In the witchcraft trials of 1607, two women were convicted in Derby despite protesting innocence. For centuries, their woodland cabin remained untouched.
Now their story continues: one of mystery, deception and magic…and you will become part of the legend.
Work together as a team to solve the puzzles and escape. Something wicked this way comes…
On the sixth day of our escape room road trip, we had just played The Signal at Make Your Escape in Derby, next up was Spellbound – the game we were dreading the most. I say ‘dreading’ as we had heard there was a lot to get through and at the time we booked we had to contact Make Your Escape to allow us to book as a team of two (that’s now changed and you can book from two to ten players for Spellbound).
Our GM, Harry, gave some of the story to the room while we were in the corridor and once we were safely situated in the room, there was an additional in-character briefing that took place.
Harry pointed out that Spellbound is actually based on a real Derbyshire legend of witchcraft. Apparently the Bakewell Witches were hat makers and their trial was the second largest of its time – so it seems like quite an honour to now have an escape room inspired by them.
Before entering Spellbound, players are normally blindfolded, but thanks to a certain pandemic, this is no longer the case – although by the time we get this review published that may have changed. So we entered the room and got locked away in our separate cells, and we waited for the briefing before we could begin – it got a little delayed due to some tech issues, but got there in the end and we were off!
Covid-19 Procedures: Make Your Escape had a strict mask policy (which we liked), we wore masks the entire time as did all staff. There was plenty of hand sanitiser around the building and we didn’t see any other teams while we were on site.
Spellbound is, in our eyes, the most advanced game at Make Your Escape, plus the space is massive! It’s not often you see a room that says it could cater for 10 players, and in this case I think it probably could handle that many.
The set was great, it looked perfect for the story and could have quite easily been a cabin right out of the 16th century (ignoring the tech aspect, obviously). The space is all on one level and stays contained, but it is a huge space and there is plenty to keep you occupied for the hour you have – don’t get complacent, there is a lot to get through.
I wouldn’t really say that the story of the game progressed as we played the game, it was more the ‘here’s everything, have at it’ approach, which worked, but it was certainly overwhelming.
Personally, I think that Spellbound was the most impressive of the games at this venue. I know people wax lyrical over Utopia/Dystopia, but Spellbound just seemed to have upped the level of immersion, and also the quality of the puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, the other games were good, but this was a challenge and who doesn’t love a good challenge?
Spellbound had arguably one of the best opening puzzles that we’ve ever seen in an escape room, talk about starting strong! It took us a few minutes to work out what was going on but once we got there, it was glorious. This is one of those puzzles that relies on multiple skills, including communication, the perfect start to any split start game.
Once we broke out of our cells the game opened up massively into a totally non-linear game where we were able to work independently of each other to try and solve everything in time. Only towards the end of the did it bring us back together as we worked our way towards the finale.
There is a lot to get through in this game, and as a team of two we found that it was pretty non-stop for us to make sure we completed it. Not only was the space massive, but the puzzle types were extremely varied, encompassing; searching, maths, audio, logic, spatial awareness, wordplay, and some more tactile puzzles. One word of advice though, inspect everything carefully, sometimes you may miss something that makes a task much easier!
The puzzles were well signposted but Make Your Escape also give an extra little ‘sign-posting’ booklet that smaller teams are able to use. For the most part we tried to avoid using this booklet, and when we looked at it, it seemed to tell us what we already knew, but there were little bits of information which could be useful and would help stop the game being quite so overwhelming.
With so much to take in, it was nice that a number of slates and pieces of chalk were provided for taking down-notes, not as easy as paper and pen but it was better than nothing and kept with the theming of the room.
Ok, so one area where Spellbound didn’t quite stick to the 16th Century feel was the clue system. They have gone with the tried and tested method of putting a TV screen in the room and this was used for delivering any clues. I think we had a couple of clues in Spellbound to help us get back on track and they were delivered at exactly the right time.
One of the clues we needed was because we thought something was going to come into play later but actually we had everything we needed for it already, we just needed the GM to give us a kick and say ‘get on with it’. We seem to have a habit of overcomplicating puzzles so that was very much on us.
I don’t recall there being a timer in the room but there were periodic audio alerts to let us know how long we had left – and by the time we finished, this wasn’t long!
Spellbound is a mission, especially for a team of two. That’s why it’s normally recommended for 3+ players. It is achievable for a team of two, but it’s full on, with loads of puzzles and content to sift through – but from the very first puzzle, this game is a hoot!
Team: 2 players – escaped in 52 minutes
Address: 1st Floor, 4 Osmaston Rd, Derby DE1 2HR