A (whip) cracking set!
Professor Jones has sent you on a mission, after a long journey through the jungle, you have finally located the Temple of the Enfada Idol! However, your rival Dr Belloq and his mercenaries are in close pursuit. Can you beat the Temple’s puzzles, and more importantly, beat Belloq to the Idol?
Our last opportunity to visit Eltham Escapes was over two and a half years ago in March 2020, and we had a blast playing through Temporal Tours and The Temple of the Lost Spirit. Sadly, over the past several years those games have gone, but don’t despair, for in their place have arrived not just two new games, but three! When Gord and I found ourselves back around London and with a morning free, there was no doubt we’d make the journey out to Eltham to see what they had cooked up.
Our day began with Eltham Escape’s horror-esque Jack the Ripper themed Nightmare on Ripper Street, followed by the utterly charming Return to Neverland, but it was final game of the day that I was most looking forward to: Temple of the Forbidden Idol. I love a good temple themed adventure, and The Temple of the Lost Spirit was thoroughly enjoyable, so I had high hopes for this game.
We tackled our first two games in pretty quick succession, and after a break to fuel our bodies and rest our brains we returned to Eltham Escapes for the final escape of the day. This time, we were greeted at the door by Brandan, our host and GM for the next hour. As we had already been through a few games there that day, we were able to dispense with most of the briefing, although there were a few room-specific points that needed to be addressed in reception. But with the formalities out of the way, we stowed our belongings in the locker-benches and followed Brandan up the stairs to the entrance to the jungle, where we learned just exactly what we were about to embark upon.
Although The Temple of the Forbidden Idol occupies the same space as Eltham Escapes’ former temple game, The Temple of the Lost Spirit, the games are totally different. The space has been reworked, so not only are the story and puzzles entirely new, but so is the set. And the set was something to behold, for the team have really upped their design skills when compared against their earlier games.
We found ourselves in a darkened jungle area, complete with trees, staring at the entrance to the temple. The sounds of the forest, and the cool air aided the quality set in further immersing us in the world and tasks around us. The Temple of the Forbidden Idol kept a fast pace, as we raced through to recover the idol in time. Puzzles fit into their surroundings perfectly, often feeling natural in their execution. While there was never any climbing to be done, we found ourselves ducking and crawling.
The intensity of the game seemed to build, culminating finally in our successful retrieval of the idol. At that point, if it wasn’t already clear that this game took direct inspiration from a certain temple raiding archeologist, then the triumphant tune that was immediately recognisable made it abundantly clear. The theme tune played as our GM came in to congratulate us.
The puzzles we encountered in The Temple of the Forbidden Idol were fair and logical. In fact, the only problem with the puzzles we encountered at all can be solely attributed to the fact that I am a very lazy explorer. At first we thought that the game would be quite linear, but things soon opened up, with multiple puzzle paths to follow, allowing us to work independently, but occasionally still coming together for tasks that were best solved with two.
We encountered a few “escape room” standard puzzles (word games, observation of our surroundings, searching, etc.) and one or two padlocks as we progressed through our adventure. But many of the tasks we encountered were of a more physical and tactile nature. There were plenty of instances of big chunky props requiring manipulation, or hidden tech, triggering something unexpected once the right sequence was discovered. While fair, and following a clear sort of logic, things were not always as they appeared at first glance, requiring a bit more thought to be put into the puzzle, resulting in some wonderful “Ah-Ha!” moments for the team once we put all of the pieces together.
Brandan was as wonderful a GM as one could hope for – he seemed happy to be there, but most of all, he was paying attention to the game. We stumbled early on, thanks to some lazy searching on our part, but the moment we decided we needed a clue, it was promptly delivered, and was just the thing we needed to get us back on track.
Clues came through on a screen, but in an effort to keep things as immersive as possible, this was worked into the story, for help was coming not from Brandan, but rather from a third member of the team at our base of operations using a ruggedised field computer – perfect for jungle explorers. This laptop also showed how much time was remaining before the baddies would be arriving to steal the idol from us!
I enjoyed Eltham Escape’s previous temple themed game, but The Temple of the Forbidden Idol has definitely surpassed its predecessor. The Temple of the Forbidden Idol was filled with satisfyingly chunky and tactile puzzles, and just enough adventure to thrill my temple loving heart.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 23:57
Address: 3 St Mary’s Place, Eltham, SE9 1BL