When in Cornwall, you’ve got to play a pirate game
In the late 18th century the infamous ship the Jolly Roger and its crew ruled the seas. Tales of their piracy were spread far and wide, they were notorious for smuggling loot and contraband into Cornwall. The crew hid the ship in caves along the Cornish coast to avoid it being hijacked or raided.
But one autumn evening after the crew concealed the ship, they were ambushed in a tavern not far from here. They fought hard, however, the ship’s whereabouts were lost along with its crew that night. Her location has been a mystery ever since. It is rumoured that during the crews’ final voyage they discovered the lost city of Atlantis and documented its exact location! Hundreds of years have since passed and the ship and her crew have long been forgotten- until now!
We had already played a couple of games in Penzance and decided that we wanted to make the most of being in Cornwall, so rather than go and visit a secluded cove or beautiful beach, we booked ourselves into a couple more escape rooms in Newlyn. There was also no way we were going to visit Cornwall without playing a pirate themed game!
After somehow managing to kill four hours in Newlyn (which really wasn’t easy), it was finally time to turn up at the venue and play a couple of games. First thing to note, this venue has no toilets so make sure you go before you arrive, otherwise you’ll make your escape even more desperate.
When we arrived we were greeted by our host, Connor. The waiting room at the Cornwall’s Great Escape Rooms Newlyn branch was comfortable and suitably decorated for a place where you go to have fun. The wall had a large monopoly style board painted on one wall but the place names were replaced with names of their now retired games, and what we assume are the time and name of the teams who were top of the leaderboards when they were retired. So there’s motivation for a quick time, it could be recorded for prosperity.
After a bit of a chat (mostly about how on Earth we managed to kill four hours in Newlyn), Connor proceeded to read us the health and safety briefing, swiftly followed by the room briefing. We were then handed our trusty walkie-talkie and proceeded to enter the Jolly Roger.
I’ve got to be honest, when we were in this game, I couldn’t really recall what the story was so we just went along with it. Having now read what the story was, I can see that the room made sense and the themeing was decent with a good sense of adventure as we moved between spaces (and there were a few).
It would have been odd to be in an underwater cave, pirate ship, or on a beach without having a bit of background noise from something, and fortunately there was some background noise being played in here – I’m not a fan of silence so I appreciated this.
Everything in the room felt like it belonged, at least for the most part, regardless of the area of the game we were in. By this I mean, there were the usual items you’d expect to find in these areas, cannons, sand, grog, the usual.
Although this game takes place on the ground floor of the venue, and is mostly on the level, there is one area where at least one team member will need to do a little crawling. There’s another spot where a little crouching would be useful too – but it’s very minor.
This game clicked with us, certainly more than their other game ‘The Family Business’ did, and we found ourselves mostly flying through it. It’s probably that the game is aimed more towards a tourist market, but there were still some decent and challenging puzzles.
Spread over a number of spaces, the puzzles mostly felt distinct and like they belonged where they were found. I think there was only two puzzles that tripped us up, one because it was a little ambiguous and there were a few ways to interpret it, and the other because we just didn’t spot something and make the connection.
The puzzles themselves were generally around: searching, observation, maths (very minor), teamwork, wordplay, logic, and colours. I can’t recall any puzzle that felt out of place, and everything was linked to the story that we were playing out.
The puzzles generally all resulted in combinations for padlocks, or finding of keys. I think there was a little tech used to keep things interesting, but mostly this was a good old padlock heavy game. That’s not a criticism at all, I personally love a good padlock (especially if you can get a good directional padlock in there too).
We gave Connor a pretty easy ride while we were on board the Jolly Roger and only needed to get input a couple of times (thanks to the ambiguity). When we did need help, we simply had to radio it in and then Connor guided us back on track in no time at all.
The only time that I feel like we weren’t being watched was when we did something early on the game and it didn’t trigger anything. We waited for a while and then Connor eventually radioed in to ask if we had done something, which we had, then asked if we had done something else, which we had, so then he said “Ok, now XXX has happened” – it would have been nice if this had triggered automatically rather than being told it was now done.
There was no timer in the room, because why would there be on an old pirate ship, so Connor would radio in every-now-and-then to let us know how much time had passed since we entered.
You can’t come to Cornwall and not play a pirate themed escape room. We found the Secrets aboard the Jolly Roger, and had a good time doing it. The room won’t wow you, but it was an enjoyable time and most of the puzzles were fair and enjoyable to solve.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 37:47
Address: Wesley Pl, Newlyn, Penzance, England