Welcome to Jumanji!
Maybe the chest was locked to protect YOU from whatever’s inside. You opened the chest anyway. And a board game started taking over your home. You have 60 minutes to defeat the game.
Gillingham is not far from Chatham, and Mythologic is only a short 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from Hysteria in Chatham, so of course, it was a no brainer to make a day of escaping and make the trek up the hill and through the park after successfully averting the Zombie Apocalypse in Aftermath.
We arrived in good time and were warmly greeted by Chris, one of the owners and our GM for the evening. After a nice chat on the comfy benches with a drink to recover from our hill walk (I’m being dramatic, it really wasn’t that bad), I took full advantage of the phone charger in the locker where we stowed our belongings (awesome touch by the way) and settled in for the briefing.
Mythologic have been quite cagey in their marketing regarding the exact theme of The Game, but the image was enough to give it away to this child of the ‘90s. Afterall, Jumanji was a staple in my house whenever we were home sick from school (and I love the sequels too). Knowing the theme, I was really looking forward to the nostalgia trip that was sure to be The Game.
The Game had a very traditional feel in terms of the types and styles of puzzles on offer. Padlocks were prevalent, with many of the codes derived from traditional Escape Room-style observational puzzles (some of which were really rather sneaky), making this an ideal game for the slightly less experienced
However, it wasn’t all padlocks and codes, and The Game did well to integrate a variety of puzzles and tasks to keep us guessing, using some more interactive puzzles with a few bits of clever tech, and some silly fun thrown in for good measure. I didn’t feel that there was much in the way of searching, at least, there weren’t any keys or clues “hidden” in particularly tricky places, and the multi-linear structure of The Game allowed us to move on and come back to puzzles that were stumping us, or split up and work independently from one another, making it a good choice for larger teams.
Elements of The Game were dark, but never too dark, and there were plenty of torches throughout the room for good measure, so it didn’t fall victim to my least favourite tactic: the dreaded difficulty by darkness. Even with my poor low-light vision, I didn’t feel hindered, although there were a few points where having a solid beam of light on a clue was necessary to see what was needed.
I was truly delighted by the journey that we were taken on by The Game. The set was beautifully designed, with distinct and different areas, that flowed from one to another and the attention to detail was impressive. Even the timer fit into the theme; there were no digital timers on screens here. Rather, a giant hour-glass to give a rough indication of your time, as though you were really trapped in a giant board game.
I was particularly delighted by the homage to both the original Jumanji and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Tasks involved references to characters and events from both the original 1995 film and the sequel, so young and old alike are sure to get some of the references. In fact, we were actually able to skip ahead at one point thanks to my knowledge of the original film (yes, I am that sad). We found the clue later on, so it only served to confuse us momentarily. But the star of the show, aside from the set itself, which I particularly enjoyed, was the centrepiece of The Game: the board game you’re there to complete before it takes over the world.
The Game started with an eerie soundtrack, but as we progressed, the background noise fell away. This was likely a specific choice, as there are a few points where it is imperative that you are able to hear things issued from The Game, but I can’t help but think that the telltale Jumanji drums would have added to the experience; they certainly would ramp up the drama, particularly as you reach the end of your adventure, and complete your final task.
Help was available in the form of little Alan Parish, who had disappeared into The Game. In the first instance, Alan was able to pass notes through the post, but eventually, should you need more assistance, he was eventually able to pass through a walkie talkie and continued to communicate with us that way once the post was no longer an option.
There was very little that stumped us in The Game. In fact, puzzles were perfectly logical, and our only clue requests came about simply from a failure to observe or search properly. But Chris knew exactly how much information to give to get us back on track when we did finally admit that we just couldn’t see where to go next.
I frequently come across people asking, “What’s a great room for kids?” Well, look no further than The Game. Of course, it’s great fun for adults on their own (a bit like how Disney is more fun without kids!), but between the theme, the set, and the types of puzzles and tasks throughout The Game, this room is one of my top picks if you’re looking for something the entire family can get involved with.
Operation Puzzles Room Design GM/Clues Excitement
Team: 2 players – escaped in 31:36
Address: 63 Green St, Gillingham ME7 1AE