Get crushed? Not likely
Your team is investigating an old nuclear plant that has a history of safety problems. The site has been decommissioned but there have been some accidents in recent months.
The compactor room seems to be the area where most accidents have happened .
Be careful in this room, don’t get trapped as the compactor once started is difficult to shut down from the inside. Don’t get crushed !!!
We arrived in Folkestone on a grey and drizzly morning. After sampling the local delicacy of ‘Cheeseburger Puff” (*Gordon’s note: It was wonderful!) and a short stroll around town and the seafront, we arrived outside the premises of Escape 60.
As the first bookings of the day, we were welcomed by our GM as he was arriving for the day and just opening up shop. After a brief chat, we deposited our belongings in the lockers in the waiting area and were led to the Compactor. Immediately after leaving the rather bland waiting area and going through the door, the atmosphere changes, as the industrial theming from The Compactor is carried out throughout the area, even through into the toilet. Outside the entrance to The Compactor, we were given our usual safety briefing, with a crash course in electrical engineering, and then it was time to begin our jobs as Health and Safety Investigators and shut down the compactor before we became another workplace accident.
The Compactor has many positive points: Good theming, decent puzzles, and a great concept. I wouldn’t have said no to puzzles that were more in keeping with the back story, as some of the puzzles, while they were fun, actually had no relation to the theme or the story, while others were very much in keeping.
The room was fun, and we enjoyed playing, but it was let down a bit by the execution of what should have been the star attraction. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was expecting to feel more like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in the compactor on the Death Star (minus the nasty garbage soup and the weird monster), and this fell quite a bit short of that.
The puzzles in this room were varied, but not overly complex and generally logical. There were a few padlocks, which fit in with the theme quite well, as well as some puzzles that were automated (of which some digressed from the theme a fair amount). The compactor involved very little searching, but there was some (more on that later), and instead mostly relied upon your powers of observation and reasoning. I would like to say there weren’t any red herrings, but there were things in the room that could be interacted with, but were purely set dressing, so I did waste a few minutes here and there with these to see if it would be possible to solve them. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t solve them, they were there simply for atmosphere and amusement.)
The penultimate puzzle stumped us however. It was clear to me what we would need to do, but it was not clear where to find/figure out the information you would need to do it. Granted, there were one or two search fails in gathering all of the information we would need, but what really let this down for me was that there wasn’t a standard format for the information, (half was presented in one way, and half in another) and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it! It became rather frustrating, and we did eventually have to ask for a clue; even then we still had to guess on a few bits (largely due to our search fails).
The compactor had a very industrial feel, and was certainly visually impressive. The space wasn’t massive, but there were a few surprises here and there, which kept things interesting.
The downfall of the room for me was what should really have been the WOW-factor for this room. It is afterall, “The Compactor,” so it should come as no surprise that the walls will move, but the actual execution of this could have been so much smoother, and more exciting. Having experienced a room with a similar concept in one section, I can attest to the fact that a wall smoothly and slowly coming towards you can really up the ante, increasing the pressure as you find yourself getting a bit cosier with your team, and really immersing you in the experience. Unfortunately, the execution of the main attraction here wasn’t quite as exciting as it could have been, and we just felt a bit disappointed. It’s a great concept, but due to other elements of the set, it just didn’t work the way it could have, and a re-think of how the room is laid out could really make this something special.
Clues were delivered via TV screen in the room, if you requested them. Escape 60 have placed a limit of three clues, and won’t give any for the first ten minutes in this room. As a nice touch, it is possible to earn either another clue or an extra time bonus once you’re in the room, but you need to figure out how!
Our GM was attentive, and when we did need one clue, it was a nice touch to be able to see that a response was being typed, so we knew help was on the way.
This wasn’t a bad room, and it was actually fun, it’s just that when you’re in a room called ‘the compactor’ you would expect it to actually compact more than a couple of inches.
Team: 2 players (escaped in around 50:30)
Address: Unit 3, Town Walk, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2AD