The Curse of Egyptian rooms (for us)
Your great grandfather, Thor Heyerdahl, disappeared decades ago while researching the lost pharaoh Senutep. After years of carefully studying his notes, you have determined the location of the ruined Temple of Senutep and you believe that is where you will find out what happened to Thor.
The mystery is not the only thing that drives you. Thor entering the tomb released a curse. This curse has been following your family through the years. You must solve the mystery of the Pharaoh Senutep, the leader erased from time, in order to survive.
Gather a team of those you trust the most, and put your minds to the test, in The Curse of Senutep.
Now that we’ve relocated to the Southwest from London, we seem to be visiting Cardiff more frequently. And why not? There are a few great games in the city after all. On our last trip to Cardiff, we finally visited Exitus for the first time to play Virus Tinkerers, their charity game in partnership with Tenovus Cancer Care. Needless to say, we loved Virus Tinkerers, and Exitus, so we were itching to get back to play both The Curse of Senutep, and their latest creation, Coco Loco.
Upon arrival, it seemed like most of the team was there to greet us, including Watson, the escape room dog. Their cosy bar area had been rearranged, and our record in Virus Tinkerers broken, since our last visit, but it remained a lovely space to sit and have a drink or a chat with Ellie and Ceri, and give Watson all the belly scratches he wanted before our game. But eventually it was time to leave Watson, and Ellie led us to the entrance of the Temple of Senutep, where we would have one hour to break the curse.
We have a bit of a, shall we say, “history” with Egyptian-themed rooms – we just do not do well at them. At all. It’s almost like we have an ancient curse following us, and whenever we set foot into a replica of a pyramid with a sand-covered floor, my brain departs entirely. Like, I might as well just take it out and put it in one of the canopic jars that inevitably make an appearance in a game. So the question is, would we not only break The Curse of Senutep but would we break the Egyptian room curse on Review the Room?
Exitus have paid great attention to detail for many elements of their design. Unsurprisingly, hieroglyphs feature quite heavily throughout The Curse of Senutep, and I gather they’re used in a pretty accurate way (not that I actually know anything about the hieroglyphs). Even the numbers we came across used the Ancient Egyptian numerical system. This, along with flickering torchlight, an absence of modern padlocks, and even the sand on the floor all helped to make the game more immersive by allowing the modern world to fall away. The puzzles blended in with surroundings and were totally thematic furthering immersion, and the blend of atmosphere and volume of content the game a fast pace as we raced against the clock.
The first obstacle to overcome in The Curse of Senutep is knowing where to start. The game is almost entirely nonlinear, with a few inevitable choke points, making it ideal for larger groups, or smaller groups that are really looking for a challenge. The temple is filled with secrets to uncover and hidden tech to give the game an element of magic, mystery and adventure, culminating in finally breaking the curse and making our escape.
We found The Curse of Senutep to be the most challenging of the games at Exitus, and I don’t think it’s just because we’re historically terrible at playing any game that contains Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The nonlinear structure is one of the things that makes it quite challenging, but the puzzles themselves aren’t all quick wins. While every puzzle was incredibly fair, and well sign posted, some do require a bit more thought than others, with layers and multiple steps to conquer.
Translation of hieroglyphs is something you’ll need to get used to throughout The Curse of Senutep, and often this is just one of the layers on top of what would otherwise be a totally straightforward task. The lack of modern padlocks meant that solutions to puzzles weren’t just four to five digit codes, and many of the puzzles had a more tactile approach to solving them. Observation, logic, maths, pattern recognition, and more all make an appearance alongside the hieroglyph translations, providing a pleasing variety to the puzzles that resulted in some very satisfying “Ah ha!” moments when we finally figured them out.
Along with the story of our Great Grandfather and the Curse of Senutep, Ellie gave us a few pointers on how a certain part of the game worked in her briefing. She then turned the hour glass and left us alone in the darkened temple. I wish we could say we gave her a nice relaxing hour or so to sit back and enjoy the show, but we definitely needed a few
nudges shoves back in the right direction.
Rather than prompting us when we were being dim (and let’s face it, the puzzles were fair enough that any hints required were purely based on our own inability to think), Ellie did require us to set aside our pride and actively ask for assistance. But whenever we did ask, her responses were immediate and she knew exactly what to say to get us going again.
If you find yourself in Cardiff, it would be a crime not to stop by Exitus. You can’t go wrong with any of their games, but The Curse of Senutep is the perfect choice for large groups or challenge seeking enthusiasts.
Although we did manage to escape, I’m sad to say the Egyptian Room Curse on Review the Room remains present and going strong. We are still categorically terrible at critical thinking the moment we’re confronted with sand and hieroglyphs. But we still had a good time 😉
Team: 2 players – escaped in 55minutes
Address: 1st & 2nd Floor, 90A Queen St, Cardiff CF10 2GR
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.