Love Disney? You’ll love this.
The Wexell Corporation has sent you and your team to investigate their ex-employee, Dr Rhyar Lafayette, who has been using company funds for research into the occult. Your mission is to investigate his Voodoo Emporium and report back to Wexell, but beware, there is more to Dr Lafayette than meets the eye, and if he captures you, it may be impossible to escape.
Deadlocked have been one of the shining stars in an otherwise bleak year, their online games have kept us sane over the pandemic – check out The Insiders and Cyphstress for two of the best online games out there. But their physical games (pre-COVID) have also been fun, The Time Machine is certainly a stand out game. So it was rather nice that Day 2 of our epic escape room roadtrip happened to be in Loughborough, a location where Deadlocked had a venue – perfect.
Having just completed The Vault Squad, we were to end our day with The Magic of New Orleans, a game that I literally knew nothing about. I’d seen various team photos from this game, but Deadlocked have been very careful not to give anything away about the room – clever.
Neal had been our host for The Vault Squad, and he was also to be our host while we were in New Orleans. Our personal items remained in the lockers, we sanitised our hands again (can never have too much of that), and Neal proceeded to give a quick reminder of the health and safety talk before leading us in to our adventure.
Normally we would have been blindfolded to be led into the room but thanks to COVID that wasn’t possible, so we covered our eyes and Neal cleverly, from a distance, guided us to our starting point in the room. We’ve played rooms where we’ve been blindfolded going in just to take them off right away adding nothing to the game. This is one of those games where being blindfolded really does improve the experience as it means you have plenty of surprises to come.
This game is up a flight of stairs, but once you get into the room there are no accessibility issues with it.
Covid-19 Procedures: We wore masks, as did Neal (the only staff member on site). Hand sanitiser was provided and track-and-trace was present. Everything was thoroughly cleaned between games and we didn’t see any other teams while we were in the building.
Once we were safely in the room, the room briefing took place, over the speaker system and in character. Once the briefing ended we could remove our ‘blindfolds’ and begin our mission.
The Magic of New Orleans starts off in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and arguably this first room is the least interesting of all the surroundings, but it soon opens up into a great space that is a true delight to explore. There is a wonderful sense of exploration as you move between the distinct spaces that each have their own story to tell. Deadlocked are very creative in what they do, and although they don’t have the biggest budget for their rooms, they work with what they have and do it well, finding clever ways to utilise space while still ensuring everything fits together.
Immersion is a hard thing to get right in an escape room, but The Magic of New Orleans really immersed us in its world. We’re big fans of Disney and playing this game instantly reminded us of more normal times when we were able to hop the pond and visit Disneyland. If you’re a fan of Disney or more specifically, The Princess and the Frog, then you must play this game. Don’t worry Disney lawyers, there’s no copyright infringement going on here, just a very gentle homage.
Deadlocked are good at room design, but where they really excel is their puzzle-mastery. We’ve played many games by Deadlocked, both online and in real life (and also checked out their puzzle books) so we have a good idea of how they think now. That could be why this game clicked with us, or it could just be that there were good puzzles in The Magic of New Orleans – either way, we enjoyed it immensely.
The puzzles in the game all fitted with the theme and were the usual escape room types such as; logic, observation, minor searching, teamwork/communication, codes, wordplay and decoding. If you’ve played one of the newer Deadlocked online games then one puzzle will look particularly familiar to you, or it did to us anyway.
Solving the puzzles resulted in a mixture of padlocks or tech, and there were a few extra surprises thrown in for good measure (it gave me a laugh, at Liz’s expense).
No room is complete without a clue system, which fortunately for us, we didn’t actually need. I say fortunately, but it was a shame we didn’t get to experience it properly (we were shown afterwards). Deadlocked have continued their quest for immersion by pre-recording a number of clues and having them given to you, by Madame Immelda. It’s the little touches like this that I enjoy and helped make it feel like we really were in New Orleans. The only risk with pre-recording clues is that a team may need a hint which hasn’t been accounted for, if this was the case I would assume that Neal would put on his finest Louisianan accent and chime in when required.
I wonder if we enjoyed this game because we didn’t know much about it? We had seen a couple of old reviews for it which weren’t favourable and that may have lowered our expectations somewhat, but this game was the highlight of Loughborough for us and we finished the day buzzing.
Great puzzles, lovely design, and some fun extras made this a game that we were sad to have finished. Be careful though, this game could turn out to be expensive, I think the Disney love is back and it’s time we booked another holiday to the happiest place on Earth.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 32:50
Address: 2a Granby Street, Loughborough, LE11 3DU