Impressive Set, but that’s it
Based on the true story of the lost passenger in South Kentish Town tube station in 1924.
In 1924, soon after South Kentish Town was closed down, a train stopped at the station by mistake, and a man absentmindedly alighted. The train departed, and Mr Brackett disappeared in the darkness. No one knows if he ever escaped.
The time has come to descend into the Ghost tube station and investigate the paranormal activity!
Get your blood pumping and brains working!
Facebook has finally realised that targeted ads for escape rooms are more effective on me than ads for bizarre things on Amazon (though it is interesting to see what sorts of things their algorithms think I will buy.) I have been seeing ads for Mission Breakout for months, and I must admit, I was intrigued. To add an extra reason to go, the company is based in the disused South Kentish Town Station, and I do love interesting buildings.
We arrived outside South Kentish Town Station, and using our secret code to enter the building, we made our way down the steps to the venue, where we were warmly greeted. We stowed our belongings in a locker, and then led to a holding room where we filled out waivers and received a health and safety briefing, alongside the team that was there to play Codebreakers. And with the legal bits out of the way, it was time to begin.
And begin we did. The start of The Lost Passenger is possibly one of the most interesting and immersive I’ve come across; in fact; I wasn’t completely certain our time had begun (it had, but to help with the immersion, there is no timer!) The Lost passenger kept the twists and excitement coming, and was an enjoyable game, but sadly, it was let down slightly by the ending.
The vast majority of the puzzles required interaction with the set around you, rather than solving for padlock combinations. In fact puzzles were so integrated with the set, at times lines were blurred between what felt like puzzle solving, and what you might actually have to do in a real situation, making the game feel pretty immersive.
That isn’t to say that the puzzles were flawless, however. At times we were unclear on whether we were actually doing the right thing, and the penultimate puzzle actually felt like it was complete guesswork due to the design of the game.
There was one exception to the lack of combinations: the finale. With all of the effort that was put into the game ahead of it, the final puzzle fell very flat. At the time, it felt completely off-theme, and while the method of finding the combination was really rather clever, that didn’t make up for the fact that this was an abrupt about turn from everything that led up to it.
The backstory of the Lost Passenger is actually based in truth. In fact, there are poems detailing the story in the hallways outside the room (I discovered this as I was waiting for my turn to use the toilet prior to being locked away for an hour.)
Designers of the game didn’t simply rely on the coolness of the venue to carry the game. While they did use what was already in place to enhance the experience, they did still manage to make each area distinctly different, and take players on a journey, with some excitement right from the start.
Game play progressed in a very linear fashion; we played as a five, and I felt this was at least one person too many, possibly two or three too many, as a least one member of the team (often more) was often waiting while the others solved a puzzle, sometimes in spaces so tight that you couldn’t even observe what was going on. I think playing as a smaller team (optimally three, certainly no more than four) would have increased the enjoyment factor of this game substantially.
Set design, decor, and theming were without a doubt the highlight of this game. With the story based on the true events of the venue, they played well into actually utilising the building to its full potential, with props and decor that we were occasionally hard pressed to determine what was original and what was added. However, in that respect as the game unfolded, it became harder to determine what was actually part of the game, and might help you progress further, and what was simply there for atmosphere. That’s not to say that there were red herrings, but with so much to play with, it was possible to focus on a puzzle out of sequence, and the game would register that this task had been done, but wouldn’t show any sort of reaction to the action until the previous puzzle was completed, leaving us a bit confused at points.
Clues are delivered via Walky-talky. While this is not my favourite method, it does fit in relatively well with the theming (you are paranormal investigators after all), and worked as it should. Though we did have one or two squawks to remind us to actually take it with us, as my team entrusted it to me and I have a habit of leaving these behind. We did have to request one or two clues, and help was always delivered promptly. Generally, the rest of the time, we only had messages to remind us not to take anything with us – presumably so the room could be reset.
Mission Breakout’s website proclaims their games to be the most immersive in London. While the set and integrated puzzles certainly lend weight to that claim, one company practice completely breaks the immersion. As we progressed from one space to another, a door would lock behind us, and we were able to hear as the room we had just left was reset. I understand that time is money, and the space is large, but this certainly disrupted the flow a bit for us.
Team: 5 players
Address: 141-145 Kentish Town Road,NW1 8PB