The best pies in
Just a little off the top! this could be more than you bargained for, you heard that Mr Todd’s was the place to go for that close shave, but maybe a little too close, a strange smell in the air raises suspicion, you decide to leave but the door is locked, can you get out before he returns?
Our last visit to Mythologic occurred over two years before this visit, but in that time, they’ve opened not just new games, but an entirely new venue. Given that The Game was one of my favourites that we played on our last foray into Kent, I was very much looking forward to seeing what the team had been up to over the course of the various lockdowns we have all had to contend with. This visit to Mythologic was part of a mini Kent roadtrip, and together with Amy and Ian (our friends from Brit of an Escape Habit) we had already taken on the killer clown in Needlenose. Gord and I had heard a great deal about the plans for that game on our last visit, but the game I was actually most looking forward to at Mythologic was Mr. Todd.
Mythologic seem to have a propensity for making games with narratives that are incredibly familiar to many people. Yes, they have a bank heist and CSI-themed games, but what I’m talking about are the likes of The Game, (an homage to Jumanji), and Needlenose (is the story of a sewer-dwelling clown that murders children, ringing bells for anyone?). They also now have an Aladdin-themed game in development! Mr Todd carries on this trend of adapting familiar stories into thrilling escape games by drawing direct inspiration from Sweeney Todd, the well-known Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Having survived the sewers and defeated Needlenose, we took the opportunity to have a short break with a glass of water, and of course, discuss all things escape rooms with Chris, one of the owners of Mythologic and our GM for both games. Eventually though, it was time for the next challenge, and this time Chris led us down the corridor and through a non-descript door, with only a few final words on the barber that uses the space above Mrs. Lovett’s Pie Shop.
We stepped through the door into Mr Todd’s barbershop and were almost immediately transported to another era. With atmospheric lighting and only a few flickering lanterns to add a little extra light for close up inspection where needed, it was easy to imagine we were in a 19th Century barbershop. As we discovered with Needlenose, once again, the set design for this game has been ramped up a notch, and Mr Todd took us on a journey through the famous locations of the story of Sweeney Todd.
The attention to detail in the set was impressive, with props that felt robust, clever little hiding places, and plenty of things that could be touched and manipulated. Little things, like voice overs in character of any written materials we found, made all the difference, both in ensuring everyone was taking in the story, but also alleviating any eyestrain in low lighting.
The narrative was ever present as we progressed through the game, with bits of story interspersed through with the puzzles, weaving the two together. Those familiar with the story of Sweeney Todd may find themselves at either a slight advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it. If you’re well versed in any of the various forms the story has appeared in over the decades, you’ll find the narrative of Mr Todd to be largely unchanged from that which is known, with many familiar character names making an appearance throughout. If you’re not familiar enough with the story to recall names and the roles they play, don’t worry, you will find everything you need within the game; in fact, lack of knowledge may even keep you from doing what I did, as I confused myself a bit by knowing a little more than I should have early on.
Thanks to the narrative, the game often had a linear feel, but there were times where we encountered parallel puzzle paths. Even so, the story built, and we found ourselves totally immersed in the game as we did our best to escape the Mr. Todd.
None of the puzzles felt out of place, in part thanks to the tasks being integrated with the story. We came across a variety of challenges that gave everyone in the group an opportunity to shine, catering to our diverse skill sets. Many puzzles were quite chunky and tactile, and provided an opportunity to interact with the beautifully built set. There were still a few padlocks to contend with, but whatever the locking mechanism, it was accompanied by a satisfying, and fair puzzle. Sign posting for tasks was there, but cryptic enough to help create some wonderful moments of feeling clever once we finally figured them out.
A few of the puzzles stand out in my mind as being totally clever, but also beautiful in their simplicity. I recall numerous times where we got excited over something as simple as a hiding place that was cleverly disguised, but we were guided to perfectly. Logical and lateral thinking challenges, tested both halves of the brain, but the puzzles were, without failing, totally fair.
While I would have loved slightly more immersive clues in the form of a squeaky little voice-over from Tobias (the orphan) because Sweeney Todd has him locked away somewhere, or perhaps from Mrs Lovett because she’s grown a conscience, the classic escape room clue delivery methods are classic for a reason. In the case of Mr Todd, that classic clue delivery method is written clues on a screen, along with a timer.
Our GM was Chris, and as expected from the other games we’ve played at Mythologic, Chris was an attentive host and GM. Not that he really needed to be, as the puzzles were intuitive enough that we didn’t need clues, but every now and then, we would receive a little nudge back on course, perfectly timed to avoid frustration.
My favourite Sondheim musical is Sweeney Todd, so of course, my nerdy little musical-loving heart was in heaven in Mr Todd’s. The set was beautiful, the puzzles pleasing, and the story stuck very closely to the one I know very well, making this game a delight to play.
Team: 4 players – escaped in 51:56
Address: 41-43 Canterbury Street, Gillingham, ME7 5TR