A solid heist game
Anytime there’s money or valuables involved the stakes are high. Especially when you’re toe to toe with someone that will stop at nothing to get what they want. The twist? You’re assuming the roles of the thieves.
Ok, first confession, that snippet above isn’t the full story for this game. The full story is like a novel so we took the very short summary – but if you like a good background story then check out the Logic Box website to read it in full.
Somerset is a bit of a void for escape rooms, you can count all the escape room companies on pretty much one hand. Saying that, there’s now a new kid in town and they have big ambitions. Logic Box have opened up just outside of Highbridge, just off the M5 and close to Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-Super-Mare (perfect for the summer tourist season).
Logic Box are on an industrial estate with plenty of parking and very good signage so you really can’t miss them. When we arrived the main gate was closed, but a quick phone call to the phone number displayed on the gate and we were in. First impressions of the venue were much better than we expected, with plenty of space, comfy sofas and chairs and even complimentary soft drinks and sweets.
We were greeted by our GM for our game, Daisy. Daisy was friendly and welcoming and made us feel right at home. Once we were settled and had had a good chat about escape rooms, she left us while we watched the health and safety briefing that was played on the TV in the reception area. With that out of the way, she reappeared with a briefcase that we would need for our mission, and proceeded to give us a little insight into what our mission was, then it was time to complete our heist!
Covid-19 Procedures: Great covid precautions were present. There was plenty of hand sanitiser present in the game and in reception, a thorough clean and decontamination between teams and masks were required for common areas. Daisy wore her mask at all times and we were told we could remove ours while in the game (we left them on). Track and Trace was available to scan and gloves were available if you wanted them.
Probably the first thing that I should mention is that this room appears to be fully accessible. I’m not 100% certain so it’s probably worth checking with the venue, but it looks like wheelchair users may be able to play this game, even the toilets at the venue were accessible. Early on in the game, there is one ‘hurdle’ but only one member of the team needs to do this and then the rest of the team can join in an easier way.
When we entered the room, we soon realised we hadn’t entered the room – play it, you’ll see what we mean. This was a fun way to start the game, and once we properly entered the room we were presented with a news report on the TV that explained the rest of our mission – when this ended, our timer began.
This was a game that we were pleasantly surprised with. Ok, it was nothing really impressive or ‘wow’, but it was solid and clean and the story flowed well. Perhaps because we played when the game/company were still pretty new there was no wear and tear, but it still had nice attention to detail, even down to the atmospheric weather noises and lightning that was appearing through the window.
Before we entered the room we were told “Everything in the room has a purpose, even if that purpose is to distract you”, we’ve heard this before and normally it means there will be a lot of red herrings just to frustrate us, but actually this game bucked the trend and we didn’t find ourselves getting annoyed by anything.
We’ve played a few heist games now, but this one very much reminded us of Pandora Heist in Southampton. Our mission was to make it out with a valuable artefact and then take others with us in order to obtain the maximum amount of value for our troubles. Everything in the room had a value and we were given information to work out what to take, although I’m pleased to say we did a little better in The Portland Heist than we did in the Pandora Heist.
The Portland Heist had a few missions in one, so the aim of the game wasn’t just to escape. We also had to find the key item of value, choose two more items to take with us, and there was an additional mini-mission thrown in (which it didn’t matter if you failed or not, it just affected your take-home value).
As you may expect from a game with so many missions, there were a variety of puzzle types; Observation, logic, searching, communication, wordplay, codes and cyphers, translation, and some more tactile puzzles. There was one puzzle that we have seen before in a few other games and personally, I’m not a fan so it always gets left to Liz to complete. It’s still pretty cool, but I just find it frustrating.
Most of the puzzles resulted in combinations for padlocks, and there were a lot of padlocks. That was probably our only frustration in this game was that when we got a code, we had many different padlocks to try it in. Although experience has taught us that generally if you have a set of drawers with padlocks on, you always start with the bottom padlock and work up. As the gameplay was very linear, there wasn’t really any possibility to split up, so if you got a code then that was the code you needed – although later in the game there was some chance to split up.
The puzzles could quite easily be enthusiast traps, as the simplest answer really was the right one, and we were very close to overcomplicating some things, but in general, the signposting for arriving at the actual solutions was pretty much spot on.
Daisy did a wonderful job as our GM, although we made her life easy as we didn’t actually need any clues. This game clicked with us so once we got going, we got into our rhythm and got through with no problems.
Of course, saying that, there was one thing we failed at. There was the additional mini-mission that we were given, which required Daisy to play a character (which she did well), but we hadn’t taken in all the information at our disposal, so we got it wrong – whoops!
As you would expect for a heist game, clues were delivered via Walkie Talkie (if needed) and I have no doubt that Daisy would have got us back on track in no time at all if we had got stuck.
The TV in the room that gave us our mission briefing was also used to display the countdown timer, so we knew exactly how long we had left to get out. As it turns out, we should have taken more time to check our loot as we could have got even more, but we got out with 25mins left and were still happy with our modest fortune.
A really strong first game by a new company and we’re sure we’ll be back to check out their other game soon. The Portland Heist had clever puzzles (don’t overcomplicate) and good story and set design. This would be a fun game for both enthusiasts or ‘regular’ people, especially families.
After our game, we spoke with the owner, Tom, and he told us of his plans for his venue. Keep an eye on Logic Box, if everything goes to plan, there could be a lot of games to play here!
Team: 2 players – escaped in 35 minutes
Address: Unit 6, Works 22, Bennett Road, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4PW