Impressive, right from the start
Your team of adventurers & archaeologists, enter an abandoned gold mine in the heart of the Mexican mountains, your mission is to find the hidden gold.
Legend says that the holder of the hidden gold of El Narangel will find the Lost Tomb.
The miners left subtle clues & hints, if you use all your skills you may find the hidden gold and ultimately the Lost Tomb but be careful they the miners won’t give up their gold easily.
Back when the Epic Escape Room Road Trip of 2021 was meant to be the Grand Escape Room Tour of 2020, we had made a booking to visit Extremescape. That was put on hold, of course, but we had always intended to make Disley a destination, so the moment it looked like we were going to be able to go ahead with our travel plans, we got back in touch, scheduling all three games for Day Three of the EERRT, which coincidentally was also Gord’s birthday. (And these games definitely made his day that much more special.)
Part of the reason it took us so long to plan a trip to Extremescape in the first place is that it was just a bit far; you can’t just hop on the train and be there in a few hours, you really have no option but to drive. But that means that the location is picturesque, has plenty of parking, loads of space for their truly epic games, and you may even be able to say hi to a sheep or two on the other side of the fence. With the effort it was going to take to get to Extremescape, there was no doubt that we would be playing all three games. (But let’s face it, we would have done that anyway.) The day began with the company’s first creation, The Pirate Ship, and ended with their newest, Viking. But in between was The Lost Tomb.
The Lost Tomb was the game that I was looking forward to the most out of all of the games we were to play on Day Three – and even better: it’s one of those rare, but sought after 90-minute extravaganzas. Since we had already received the general health and safety brief in the prison-themed foyer, we managed to skip that and head straight to the entrance of the mine for a bit more information from our host, Graham. Fully briefed, it was time to set off in search of the hidden gold that would lead us to the tomb.
Covid-19 Procedures: There were plenty of opportunities for washing and sanitising hands, both in reception and within the playing spaces. There are ordinarily lockers for belongings, but these were out of use to create fewer touch points (but it’s fine – just leave things in your car.) Extremescape have left plenty of time between games to ensure that rooms can be cleaned and aired thoroughly between teams. We were the only team on site for the duration of our visit. At the time we played, masks were required and worn at all times by both ourselves and all of the staff.
The Lost Tomb has an exciting and cinematic opening that shall live on in my mind for quite some time; it made me feel a bit like I should be wearing an awesome hat, wielding a whip, and moaning about how much I hate snakes. Now, I will be completely honest with you; I almost never read the description of a game before playing, and despite having literally just been briefed on our mission and the story of The Lost Tomb, once we stood in the jungle outside the entrance to the mine, I had completely forgotten that we would be going through a mine in order to find the tomb, so I was a bit confused and thought that I must have mixed up the name of the game when we made our way into an abandoned gold mine. But I’ll be honest again, I completely dismissed my confusion as I immediately became absorbed in the world Extremescape have created.
The high expectations that were set with the start of the game continued to be met or exceeded every step of the way with beautiful set design and clever puzzles that integrated seamlessly into the theming and building. Once we were through to the mine, the game opened up with multiple parallel puzzle paths, ideal for exploring. The set was full of nooks and crannies to explore, taking us on a rather epic journey, with plenty of highs and lows, with one or two surprises for unwitting players. The elements of the game fit perfectly into the narrative, and while the game is not particularly story-driven, the story was obvious in everything that we did as we raced toward the finale.
The puzzles were just as glorious as the set, with a blend of tangible/physical elements and more cerebral puzzles that would result in padlock combinations, but all still fitting within the theme and the narrative. The tasks and challenges throughout the game were varied, and kept us engaged throughout. The more physical tasks that were required were often things that one would logically do in the situation, while the more “traditional” puzzles encompassed everything from logic problems, codes and decoding, pattern recognition, observation, and even some lateral thinking. Maths also made an appearance (thanks for the paper to help work it out Extremescape), and I’ll admit, after melting my brain in The Pirate Ship on a particularly devious maths challenge, my heart dropped a little as it was handed off to me. But thankfully, the miners were nowhere near as mean with their calculations as the Pirates.
Of all the games at Extremescape, The Lost Tomb is the one that I think would be most suited to families (albeit with slightly older children – probably 8+), primarily because there was a fairly heavy search element in the first half of the game, giving something for the younger generation of puzzlers something to do if they’re not quite up to hard core solving yet. The searching is fun for all ages however (and even for those enthusiasts that hate to have a good hunt for things.) It even made sense within the narrative, since the story goes that the tomb can only be located once you find the hidden gold. Be warned though, while some of the miners protected their gold with fiendish puzzles, others just used some very sneaky hiding places.
While I long for clue systems that feel immersive and natural in the setting, I’m equally happy with one that gets the job done well, which is what Extremescape have opted for. Clues for the Lost Tomb were delivered through a screen in the room, accompanied by an alert noise to let us know that we should take a peek. Graham was just as astute as he was when we were floundering in The Pirate Ship and knew exactly when to chime in to let us know that we were off on a tangent with a few perfectly timed nudge back in the right direction.
Tomb Raiding Adventures are perhaps my favourite type of escape, and The Lost Tomb at Extremescape sits amongst some of the best I have ever played. While I can’t really choose which of the three games at Extremescape is the “best,” this is without a doubt my personal favourite.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 46 mins (90 minute room)
Address: Stanley Hall Farm, Stanley Hall Ln, Disley, Stockport SK12 2JX