An enthusiasts dream
Just borrowed some money from some bad people. You thought you’d gotten away with it, but they tracked you down and now they are calling in their debts. You have one hour to get them their million.
Fail in your task, and prison will be the least of your worries.
Having just returned from playing some truly world class games in Athens, we decided to stop off on the way home to play some games in Reading that had previously eluded us. First up was The Ram Raid – a game that we’d heard nothing but good things about from enthusiasts all over the place.
Two things worth noting about this venue; 1. Escape Reading have two venues and this is the one that is slightly further out of town (the same venue as Age of Magic). 2. To get to the games at this venue you do need to go up a flight of stairs and Ram Raid does have a narrow entrance and a good size step inside.
On entering this building you get to experience a pretty cool, funky-light-filled hallway – Tron Legacy-esque (maybe?). Either way, I quite like it and it’s nice that they gave some attention to what would otherwise be a boring and dark hallway. When we arrived we were greeted by our host ,Tom. We had a good chat with Tom before it was time to get down to business.
Fortunately, as we have played at this venue before so the health and safety briefing was quick (normally it’s on the TV screen), so we could just get down to business right away. Tom disappeared and then reappeared, in character, with his finest bank heist attire on. He proceeded to explain our mission briefing in the reception area and then led us down the corridor to the back of the van. When I say ‘van’, I mean it, Escape Reading had made sure the entrance to the game fit the story perfectly.
The Ram Raid is one of those growing number of games that are designed to try and keep players in them for as close to 60 minutes as possible. They do this by ramming it it full of puzzles. Think of this game like a ‘grab and go’ game – get in, get as much cash as you can, and get out, all within 60 minutes. I understand the most cash you can get is £1m, and somehow, we got the million – but what an experience!
Our time in Ram Raid was certainly not sedate. This was an adrenaline pumping 60 minutes of crazy. With music playing all the time it just added to the sense of pressure that we were already feeling, but the music was also used to help us know we were on the right track.
The game starts off sedately enough but it’s very much a game of two halves so don’t be fooled. I thought we were blitzing it, and then we weren’t. The use of space was done very well and it played through the story perfectly, showing us all the areas that we’d expect to see of a high street bank.
Ok, one or two areas of the game have obviously seen a bit of wear and tear, but I would guess that as this is a fast paced game, players have just been a little overzealous at times and it’s taken its toll on the room. Fortunately it was mostly cosmetic and I can’t recall anything that was broken or unusable during our experience.
Another nice aspect of this game was that it was very well lit. There was no crawling around in the dark here, I don’t actually remember if we had torches or not as I don’t remember ever needing one.
Possibly my favourite part of this game was what was essentially a progress tracker. As we went along, any cash we found had to be deposited into the back of the van. Once added to the van, the tally would add up and show us how much loot we were getting away with. When we reached the maximum amount possible, it changed to ‘WIN’ which was a nice touch and meant we could finally start trying to get our heart rates down again!
To try and talk about all the puzzles in The Ram Raid would be a nightmare and an essay in its own right, so I will skim over them as quickly as possible. Basically think of all the puzzle types that you’d find in any escape room and it’s probably in this game; searching, observation, physical, logic, spatial awareness, wordplay, codeplay, and colours. Some of the puzzles did rely heavily on colours so if any of your team are colour blind, they may need a little assistance here.
I believe Ram Raid is designed for teams of 2-6 players, and to be honest, I can’t see any problem with any team size in that bracket. At the top end you may find that you are getting in each other’s way a bit, but there is likely still plenty to keep your team busy, especially in the second half!
There was also a good mix of tech/keys/padlocks to keep us guessing. Some things were quite simple like finding a code and then putting it in a keypad or padlock, but others were a bit more of a surprise.
This game was clearly designed with immersion in mind; obviously we entered the room through the back of the van (nice), but even the timer in the room was on theme. It wasn’t just a countdown timer that would be out of place, no, this was a countdown until the bank opened – on theme, nice!
If we needed any help while we were robbing the bank, we simply had to ask for it and we never had to wait long for it. In fact Tom was keeping a close eye on us so if he saw us looking a bit lost, he dropped in a message at the perfect time. Our getaway driver very cleverly had managed to hack the bank teller screen so clues could be displayed on there for us to read – he’s a clever chap. Clues were accompanied by the honking of the van horn so we knew to go and check out the screen.
I can see why Ram Raid is an enthusiast’s favourite. There is a lot to do in this game, but you don’t have to do it all to be successful. This game will likely keep you locked up for most of the 60 minutes, and you’ll be non-stop running around solving some quality puzzles.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 57 mins
Address: 92B Audley Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG30 1BS