So many puzzles!
One man, six different personalities. When Mr Crabheal starts to take an increasing control and hatches a plan to create chaos across London, the other five personalities team up to help you find a way of stopping him! A catastrophe is looming in an unknown London location, you need to discover where within 60 minutes. Visit each of the personalities’ very different rooms, and solve a variety of challenges and puzzles to help you get closer to discovering Mr Crabheal’s target!
Since we moved away from London it has been harder to get to Epsom than it used to be, but we found a special reason to visit Escape from the Room again – our 400th room, and a game that was TERPECA nominated – The Mixed up Mind of Mr Crabheal.
We arrived at the venue at our allotted time and were greeted by a face we recognised from our previous visit, Joseph. We had a little chat with Joseph while we were seated in the waiting area and then he proceeded to play the health and safety briefing on the TV. After the video played, Joseph gave us a ‘room specific’ briefing which included an instruction we had never heard before in our previous 399 escape rooms.
With this odd instruction still fresh in our mind, we followed Joseph down the corridor to the entrance of the room. Interestingly, we actually had a sneak preview of this room while it was being constructed and I must admit, our first impression was that not much had changed – oh how wrong we were! Joseph left us alone and we were then greeted by an audio recording from our host, Mr Crabheal (and others), and it was time to un-mix his mind!
Don’t let your first impressions fool you, this game has a lot to offer and it’s made in a really rather unique way and with a very clever use of space. This isn’t a game where you are trying to get out as quickly as possible, in fact there’s a very good chance you won’t actually complete everything in this game. One thing is for sure though, you’ll be challenged and kept busy for your entire time (depending on team size/experience etc…). The best way to think of this game is that it’s like a ‘grab as much as you can’ heist type of game, but the nice thing is, you don’t have to complete everything to be able to complete your mission. Or at least, win the game.
I think with this game it’s one of those games where the less you know, the better. For me, this game felt like a whirlwind of intense pressure where we were all over the place trying to complete everything. In hindsight, I can see the strategy that we employed was not the best, and if we had tackled it slightly differently, we may have solved more puzzles – but I’m like a kid in a candy shop in an escape room so I regret nothing.
With ambient noises and music being played throughout, plus the occasional audio interaction with Mr Crabheal, this game fully immersed us in this world – which was impressive considering the size of the space. Now I know what you may be thinking, “is this game big enough for a team of six”, well the short answer is yes, not only in terms of physical space but also puzzle numbers, this game has enough to keep you very very busy.
Going into The Mixed up Mind of Mr Crabheal, we had no idea what to expect. Yes we had seen the game in its build stage, but even that didn’t prepare us. All we knew was that a team of very experienced enthusiasts whose opinions we trust and respect, said it was TERPECA worthy (this was before the awards were announced), so we had to give it a try.
To give you an idea of the scale of this game, if I had to guess how many puzzles were contained within, I would say around 36, plus a few more on top of that for good measure. I can’t recall how many we completed but it definitely wasn’t that many!
The great thing about a game with so many puzzles is that there is pretty much guaranteed to be something for everyone on your team. After we play a game we will take detailed notes of puzzles so that we can remember what they were and we can make sure our reviews are as detailed (while remaining spoiler free) as possible, I just checked our notes for this game and our notes on puzzles alone are 1,000 words so that gives an idea of how much is going on with Mr Crabheal.
As an overview of the puzzle types you can expect to find in this game; audio, colour, wordplay, observation, logic, following directions, and even some physical type puzzles – but nothing over the top, and I’d guess that this room could possibly be classed as accessible (worth checking with the venue though).
In this game you have a rough idea of how well you are progressing, but it’s not until the end when you really find out how you’ve done. I love endings like this, and can really only think of one other game that captivated us in the same way with this style of ending, it was almost like being on a game show.
There is so much going on in this game that I’m surprised we didn’t have more help from our GM than we did, but saying that, it’s actually a great thing about this style of game because if we got stuck on something we could simply move on to something else and then come back to it later.
The occasions where we did need some help, Joseph chimed in at the perfect time to stop us feeling frustrated or lost on where to go next.
Of course, we didn’t just have help from Joseph during our time in Mr Crabheal’s Mind, oh no, Mr Crabheal was an ever present force who would kindly chime in each time we placed a tile – although that’s not to say he was always helpful.
Escape from the Room have created a game here that should be enjoyed by not only the general public, but also enthusiasts, which is not always an easy feat. It’s great to see a growing trend where escape rooms are designed to keep you in the game for as close to 60 minutes as possible.
This game is not about escaping, and your final score comes in the form of a percentage. From what I understand it’s actually almost impossible to get 100% (unless you complete everything in 5 minutes) as your score is made up of how many things you get right and how long you took to complete – we got a score of 79.23% and had 2m 20s left on the clock, and we were non-stop.
Team: 2 players: completed in close to 60mins with 79.23%
Address: Escape from the Room, Depot Road, Epsom KT17 4RJ
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.