A safe choice
Notorious gangster Tommy Neil is one of the most wanted criminals in the country. You have been chasing his tail without success for nearly ten years, his luck seems to be running out – his right-hand man has turned himself in to the authorities. He is currently in a safe house before being entered into witness protection. As the lead investigation team in this highly coveted case, it is your job to interview the witness and extract everything possible to finally convict Tommy.
Lucardo is likely a name you’ve heard many times as they are synonymous for quality escape rooms and if you’ve ever asked for a recommendation for a game/venue around the Manchester area, then they were probably recommended. Lucardo have two venues, Manchester (Virginia House, The Prison, UoM: Entrance Exam, Gem Runner and Espionage), and Rawtenstall.
It was day five of our escape room road trip and the first stop of the day was Rawtenstall to play all four games at that venue. We arrived a little bit early and had a stroll around Rawtenstall which is a lovely little town (we even had free parking which was a bonus). When it was closer to our start time, we headed down to the venue where we were greeted by Simon, one of the owners.
First impressions of Lucardo Rawtenstall were, as we expected, very good. On entering the building we met Simon who was behind a protective screen and we proceeded to take a seat in their rather spacious waiting area. The waiting area was bright and airy and should you be thirsty, they also had (non-alcoholic) drinks for sale.
After a nice little chat, Simon turned on the TV in the waiting area which was used for the health and safety briefing (updated for COVID times) and also the room specific briefing. Having just played (and thoroughly enjoyed) Corruption, it was time to turn our attention to Safe House (which is technically the prequel to Corruption).
Covid-19 Procedures: Possibly some of the best precautions we have seen so far. Thermometers were on hand to check temperatures, screens in place to keep staff safe and they remained socially distanced at all times. There was sanitiser all around the place, including in rooms and there was also a mid-game sanitiser session at the 30 minute mark. Masks were worn by us and staff, and there was thorough cleaning and long gaps between teams (we didn’t see any other team).
As previously mentioned, the video brief for this game took place via a screen in reception, but it did feature someone in character. I would guess that in non-COVID times, this may be replaced by an in-character GM.
This room certainly didn’t have the same sort of ‘wow’ factor that we have seen in other games by Lucardo, but then again, you wouldn’t expect a safe house to be impressive. Saying that, the room felt like what I would imagine a standard safe house would look like, simple and non-descript. I think what we liked the most was that the room wasn’t just the room, it had overflowed into the hallway and staircase leading up to the entrance (there are a number of steps to climb to enter the room).
In terms of story, it was a bit odd that the safe house was right next to the police station, but this is an escape room so there’s always an element of disbelief. The room design complemented the story and there were some nice surprises that added a little bit of tension to the experience.
If you’ve been around the escape room world for a while then there are certain names that you hear come up a lot (normally associated with bloggers or owners), keep your eye out in this game for some names that may seem familiar – there’s also a great use of space where these names appear.
With a clear and logical ending, we knew our mission was over and that thankfully, we had succeeded.
Lucardo make quality rooms, not just in looks but also in puzzles, and Safe House was no exception. This room contains the usual escape room puzzle types; observational (a lot of those), searching, pattern recognition, and logic. All the puzzles were fair and satisfying although I must admit, we did struggle with a little bit of the searching – something that I would guess 99.98% of teams find instantly, we completely missed.
As you may expect, being in a safe house/police station a lot of the puzzles resulted in padlocks, but there was some cool tech utilised that we particularly enjoyed. With good signposting present we never struggled to know what went where. Lucardo also kindly provided a notepad which made some of our tasks a little easier.
There was a screen in the room that I believe showed our time but to be honest, it’s all a blur now and I really can’t remember. This screen was also used for providing clues, and yes, that included the clue we needed for our ridiculous search fail.
When we needed the clue, Simon was obviously paying attention as he was quick to ask if we needed the help, and then provided it right away. At one point we were also in possession of a walkie talkie, but this was used for immersive purposes to drive the narrative, rather than for providing clues.
Yet another fun room by Lucardo. We’d been holding off playing the online avatar version of this game as we wanted to play it in real life, and we’re glad we did. We enjoyed Corruption a bit more than Safe House, but this game is unlikely to disappoint.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 33 minutes
Website: 33 – 35 Kay Street, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, BB4 7LS