A beautiful exploration into the world of Warhammer
Passengers on pilgrimage aboard a trader ship, Evadere The Tempestas, on course to holy Terra. Pilgrims have been escorted to their quarters deep within the bowels of the vessel, upon entering they are told the ship will soon translate into the warp and the journey will begin. The ship stirs into life, players hear a distant rumble and feel a faint vibration as the engines wake. As the warp jump is made, the warp core and several ship systems fail, causing massive damage to the craft. Players have no choice but to leave and find out what has happened or risk being trapped in the crew quarters while the ship is slowly torn apart. Here the real journey begins… battle through the Warp Storm and escape the ever seeping Chaos.
If there was ever a game that I was stupidly excited about playing, it would be Immaterium at Escapologic (Nottingham). We had planned to play this game not long after it had originally opened, then a pandemic hit and that scuppered that. So we made sure that as part of our epic escape room road trip we would be visiting Nottingham and finally playing Immaterium.
It’s probably worth noting now that any problems we encountered and mention in this review will likely be fixed when you play as they hadn’t actually been open long when we played so there were a few teething issues that they were trying to iron out (pretty minor though).
As a child, I used to collect Warhammer figures, I never actually worked out how to play the game, but I really enjoyed the Warhammer universe, and collecting and painting the figures was a lot of fun. So for that reason, when I saw that Escapologic had worked in conjunction with Games Workshop to create this game, I knew it was one that we would have to play.
If you love Warhammer then this is a game you must play. If you don’t care about Warhammer, then this is still a good game as you don’t need any knowledge of that world to play and enjoy Immaterium. They say you can play with five players, but probably four would be the sweet spot as it could get a little cosy.
Our GM for this game (behind the scenes, obviously) was Ed. Ed took us down the very familiar corridor at Escapologic, and proceeded to give us the health and safety and room specific briefing. I must admit, I’ve never wanted a briefing to end as much as this one, I really wanted to get stuck into this game!
Covid-19 Procedures: The waiting area was modified to give teams individual booths to wait in. We did see other teams while we were on site but we never came close to them. Screens were used to keep staff safe and masks were worn by all staff and players. There was also plentiful hand sanitiser around the place and track and trace was used (we visited in May 2021).
“Created in conjunction with Games Workshop, Immaterium is a simultaneous cooperative team experience. For the first time ever, players will be able to jump into the world of Warhammer 40,000 and experience its myriad dangers for real. They will touch, smell and feel all areas of the ship and everything on it – including a talking Servitor. Up to five people at a time can immerse themselves in Immaterium, and explore the deepest recesses of a star-faring vessel facing imminent doom.”
I think that snippet taken directly from Escapologic tells you everything you need to know about this game. Obviously this game is Warhammer themed and is licensed to use the IP. Knowing that Warhammer World is in Nottingham, it seems like quite a shrewd move by Games Workshop and Escapologic to team up and make what is essentially a truly aesthetically beautiful game.
When we first entered the world of Immaterium, we found it rather dark but once our eyes adjusted we had no problems with seeing anything. Each room we encountered seemed to improve on the former and the more we played, and explored, the more we realised that the ship was taking us on a journey. After all, if a ship is having difficulties, you would expect systems to crash and escape routes to be changed, be prepared to move around a lot!
Immaterium, at times, has tight and potentially claustrophobic spaces and you will need a fair amount of nimbleness and dexterity as you move through parts of the ship. Expect atmospheric noises, smoke and light effects, and if you’re a Warhammer fan, be prepared to geek out immensely.
To put it simply, Immaterium is a beautiful game and simply must be played. It starts off slow but soon ramps up and then the ending is turned up to 11.
We didn’t appreciate it, or realise at the time, but this is one of those rare games where there were no padlocks. This was great, both in terms of the story (they wouldn’t have fitted), and in the fact that it was a little dark in places, and entering padlock codes in the dark is not easy. What you will find in Immaterium, is a nice mix of puzzles that require physical interactions or entering codes on keypads (no, these aren’t normal keypads).
The puzzles were quite varied and largely involved observation, searching, and tinkering with your surroundings. Really, this game wasn’t about solving lots of hard puzzles, this game was about immersion and just taking in and enjoying the world you’re in. Ok, there were puzzles and they were decent, but for us this game will be remembered for the world we explored and not the puzzles we solved.
Annoyingly, we didn’t really click with this room and I’m not sure why. It could be because we were tired, or it could be because we were feeling a bit toasty that day, but we were slow to get started and the frustrations just seemed to keep coming as we needed a few clues to get us through. We faltered in the first room as we didn’t communicate something well and we made an assumption that we shouldn’t have made. Once we got over that hurdle we did pick up a bit, but then later another puzzle seemed a bit too much for us and we needed our GM/Servitor to give us a bit of a push.
Once again, no walkie-talkies here, and in an escape room first (it must be, surely) clues were delivered by our friendly cyborg Servitor pilot. I don’t think he had a name other than ‘Servitor’ but I like to think his name was Simon, Simon the Servitor has a nice ring to it.
I don’t know how many clues we needed, but probably at least two and these were mostly for failing to notice something or for generally being a bit dim. When we did need a clue, Simon chimed in to provide us with assistance. Unfortunately this is where we encountered a minor teething problem, we couldn’t really understand what he was saying. With all the atmospheric noises going on it was hard to understand his cyborg accent so at times this added to the confusion. Ed did explain that they were still playing with the levels for the audio so this will likely already be fixed by the time you read this.
Possibly one of the most visually stunning games that we have ever played. Ok, the puzzles didn’t particularly click with us but that won’t stop us recommending this game. Make sure you stretch before you play, you need to be quite mobile as you navigate around the ship.
Escapologic, please do more collaborations with companies – you’re really rather good at it.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 40 minutes
Address: 21-23 Castle Gate, Nottingham NG1 7AQ