“Don’t forget the dog!”
If you go down into the woods today you are in for a big surprise…
Dear Reader, if you have already looked at how we rate rooms you will already know that our ratings lean heavily toward the customer experience. A fantastic GM and a great company ethos, or a member of staff going above and beyond to make our experience memorable can improve the ranking of an otherwise average room. Conversely, a poor customer experience can drag down the rating of an otherwise decent room. We had paid a visit to Escape Peterborough in March 2019, and unfortunately, our experiences in Espionage, Witchcraft & Wizardry, and Contagion, left us feeling flat. Eager to prove that our experience was a fluke, Kyle and Ryan invited us back to try a few more games. It took a few more months, but finally schedules aligned, and we were able to make the trip back.
We arrived and following a brief chat with Kyle, one half of the team that operates Escape Peterborough, were led up the two flights of stairs, stopping outside the room. Here we received our story and our standard health and safety briefing. I had little clue what the premise of this room would be, only that it would involve a cabin. As we stepped through the door, in search of our way-ward dog, it was pretty obvious Escape Peterborough have started to up their game.
While the Cabin has a difficulty rating of 5-stars on Escape Peterborough’s website, it is certainly achievable with a team of two experienced players, and I could see larger teams of less experienced players still doing well. I suspect that this difficulty rating comes more from the non-linear game structure, the volume of tasks, and a few clever tricks, rather than from the difficulty of the puzzles themselves.
Puzzles were varied, but relied primarily on traditional escape room-style puzzles that would result in combinations for a variety of padlocks, although there were a few notable exceptions. The majority of the tasks required logic and observation, but didn’t rely heavily on searching; you will need to have a good look around, and play with everything; most of what you need is right in front of you, but there were a few clever/sneaky hiding places, which resulted in us needing a little bit of assistance.
Even standing in the hallway, it’s clear that the set design for this game is leagues above the games we had played at the venue previously. The Cabin is newer than many of the other rooms at Escape Peterborough, and it shows; the decor certainly made for a more immersive experience, even before we entered the room. Rather than a standard door, we found a mural of a chain link fence (complete with a ‘No Trespassing” sign on the door) and the forest behind. Stepping into the room, we were met with an impressive set, complete with a cabin in the woods, grass under foot, and an atmospheric soundtrack. The lighting was particularly low to add to the atmosphere; a torch was provided, but only one for the entire team. Unfortunately, this did result in a few moments of “difficulty by darkness,” but actually wasn’t much of an issue, as the lighting was generally sufficient enough for most puzzles to be completed without it (there are a few exceptions where the use of the additional light makes things much easier, though.)
The Cabin impressed me, with distinct, well-themed areas to explore. I would have loved to have seen fewer padlocks (some items had 4-5 locks to unlock in order to get through) but even this fit into the theme in a way, as we were trying to break into a deranged hunter’s cabin in order to rescue our dog, and one might expect to find any number of locks on such a building. But the distinct areas kept the game interesting, it flowed well, and had the bonus of a clear, if completely unexpected, ending.
Unlike our last visit, we weren’t informed that clues could only be requested after the first ten minutes. I have a feeling that this was an oversight, and ordinarily players will be told this, but luckily we were able to find a starting point quite quickly and didn’t need any clues for some time.
We did eventually need to request a bit of help, which was delivered through a screen inside the room. I was loathe to request clues, as this was the primary area where our experience fell down with our last visit. But, our experience with Kyle as our GM was miles away from that of our previous visit, with help delivered almost immediately after we decided we needed it with no need for a crazy dance in front of the camera to get his attention, and even a few timely nudges when we were being particularly dim.
After our first experience at Escape Peterborough, I was hesitant to accept the invitation to give the company another shot; this honestly could have gone one of two ways, but I’m happy to say the team at Escape Peterborough have indeed redeemed themselves. I have no way of knowing if our second experience was infinitely better simply because everyone was aware that we had had a poor one before, or if this is indeed the norm, but I’m hopeful that the first was indeed a fluke, and that most customers receive the treatment we did the second time around. As for The Cabin, it’s a solid, well thought out room, and worth playing if you’re planning to visit Peterborough.
Team: 2 players
Address: 23 Church Walk, Peterborough PE1 1SB
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for these tickets, but this has not influenced our review.