Easily the best thing to do in Elephant and Castle!
Turns out the rumours are all true. We’ve found something interesting in orbit around Neptune…”
Step aboard the ailing Russian rust bucket Phobos-17, we’ve got a mission for you. Somewhere in there is the score of a lifetime. And even though lifetimes ain’t what they used to be, that’s still pretty big.
Rumour is there’s some high grade Uranium tucked away in a lab. Just like mummy used to make.
Lead-lined panties on standby. You’re gonna need ’em.
Thanks to the wonderful monthly news that comes from Ken at Exit Games (check it out), I happened to see that Phobos-17 was closing down at the end of the year and as it had such positive reviews we just had to fit it in before it went, so we did.
We’ve been to some odd locations for escape rooms but this one probably wins the award for most inventive use of space. Phobos-17 is situated in what can best be described as a shipping container complex, but conveniently there is a bar container, a toilet container, and a few eating containers – all the containers you could possibly need.
We arrived and were greeted by our Captain who was very jovial and wore a rather striking hawaiian shirt, he gave us a brief intro and the back-story as to why we were there and what the urgency was, then he let us onto the ship and time began.
Immediately we were impressed with the setup and level of detail he had managed to fit into a shipping container, and we had no problem identifying where the puzzles were and where we should start. It was also surprisingly spacious and as a team of three it felt like we had the perfect number to take on this task.
The room flowed well and we went from one puzzle to the next, at times each of us were working on different things and we were all kept busy. When we entered the second compartment the awe of what could be achieved in a shipping container continued, Mostly Harmless really do deserve credit for their set design.
Later in the game something happens which adds to the excitement/stress/fear-of-failure and although your first instinct is to not like what is happening, you go with it and it makes you step up to the next level. There was a surprising amount to do in this second room which at first glance we didn’t expect there to be, even one puzzle that was a bit tricky made sense once it was explained to us at the end by the GM (we got lucky on that one).
I did wonder how this room was going to end and still keep the theme going, after all how many entrances or exits can a container have? But once again they did well to keep it on theme and the reason for why we exited where we did was perfectly reasonable.
After the room the GM took some time to have a chat with us and explain different areas of the room and his plans for the future of his company. It’s always nice to get this facetime with the mastermind behind these creations and once again, as with so many other rooms, there was so much enthusiasm there that you really hope he succeeds. We came out of this room on a high and wanting to do more (one room is never enough), everything about this room was fun. I really hope that Mostly Harmless are able to find a more stable location somewhere and can get creating some more rooms, if they do, we’ll be there to check them out.
There was a mixture of puzzles on Phobos-17 and it was nice to see such diversity. On one puzzle we completely missed how we were supposed to get it but somehow Liz worked it out without a clue (I was very impressed, she obviously paid attention in school). On puzzle was a little bit frustrating but that was more down to our communication than anything else, when we were on the same wavelength things suddenly clicked.
It’s quite surprising how immersed you can feel in a shipping container, but Phobos did it and as soon as we went in we were loving every minute of it. Elements were looking a bit tired around the edges, but then when your room is going to be closing in a week or so why would you bother to make it perfect?
The GM/Captain was truly great, normally I am not one for character actors and find them annoying me more than anything else, but this chap was spot on. He reminded me of the character of ‘Nigel’ from Jumanji (2017) but as if he was dropped into Red Dwarf.
Clues and hints were delivered by the Captain shouting into the room to you – sounds primitive but for what you were doing it actually kept with the theme.
This room is now closed as of 31st December 2018 due to the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle. The owner has a great background of creating experiences so hopefully he reopens another room in the future. His latest thing is an ‘Escape the Jacket’ game where you have to escape from a straight jacket!