Aunt Daisy was an engineer ahead of her time. A hundred years ago she built an adorable little robot out of pipes, springs, and boxes. He could even talk! Lest he should fall into the wrong hands, she dismantled him and sent him off to visit her friends around the globe.
She locked the blueprints for his construction in her father’s old deed box and secured the key with layers of puzzles and codes, which could never be solved until the robot returned.
Having been in lost luggage for almost a century, he has come home.
Can you unlock the secrets of Daisy’s kitchen, open the chest and revive the robot to find those elusive blueprints?
You have 70 minutes. The clock is ticking…
One game (or in our case, three games) never feels like enough, so of course, after a morning filled with adventures at Escapologic Leicester, on Day Nine of our Escape Room Roadtrip, we made our way to One Way Out in Oakham, to continue the fun. Between the two venues we did manage to take a break to enjoy a short walk in the great outdoors and a stroll around Oakham before travelling to the outskirts of town, and the industrial estate that houses One Way Out.
When we were planning our day, we had initially planned to skip Robot’s Return, thinking it was only a portable game. But after finishing early in Leicester, and looking for another game to add in, we realised our mistake: Robot’s Return can actually be played in one of two ways. Either as a 70 minute game in situ at One Way Out, or as a portable game that can be brought to your own location (distance allowing). One Way Out helped us rectify this mistake, and booked us into a slot for Robot’s Return, to make it our first game at the venue. And with the Covid check ins, and hand sanitisation out of the way, we found ourselves being led around the corner and into Aunt Daisy’s kitchen to receive our briefing.
Covid-19 Precautions: At the time we played in May 2021, we weren’t overly sure how strictly Government Covid Guidelines were being observed (for reasons that became apparent in some of the games). But masks were required, hand sanitiser was plentiful, games were staggered to avoid crossover in common areas, games were to be thoroughly sanitised between teams and NHS Track and Trace was in use. At present, the company’s website now states that masks are no longer required, but the other guidelines are still in place.
In 2019, Gord attended E.R.I.C. and had the pleasure of playing a little game called Coming Home, about a robot named Greg that had locked himself in a box and needed help to get out before his battery depleted, causing a total system failure. I haven’t played Coming Home, but was told it was clever and sweet. A number of other escape room companies must have thought so too, as there are now several places it can be played around the UK. One of those places was to be One Way Out, but according to our GM, and owner of One Way Out, Tessa, the copy they bought had a few problems, and despite multiple attempts to correct these, their copy of Coming Home never got off the ground. But they loved the idea so much, they created their own game, inspired by Greg; thus, Robot’s Return was born. (And Spoiler Alert: Gord thinks Robot’s Return may be even better than its inspiration.)
As I mentioned previously, Robot’s Return is both a portable table top game, or a full 70 minute escape game that can be played at One Way Out. When playing on-site, the setting for your robot adventure is your Aunt Daisy’s kitchen, and that is exactly where we found ourselves. The setting is simple, but charming, but the most amazing thing was that there was so much to explore within both the case and the kitchen that the game had a real sense of adventure, despite the fact that the case never moved from the kitchen table. There were so many things to discover, that the game had a surprisingly fast pace. But the game was just utterly charming as we set about finding the blueprints and reassembling our sweet little robot.
Robot’s Return felt almost like two separate games, with the table top box of the robot case, combined with the secrets of Aunt Daisy’s Kitchen. Due to the portable nature of the robot case, the two are almost entirely independent of each other, although there are a few bits here and there that will refer one to the other. Due to this design necessity, it does mean that when playing Robot’s Return on-site, you’re in for a game that is both linear and nonlinear, as there are two separate puzzle paths that operate independently of the other, but each follows a relatively linear structure. But this does mean that there are tonnes of things to be done throughout your time in the kitchen.
The puzzles in Daisy’s Kitchen were the sort of puzzles one typically sees in an escape room, with plenty of tasks that relied on logic, observation, and searching to be had. The search elements had a few rather sneaky moments, but these were typically well sign posted, and this actually makes the game ideal for families, as there are plenty of things for the littles to do when you bring them along. For this section of the game, One Way Out have used a selection of different types of padlocks, with a few clever little bits of tech, so many of the puzzles were simply solving for different types of combinations, but the puzzles were satisfying and fun to solve.
However, the robot case is the real gem in this game. It was full of little ingenious mechanisms, clever puzzles, and required a bit more lateral thinking than the puzzles that were scattered throughout the kitchen. Again, logic, observation, and even a bit of searching came into play with the robot case, and if anything, these puzzles were even more satisfying and exciting to solve than the “kitchen” puzzles, and were full of truly delightful “Ah-Ha!” moments.
When played at One Way Out, rather than off site, Robot’s Return had a rather unique and charming clue system. Part of its charm was that it was unexpected, so I’ll not say too much more. All you need to know is that there is a clue system in place. It’s actually a system utilised in several games at One Way Out, and while it’s odd, to say the least, it brought a bit of humour to the game every time we needed a clue.
Of course, sometimes a less subtle nudge was needed, at which point, Tessa was always able to chime in with a more direct clue over a speaker system. Tessa was also clearly paying attention to our progress, as we were always nudged back in the right direction after being given plenty of time to figure things out for ourselves, but before we could get frustrated by something silly.
If you’ve played Coming Home at one of the several venues it’s available at, you might be tempted to give Robot’s Return a miss. Don’t. Despite the similarities in the stories, the games are entirely different, and Robot’s Return is a delight, both in terms of its clever puzzles, and its sweet little robot.
Team: 2 players – completed in 46 mins
Address: ROL House, Long Row, Oakham LE15 6LN