Dark, but not a Horror room
Legend states that the Vampire Lord and his clan awakes every thousand years to appease their thirst for blood.
Can you vanquish his heart in 60 minutes to save humanity?
Like Nottingham, Reading is a bit of a mecca for escape room enthusiasts thanks to the abundance of great companies and games that are located there. We were staying in town after flying back from our escape room trip to Athens and decided to cap off the break by playing a few of the rooms in Reading that had so far eluded us. We had just played Ram Raid at the other Escape Reading location and now it was time for The Vampire Slayers.
Having played some truly amazing and quite terrifying games in Athens we were quite certain that any scares that may be lurking in The Vampire Slayers would be a walk in the park compared to what we had just experienced, and we were right. This is a dark theme but it just has a few minor jump scares and nothing too terrifying.
When we arrived we were greeted by a familiar face, Jacob. Jacob had been our GM when we had played previous Escape Reading games so we knew we were in good hands. We sat on the comfortable sofas while he went to check that the game was ready, and in no time at all he returned to give us the health and safety briefing.
Once we were all caught up on health and safety, Jacob disappeared and then reappeared in character to take us to the game. Outside of the entrance to The Vampire Slayers, Jacob proceeded to provide our story brief and issued us with a very important tool, a torch.
You’ll pick it up from the name of the game, but this is obviously a darker themed room, both in terms of story and brightness. Despite being a dark room, we were issued with a torch and there were also (fake) candles that could be used to provide extra light, but we never really found the lighting to be an issue for us.
Everyone has a different level of scare that they can take, but I wouldn’t class this as a horror experience. Yes, there are a few jump scares and creepy effects, but that’s as deep as it goes into the horror realm. The ambient music, atmospheric lighting and occasional sounds added to the immersion and provided extra avenues for the light scares.
There was nothing particularly impressive with the set design, but we found a good sense of adventure and distinct differences between the spaces we encountered. Early on it’s more like a study so a very tried and tested theme for escape rooms and not a hard one to pull off, and later it gets a bit more adventurous with set design.
I gather The Vampire Slayers is one of the earlier games at Escape Reading, and this is reflected in the puzzle style and number of padlocks in the game, although saying that there was a little bit of tech used too. The game played out in a relatively linear manner with one puzzle leading on to the next.
Despite there being a number of padlocks, this game had really good signposting so we knew what went where and we very rarely had to try a combination on multiple padlocks. One could argue that the signposting made the game a little too easy in places, but I get the impression that this is more of an entry level game and is likely frequented mostly by inexperienced teams.
Due to the linearity of the game I wouldn’t really want to play it in a large team, especially if they’re experienced escapers, as there will likely be times where team-members would have nothing to do. As a team of two though, it worked well, and would probably still be great fun with four. We split up a few times but that was mostly just to explore the space as when it was time to solve a puzzle there was really only one puzzle that could be solved at that particular moment.
Either we clicked with this game, or the puzzles were on the easier side, but in general they were: observation, searching, tactile/physical, wordplay, spatial relations, and a small use of colours. Strangely, my favourite puzzle was probably the simplest and cheapest to make. Solving it felt like I was cheating somehow, but after the game we asked our GM about it and he confirmed we solved it correctly.
Jacob did a great job, as always. He’s one of the most enthusiastic and generally happy GMs that we have come across and we know we’re going to have a good experience when he is our host.
If we needed any help (which we didn’t as this game really did click) then all we had to do would be to ask. The clue would then have been displayed on a screen in the room and accompanied by a raven noise so that we knew to look. This screen was also used to display our countdown timer.
This wasn’t the hardest or scariest of games, but all the puzzles clicked and we flew through it. Probably not a challenging room for experienced players, but it was a solid and fun game that we were glad to have played.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 31:25
Address: Unit 5, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7QF