likely have a good time. We played as a team of three people and at times we were getting in each other’s way, we definitely wouldn’t recommend going in a team bigger than four people.
Team: 3 players – escaped with around 18 minutes remaining
Address: Unit 5, Canvin Court, Somerton Business Park, Bancombe Rd, Somerton TA11 6SB