Like a real-life Resident Evil, we even had guns!
Ever questioned your potential?
Wondered if you are capable of more?
The Krevokar Institute is now accepting applications for the world renowned Malum Programme. You have an appointment, don’t be late.
With a room description like that, we weren’t entirely certain what we were in for, but we were ready to sign up! The Krevokar Programme has two versions: Standard and Extreme. Though our successful escape from Zoe, and my (mildly) disturbing love of all Zombie films might suggest otherwise, I am a massive chicken and not overly fond of horror themes or live actors, so I was glad that only the standard version was available on the day we visited Dover.
We were instructed to arrive 15 minutes early, and we did, to the minute, whereupon we were warmly greeted by the entire contingent of staff. The waiting room was comfortable, although really only big enough for perhaps one, maybe two smaller groups, at a time, so I wouldn’t arrive much earlier than the suggested 15 minutes.
After a brief chat, that could quite easily have gone on for hours, the majority of the staff departed, and Gordon and I were left with Kym, our host. She delivered our mission briefing, and led us to the lab, where we were instructed that someone would be with us shortly. Of course, that was not the case, as the alarms sounded and we were plunged into darkness. It was now up to us to identify the infected and save the world!
The Krevokar Programme is closer to what I would call an immersive escape experience than traditional escape room, as your progress is driven forward by a strong narrative, with help from your agent on the outside, leaving you with an experience that feels more like a live-action video game than a room full of puzzles. Having experienced the standard version, I have a feeling you’ll feel exactly like you were dropped straight into a Resident Evil game if you opt for Krevokar Extreme instead.
I don’t like to rate a room on difficulty, simply because what’s simple and logical for one person, may not be for another. With that said, puzzles throughout The Krevokar Programme felt, to me, to be on the simpler side, though certainly not easy; in general, they just clicked with my brain, but they did take a bit of time to think them through. I suspect that if you book the extreme version they will seem less simple though – there’s just something about having someone or something else in the room with you that makes even something as easy as putting a key in a lock difficult. As it was, in the standard game, any bits where we did struggle, were generally down to search fails, which is about par for us.
In terms of the types of puzzles, there was the usual escape room mix of searching for keys or clues, logical deduction, deducing a few combinations for padlocks and combination key pads, and a few cool pieces of tech. What was nice about each puzzle though, was that each and every one was perfectly on theme, logical, and gave the experience a nice flow. There weren’t many puzzles in any given space, but a number of them required teamwork. As there were only two of us, this resulted in a rather linear game. Due to the room design, this will be true for any group, but with a larger team, there were definitely points where you could split up and quite easily divide and conquer.
Immersion started from the moment we walked through the door to Get Lost, as our GM, Kym, greeted us in character, and never broke once. From there, the immersion in the world continues with eerie noises, some “mood” lighting, and of course, a few jump scares. Even in the standard game play mode, there are a few moments that help to heighten the sense of danger, and impress upon you a sense of urgency, and, yes, even elicited a small jump and/or scream or two from me.
In terms of design, it’s a lab, which, lets face it, is relatively simple as far as aesthetics go (after all, it’s mostly just white paint), but there was a nice flow from space to space, with a creepy atmosphere, and a few really neat custom props/puzzles, plus a few moments of surprise as the space was revealed in ways I just wasn’t expecting
Clues and nudges were delivered via walkie talkie, which suited the theme well. The nice bit about this though, was that you didn’t need to use the walkie to ask for them. The fact that you are monitored throughout the game has actually been worked into the story, which allows your GM to become an integral part of your team, giving you nudges and exposition as and when required.
This is where a GM can really either make or break your experience, and Kym certainly helped to make it. In games we have played elsewhere where the GM is meant to be a character, perhaps another agent, etc., it’s almost jarring when they switch to another persona. This was not the case here, as we were greeted in character. This very simple thing adds an extra element for me to any escape room, and Kym’s sardonic comments throughout the game as she pointed out our moments of idiocy or lack of observation, brought an aspect of humour to the game.
As Gordon has been known to say, I will jump at a “duck fart,” and while I did jump at loud noises, the game we played was not overly terrifying, at least in my opinion. There were enough moments to really get your adrenaline moving, and fill you with a sense of urgency (if you’re naturally jumpy like me), but if you’re expecting to wet your pants in terror, this version isn’t that; if you’d prefer that, perhaps look at booking the Extreme version, but as it stands, the standard version of The Krevokar Programme is an excellent escape experience with a horror theme, which I would definitely recommend.
Team: 2 players (escaped in around 42mins)
Address: 143 Snargate St, Dover CT17 9BZ