During a visit to Fishyland, the town’s brand new visitor attraction, you decide to try out their state-of-the-art, immersive experience. Kitted out with Scuba gear, you get to dive into a large, high-tech aquarium and become up close and personal with the marine life!
All is going well until, suddenly, a freak storm plays havoc with the electronics and the aquarium lid slides shut with an audible clunk. Trapped underwater, with only 60 minutes of air in your tanks, you’ll need to find a way to survive!
For a long time, Cornwall has been a big hole in our escape room map, so when we were down there on holiday we tried to fit in as many as possible. We had already played Tumbleweed by Houstrap at their Indian Queens location, so we thought it made sense to pop to their Bodmin venue to see their offerings.
Housetrap Bodmin is on an industrial estate on the outskirts of town, it’s not the most salubrious area but the good thing is that it has plenty of parking and a pretty decent bakery just around the corner. Their website does also state that they don’t have toilets on site, so it could be worth having a tinkle before you arrive, just in case.
When we arrived we were welcomed by our GM (for both games), Lauren. We had a nice chat with Lauren before getting to the serious business of why we were there, so it was on to the health and safety briefing and then the room specific briefing. In Aquarium we had two missions (if we had time), first was to save ourselves by pulling the plug and draining the aquarium, second was to save Myrtle the Turtle.
Covid-19 Precautions: We were the only team on site. We wore masks in the common areas but were able to remove them in the game. Hand sanitiser was also provided.
Probably the best way to describe this room would be to call it ‘cute’. It wasn’t anything fancy but the set fit the theme well and had the usual things you would expect to see in an aquarium – think boat, lobster pots, rocks, and of course, fish. From what I remember there may have been some ambient aquarium-esque noises but equally I may have just imagined that.
This game didn’t compare to the design of Tumbleweed but it’s the type of room that I’d imagine families would particularly enjoy as it looks very child friendly. Aquarium is one of those games where you can see what you have to do, and it’s within reach at all times, but you have to solve a number of puzzles before you can finally complete it.
The game is pretty accessible, but there is one part that will require some bending/crawling and I can’t say I saw any possible way of getting around this. Other than that, it was all on one level and there weren’t too many obstacles dotted around.
Aquarium could be a good game for new/inexperienced teams as it plays out in a linear manner which means it is quite clear where you go next after solving a puzzle. Saying that, we struggled with this game, really struggled. I don’t know why but we found this game much harder than any other of Housetrap’s games and managed to ‘pull the plug’ with only 10 minutes to go, and only saved Myrtle with 3:40 remaining – cutting it very close for sure.
I’d guess that the puzzles weren’t particularly hard but they just didn’t gel with how we think and I’m sure we were over complicating things. There was; lateral thinking, observation, logic, pattern recognition, searching, wordplay, and some physical tasks, and all puzzles fitted to the theme.
We found one puzzle in particular that we felt lacked signposting, or at least to us it did. Once it was explained, it did kinda make sense, but it felt like a bit of a leap to us.
Lauren was lovely and did a great job as our gamemaster, and we certainly kept her busy while we were in the Aquarium. For this game, you are limited to five clues. I’m not sure what would happen if we used all five clues and got stuck, but I assume we’d be on our own and destined to fail.
When we needed clues we would request them by pushing a doorbell. Once requested Lauren quickly put them up on the screen in the room and they were normally enough to get us back on track. I don’t recall how many clues we needed but I’d guess it was around 3-4 (like I said, we didn’t click with this game). This screen was also used to display the countdown timer.
This game would probably be a good choice for a family if you’re looking for an escape room near Bodmin, enthusiasts also may enjoy it, but for us it just didn’t click. The game had a cute feel to it but the puzzles weren’t our cup of tea.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 56 mins
Address: 7 Paardeburg Rd, Bodmin PL31 1EY