Incredible. Beautiful. Quality. Perfection.
You enter the world of M.A.R.V.O as Volunteers looking to recover a Mysterious Artifact, all is not what it seems. Old stories and books give a glimpse into another world, a mirror world, a wonderland filled with powerful Artifacts. Has someone found a way to travel between them? You must search for clues, solve the mystery, recover the Artifact and try to escape, all before time runs out.
Marvo Mysteries is one of those companies that we have been hearing about since we started playing escape rooms, but for some reason we never made it down to play. They’re like one of those things we were saving for a special occasion, only for that occasion to never present itself. As it would turn out, playing at Marvo is the special occasion.
Although Marvo is located in Bournemouth, it’s a little way away from the main tourist area, but that’s not a bad thing as it means that there is plenty of reasonably priced parking nearby. The venue is easy to find thanks to the very detailed instructions and also the very impressive ‘shop front’. When you visit, make sure you take a moment to have a look at the front of their building, it’s pretty cool and shows the pride they take in everything they do.
Despite there being a very fancy frontage to the building, that isn’t actually where the entrance is, you have to follow a path around the side and then go through a gate before you finally find your way into what can best be described as a loading bay. If you’ve played Marvo’s online game, M.A.R.V.O Archives then this area will look very familiar (if you haven’t played it, then you really should).
This loading bay/holding area worked perfectly during COVID times as it meant that they could regulate teams coming in and out of the building. When we got the green light and were able to proceed into Marvo proper we were instantly in awe. The waiting area was like nothing we had seen before, it felt more like we were entering a cool museum rather than an escape room waiting room. If you’re a fan of The Collector from the Marvel universe, then you’ll love this – think about as many famous items from the big screen and chances are they are in here, it was just a beautiful space to be in.
I probably should talk about the game at some point, but literally everything about the experience on offer at Marvo is top quality, even the toilets! I can’t be sure but it also seemed like everything would be fully accessible too, there was one slight step at one point but I have a feeling that even that could be bypassed.
Once we got over the awe, we stashed our gear in the lockers provided, and our host (and co-owner) Lizzie proceeded to give us the health and safety briefing. Knowing what to do in case of a fire, we proceeded through to a secondary briefing area which was a bit more special and this is where we received our mission
Covid-19 Procedures: We were the only team in the building and as they have two identical rooms, they alternate between them to allow extra ventilation and cleaning. Track and trace was in place and masks were worn by everyone present when we visited in mid June 2021.
Marvo have gone for maximum immersion and this begins even before you step foot in the building. The welcome email you get really sets the tone and isn’t just the usual boring stuff you may get from other companies. However, once you step foot in the room that is really where the magic begins.
There is an incredible use of space in the whole building, including the actual escape room and everything we touched felt quality, with no signs of wear and tear. Marvo Induction was filled with some wonderful little easter eggs and plentiful “wow” and “ah-ha” moments. Literally every second in this room was a delight, even the ending (I do love a good ending)
There was ambient music playing throughout the game and additional narrative on video screens helped to drive the story along. While the game was dark in places it was never too dark, and they also provided the brightest wind-up torches we’ve ever seen.
During non-COVID times, Marvo have two identical rooms that they can run, so if you have a nemesis team or cocky family members, why not challenge them to a game and see who really is the best?
With fantastic sign-posting and a non-linear style of gameplay, Marvo Induction was a delight to play. We actually managed to bypass one puzzle but that turned out not to matter as it would have just signposted another puzzle a bit more, but we didn’t actually need it in the end.
There was a great variety of puzzles and we loved all of them; searching (some sneaky and in plain sight), observation, logic, pattern recognition, communication, directions, and more physical puzzles – this game has it all. These puzzles resulted in a mixture of padlocks, which were all signposted and only one of each style of padlock, and tech, some really cool tech!
This game just clicked with us from the start and we didn’t need any clues. If we did need clues, they would have likely been audio-based in the first part and then later in the game they would have been developed as part of the narrative. I have no doubt at all though that they would have been immersive and 100% on theme, Marvo only do quality.
As we didn’t need any clues we can’t really comment on how Lizzie was as a GM in action, but going on her intro and passion for their game, I’m going to assume she would have been great.
There was no timer in the room, which is fine, although it would have been nice if there was simply so we could have known how much time we had and slowed down – this is a game to savour and enjoy every moment of it.
Apparently, we now hold the record for the fastest ever team of two to take on Marvo Induction. This is a testament to a well-built game, with solid puzzles and incredible build quality. Don’t wait for a special occasion to play this game, get booked in now, you most definitely won’t regret it.
If you look up the word ‘Quality’ in the dictionary, it will simply say: Marvo.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 41 minutes
Address: 664 Christchurch Rd, Boscombe, Bournemouth BH7 6BT