It’s Jurassic Park… with zombies!
In a world where the infected kill & eat the living, how much time does anyone really have?
In a secret facility, a team is working on a cure to the zombie virus but communications are down and we need to send in a response team…
CAN YOU AVOID INFECTION & HELP SAVE HUMANITY?
We had time after finishing Motel California for a wonderful chat with Nikki and Rob whilst enjoying an excellent cup of coffee. One of my favourite things about meeting the owners of an escape room are these moments where you can just chat. It’s then that the passion for not only their own business but the escape room industry in general, really comes through, and I really enjoy comparing experiences, getting/giving recommendations for the next adventure, and most of all, hearing about plans for the future. We even got a sneak peek at Hysteria’s Christmas room, Advent Avenue, which I must say, looked pretty epic. We decided to forego it this time around… we really seem to struggle with holiday-themed games.
But alas, eventually it was time to save the world…again; Never a dull moment in the life of an escape addict enthusiast. As we had just played Motel California, there wasn’t much in the way of health and safety to go over, so once the coffees were finished, Rob led us to the facility door, gave us our mission, and we were off.
With a mixture of puzzle types, Aftermath kept us on our toes, and it was never a dull moment. Puzzles were logical and flowed, and with clear, but cleverly disguised, signposting, it wasn’t necessary to put a code into every padlock throughout the room, hoping one might open. After experiencing Hysteria’s first game, I was expecting a plethora of searching, with many sneakily disguised clues and artefacts. And while there were a few sneaky hiding places for clues and codes, Aftermath was relatively light on the search front, with most things “hidden” in plain sight. As such, solutions and codes tended to be based on your powers of observation and logical deduction.
But for me, the star puzzles were really those tasks that were not puzzles at all, but more physical, “real-world” tasks, immersing us in the world of the Zombie Apocalypse. The mix of these tasks, with some clever tech, and a variety of traditional and less traditional padlocks kept us guessing throughout as we tried to save the world.
Get the facility back on line, and find the cure; Aftermath was essentially Jurassic Park…with zombies. For those of you that aren’t keen on being devoured by the living dead, fear not, as all zombies are contained, and aside from a jump scare or two, the horror aspect is pretty tame. That’s not to say the game is tame, however. Hysteria have done an excellent job of creating a game with just enough tension in the atmosphere to make one feel as though a zombie could potentially be lurking in a dark corner or through a doorway.
Speaking of darkness, one of my biggest gripes in an escape room is lighting. As one might expect from a horror-themed room where part of your mission is to reboot the power, it was a bit on the dark side. However, it was atmospheric, and with plenty of torches, we had no trouble, even with my poor low light vision.
For us, playing as a team of two was ideal; the game has two potential starting points, but these quickly merge, and the game progresses in a linear manner. Larger teams of less experienced players will still find plenty to puzzle out; however, while the website says the maximum number of players is eight, for maximum fun, I would say up to four is the ideal number. Too many more, and you may find yourself watching from the sidelines.
It is worth noting that at least some of the team will need to be relatively agile, ideally the entire team. Although the game is located on the ground floor, and could conceivably be wheelchair accessible, I was unable to see a workaround for the section that requires mobility, and while those that aren’t able to crawl will be able to participate in many of the tasks, they will find themselves missing out on key parts of the game – it could be worth checking with the venue though just in case.
Clues and the timer were displayed on an inconspicuous screen in the room, which looked almost as though it was part of the research facility’s security system, making it blend into the decor seamlessly.
I love it when a GM is able to read the room and knows how to time a bit of help to keep the game flowing. Gord and I prefer to be clued when a GM feels we need it, rather than ask outright and disrupt the flow of the game, and while it didn’t happen often in Aftermath, there were a few points where we did run into a few things that stumped us, but this was purely down to our own stupidity, over complication, and once by making some assumptions based on outside knowledge, rather than looking at what was actually in front of us. But Rob knew exactly when to chime in with a nudge or two to prevent frustration and get us back on track.
With no shortage of excellent games in Kent, and having heard excellent things about Hysteria, I was afraid that the games might fall victim to hype. Spoiler Alert: They did no such thing. Hysteria and their games are completely deserving of the hype, and I am so excited to see what they do next.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 40:08
Address: 38A High St, Chatham ME4 4EA