Creepy, but not scary
The year is 1903, a series of unexplained and gruesome events have summoned your team of paranormal investigators to Victoria Road in Swindon. The local priest, Father Isaac Chambers, has disappeared while working at the residence of Mr & Mrs Gallagher. The homeowners recently fled the property following the horrifying death of their daughter.
You arrive at the Gallagher household to determine the cause of the recent events and uncover the truth of Father Chambers’ disappearance. Your search of the house is interrupted by curious whispers and unsettling sounds drawing you to the old study at the top of the building. No sooner have you crossed the threshold than the door slams shut behind you.
You are trapped, there is no escape and you are not alone.
Swindon never seems to be our destination and always just somewhere we’re passing by, so as we were passing by once again we wanted to fit in a room or two. Co-Decode was a no brainer as the first room we’d done there, Professor Dunstan was wonderful, but we needed another. Having completed Cops and Robbers a few months ago and really not enjoying it we thought we’d give Incarcerated another go. Fortunately, The Tortured Soul was a very different experience.
We met our GM, and also the owner, in the reception downstairs, and after a quick chat we headed up stairs for the usual health and safety briefing which took place in a secondary waiting area. Our GM then took us to the room where he delivered the room specific briefing and then left us to it.
One element of this room is difficulty-by-darkness which we’re never a fan of, but if you get over that then there is a good mix of puzzles that work with the story (avoiding padlocks) and have a good mix of searching and logic.
One puzzle later in the game felt like quite a leap in logic and is probably not something that you’d necessarily expect to have to do, so a little signposting here may have been more helpful.
We also wasted a fair amount of time trying to find a specific way to do something only to find out it wasn’t needed. As previous puzzles required things to be done in a set order we (wrongly) assumed that this needed to be too, not sure if that was poor puzzle design or overthinking by us, but it was a bit annoying.
Story plays a big part in this room and you’ll find that if you listen and take in all the story then you’ll probably have an easier time completing the room. Of course if you want to just solve puzzles then you can ignore all the elements of the story.
When you first enter the room you’re in a study which is suitably dark and creepy, in this first area the darkness wasn’t a major issue, but later on it really was. There were lanterns provided but not enough for a team of five and this became more problematic as the room progressed meaning some of us were standing in the dark with nothing to do as we couldn’t see.
Everything in the room fitted the theme and they did a good job to create the feeling of moving through a house, but they managed to still keep a few surprises to keep you guessing.
There is one element of the room that comes later that was a good way to change up the feel of the puzzles, but the way they did it seemed a bit rushed or unfinished. A little bit more time spent to disguise the mechanisms would have made a huge difference and help keep the mystery of the room.
Unlike Cops and Robbers, this room avoided padlocks and went for as much tech as possible, and they did a good job with it as it made everything feel more ‘era-appropriate’.
There was no timer in the room at all which was probably a good thing as it would have shone more light into the room than they’d have wanted. Clues were delivered over a speaker system by a suitably creepy Abigail. Any clues/nudges needed were delivered at appropriate times and showed our progress was being monitored.
If for whatever reason Abigail has issues there were backup walkie-talkies which could be used for clues.
This room was much better than we expected and as a creepy (not really horror) room, it was good fun. The only bit that was lacking was the ending. I’m sure it’s not easy to make exiting into a corridor fun, but it was just a bit anticlimactic.
If you’re not a fan of horror rooms then I wouldn’t worry about this room, yes it’s creepy but it’s not a horror room at all. There is one jump scare but you can very much see it coming.
Team: 5 players
Address: 165/166 Victoria Rd, Old Town, Swindon SN1 3BU