You and your group are very experienced paranormal investigators with a special interest in demonology.
It has been a while since you have heard of any interesting cases until you found this story about some suspicious events happening at Loke Lake. Several children have gone missing within a short period of time, and no one can figure out why. The only lead you have is a mysterious cabin that is on the lake’s perimeter. Many people are claiming that something paranormal or otherworldly is happening here.
You and your group have decided to go investigate what is really happening so you can put these rumors and legends to rest and prevent these terrible things from happening again.
Once you arrive at the lake, you follow a series of clues to what appears to be the bedroom of a boy named Ben. You quickly find some video footage and realize that this paranormal activity is much bigger than you ever expected.
In years gone by, whenever we made the trip to Somerset to visit family, we were always thrilled to find a new escape room company to try out or a new game at a familiar venue. But now that we’ve relocated from London, travelling for our escape room fix is a little more difficult than just hopping on a train, so we get even more excited to discover a new local company – especially when they have big plans. LogicBox in Highbridge emerged onto the scene over a year ago, but due to various lockdowns, have really only had the chance to actively operate for what probably equates to less than six months. But the owner of LogicBox, Tom, and his team have taken the downtime to make sure that everything is exactly the way he envisioned.
In August we made the short journey over to Highbridge to play The Portland Heist, and thoroughly enjoyed the game (Yes, even with my general ambivalence towards heist-themes, I had a grand time). So, when we found ourselves (mostly) caught up on reviews to write and a totally free afternoon, we decided there was no better time to make our way back to LogicBox for their other game – The Mystery of Loke Lake.
This time around, the gates to the industrial estate that houses the venue were open, and we parked just outside before heading inside to enjoy the comfy sofas in the reception area. This time we were also able to skip the informative health and safety video and instead took some time to indulge in a bit of a chat with Tom, the owner of LogicBox and our GM for the day, and Rebecca, a new member of staff getting to know the ropes.
But of course, we were there to play the game, so as our chat wound down, Tom proceeded to hand me one of the creepiest looking dolls I have ever seen (Gord kindly volunteered me to look after it) and began to tell us about a teenager named Ben. But we weren’t just there to hear stories, so without further ado, we left the comfort of the sofas and made our way to Ben’s bedroom to solve The Mystery of Loke Lake.
Covid-19 Precautions: LogicBox are still asking customers to check in with Track and Trace, and requesting that both customers and staff continue to wear masks in public areas, and preferably still in the game as well. There are plenty of places to sanitise hands, and the company have left ample time between game slots to ensure that games have time to be thoroughly sanitised.
As we stepped over the threshold into Ben’s bedroom, the television flickered to life, with a video from Ben himself, giving us a few more details to work with, but then the timer began counting down and it was up to us to solve the Mystery of Loke Lake. Ben’s bedroom was decorated as expected for the bedroom of a teenaged boy – a bed, desk, some shelves, a dresser with a TV and games console on top, plus some school work, photos and band posters – I’m sure you can picture it already. With the initial search completed, we found a starting point and began to follow the clues left behind.
The Mystery of Loke Lake plays out in a very linear manner, although we were tricked into thinking it wasn’t thanks to one little puzzle that could be solved at any point. The linear structure makes the game ideal for those that are new to escape rooms. The linear structure also makes it easier for the game to develop the narrative a bit further, and as we delved further into the game, we found things were taking a very dark turn. To be fair though, the exceptionally creepy doll that we brought with us from the lobby should have given us some clue to the nature of the game. The Mystery of Loke Lake isn’t a live actor horror game, but it’s definitely got some creep factor to it, and a few very dark moments (literally and figuratively). For players that aren’t fond of the scares, don’t worry, it’s just creepy, not jumpy or terrifying.
The underlying narrative behind The Mystery of Loke Lake wasn’t especially powerful, but it was present, and the reveals helped to keep the pace of the game steady, as the game built towards the eventual climax and the inevitable finale. The ending of the game was clear and satisfying, and along with a few great “Ah-ha!” moments from the puzzles, you can’t really ask for much more.
Players that hate padlocks are unlikely to be impressed by the abundance of locks in this room (apparently Ben was very concerned with his privacy.) Of course, there’s something to be said about the satisfaction of entering a correct code into a padlock and feeling the shackle give way as you pull it, so we don’t mind so much when locks abound. Thankfully, it was never overwhelming, although there was little in the way of signposting to let you know which padlock might open when you found a four-digit code, but there were also a variety of different lock styles to ensure that there was some variety, and plenty of times where only one code could possibly fit one specific lock.
But really, that variety of different tasks that I love in an escape room came from the puzzle styles themselves. It’s not just see a code, put in a code, or solving an equation for four digits. There were plenty of different puzzle styles, including simple observation, some minor searching, logic, codes, pattern recognition, and more.
The Mystery of Loke Lake uses a tried and true method of clue delivery: Audio clues over a speaker system. Tom and team have opted to not put these in character, although with a teenage boy that’s disappeared and a supernatural theme, there’s certainly scope to do so (otherworldly voices from trapped interdimensional entities would definitely be a character choice). But either way, the game doesn’t suffer from it – if players have gotten to the point where they need to ask for a clue, the immersion has already gone a little bit.
Tom has GM’d a few games for us before, so he knew to keep an eye on us, and was ready with a nudge to get us back on track when we asked. It’s just typical that the nudges we needed were because we’re terrible at properly searching and investigating everything. But as frustrating as it is when that happens as a player, it’s a testament to the puzzle design when as search fail is the only thing that really tripped us up.
The Mystery of Loke Lake is a solid game, with a nice linear flow and solid puzzles, making it a good choice for escape fans of all experience levels. Plus, it’s just spooky enough to be a great choice for anyone in Somerset looking for a little bit of creepiness this October (although it is enjoyable year-round!) Either way, LogicBox are planning grand things and aiming to put Somerset on the Escape Room map.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 41 minutes
Address: Unit 6, Works 22, Bennett Road, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4PW