Word from France, you have one hour to get TOP SECRET British intelligence to safety. Axis airstrikes are INBOUND. Climb and Crawl through the rubble of this bombed street of York.
Before going to Escape Hub we’d been hearing a lot about Inbound, how it was leaps and bounds ahead of their other games (perhaps excluding Curawood’s Garden) so we were keen to give it a try. Having just played Brenchley and Laughing Lair we were feeling suitably warmed up and ready to see how Escape Hub had upped their game.
For Inbound we had a new GM, Andy, who was very friendly and more than happy to have a chat with us about escape rooms and our experiences – always a good start. Andy took us down the hallway to a heavily decorated door/wall that was the entrance to Inbound, there really was no missing it and it always sets a good tone when a company spends time to carry the theming outside the room.
Outside the room, Andy gave us the health and safety and room-specific briefing, although he possibly missed out one key thing from the health and safety briefing which could have made things interesting had Liz not been quicker to spot something than I was! Anyway, briefings out of the way, we were given a satchel for collecting our evidence and then we entered the room to start our mission.
I think what I particularly enjoyed about this room is that all the puzzles were on theme and felt authentic. The puzzles were mostly logical deduction that resulted in observational codes.
There was a good amount of searching involved but I wouldn’t really class this as a search heavy room. The room played out in a multilinear fashion so Liz and I were able to split up and work on different puzzles simultaneously. Certain puzzles then brought us back together as we moved from space to space.
If padlocks aren’t your thing then you may not be a huge fan of this room, but there were one or two mechanics which were cool and were fun to interact with.
Escape Hub really have upped their game with Inbound and the quality of their set design was leaps and bounds above Laughing Lair and Bletchley. With distinctly themed areas to explore, this really did feel like an adventure through WW2 streets.
With the soundtrack playing in the room and a few extra effects for added atmosphere, this was a very immersive experience. Perhaps unlike some of their other rooms, Inbound felt like it had more of a story and as we progressed on our mission there was a nice sense of reward and progress as we found the evidence we needed.
As I mentioned early, there was one point in the room where had Liz not been quicker to spot something I could have potentially done something stupid. Having spoken with a few other people who have played this room, and finding out they nearly did the same thing, I wonder if there should be a bit more of a warning here.
I’m not sure how accessible the room would be for those who need a wheelchair, we couldn’t see how it would work in certain areas, but it would be worth contacting the venue to see if it would work.
To add to the sense of adventure, the ending was fun and felt very in keeping with the overall theme, think ‘Great Escape’. Although it’s worth noting that you’ll need an element of mobility here (we were later told there is a workaround for this).
The only downside for this room for me was again the padlocks. I don’t mind a few padlocks here and there, but multiple padlocks on one item will always feel lazy and takes away the sense of progress. If you see a box with three padlocks, getting one unlocked doesn’t give you any additional clues to open the others. I can understand why they did it, but it will never be my favourite.
Fortunately, we weren’t alone on our mission and we had a handler who was in central intelligence who could give us a call with a clue or nudge when needed. As you’d expect, these clues came via an era-appropriate telephone and were in character. We needed one gentle nudge as we were too close to see something open when we triggered it.
There was no timer in the room so the concept of time was lost in Inbound. I normally like a timer, provided it fits the theme, but I didn’t feel like it was lacking here.
Our GM, Andy, was watching us closely and monitoring our progress and when we completed the room, he was there to greet us and receive the intelligence we had collected. There’s nothing worse than finishing a room and then standing confused in a corridor waiting for someone to arrive for what feels like an eternity.
We completed this room as a team of two and that felt like the perfect size, I definitely wouldn’t go bigger than a team of four as it may get a bit cosy.
I love a good WW2 themed room and Escape Hub have certainly produced that here. Forgot about their older rooms, they’re heading in a new direction and it’s looking good!
Team: 2 players – completed our mission in 35:48
Address: 39 High St, Maidstone ME14 1JL