Better than the real Pavilion?
The Pavilion Perplex is an escape room game that exudes class! Set inside the Royal Palace in the early Victorian era, this is a sublimely decorated escape room with a wide variety of puzzles and some beautiful secrets and surprises.
Featuring puzzles and games like those found on “The Crystal Maze”, plus many historically accurate facts and period artifacts. Players will have their logic and dexterity skills put to the test to recover the missing petition and save the iconic building.
Gord tends to arrange most of our room bookings, so it’s very rare that I actually have any idea of what I will be walking into when we’re at a venue, and Pavilion Perplex was no exception. After the crazy technicolour of Raver Quest, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this game, but I can tell you I was not expecting a rather snappily dressed butler to collect us from the waiting area, and lead us to the room.
Once through the stunning double doors, it was easy to believe we had stepped back in time straight to Victorian era Brighton; the grandeur of the space was impressive, and I couldn’t help but look around as Bertie explained our mission: The Brighton Pavilion is set to be demolished in the next hour, but there is a petition with 1,000 signatures on it that would protect the iconic building. Unfortunately, the petition has been hidden somewhere within the very building that is to be destroyed, and it’s up to us to find it in time. And with that, we were left to solve the mystery and preserve a piece of Brighton’s history.
Puzzles throughout Pavilion Perplex were varied – incorporating logic, some dexterity, teamwork, with a bit of searching and observing your surroundings. But the real bonus for me here was the lack of padlocks; now I don’t mind a padlock or seven when they fit into the context of the story, but for me, it’s all about immersion, and a modern four-digit combination padlock in a Victorian-era game stands out. There was none of that here. Any locks on drawers were there for logical reasons, and not one was what I would call modern, but most of the puzzles are more tactile in nature; you’ll need to manipulate the things around you in unexpected ways. I much prefer games of this nature for two reasons: 1) It keeps things exciting, and I enjoy the cleverness of it, and 2) It doesn’t interrupt the story.
About halfway through the game we discovered a task that always makes my heart sink, as this particular element relies on good manual dexterity and quick reflexes; something I simply lack. I gave it a try, but eventually Gord had to take over; we even tried together, but to no avail. Eventually Gord managed this task just as we received a kind nudge from our GM to let us know it could be skipped. We’ve come across similar tasks in other games where the team has spent 10-15 minutes struggling, with no apparent fail-safe. The fact that we were allowed to try, but then given the option of a work around shows that Pier Pressure have thought this through; it’s not fun if it’s simply impossible for someone to do, and Bertie struck the balance perfectly between allowing us to try, but letting us know we didn’t have to be frustrated.
From the moment you approach the giant, red double doors, the room is visually stunning. Considering the building housing the game isn’t Victorian, the attention to detail paid to the furniture, set dressing, and even the addition of period Victorian features (look at the coving, it’s pretty spectacular) shows the love with which this game was crafted. Even the bigger pieces that were clearly custom built just seemed to fit, and the room is a sight to behold.
While we played as a two, working on many puzzles together, there is plenty to keep larger teams occupied, and a multi linear structure ensures that larger teams can always divide and conquer. There were many points where, if we had just looked a little bit harder, or paid more attention to our surroundings, we could have solved certain puzzles long before we did.
Overall, this is a wonderful game; visually appealing with varied and interesting puzzles, and a clever clue system, but on top of that, it just flowed nicely and had a nice clear finale. You really can’t ask for much more than that.
Pier Pressure have thoroughly impressed me, not only with the excellent GMs portraying different and distinct characters for each room, but also with the various clue delivery methods that fit perfectly into the theme of each room, thus keeping the immersion intact.
Bertie the Butler is clearly a fantastic GM, as he knew precisely when to chime in with a nudge (or an offer to skip the tricky skill based puzzle) to keep frustration to a minimum, but perhaps the real highlight of this room, for me anyway, was the clue delivery method itself. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that a Victorian-themed room requires Victorian-themed clues, and it made me smile whenever we received one, as it fits perfectly within the theme, and the system was just…cute. I wanted to request one, simply because I found it so sweet.
Aside from the fact that the rooms at Pier Pressure are among some of the best I have played to date, I really enjoyed the debrief with Bertie following the game; I felt like a child getting my report card at school (I was a weird kid – I actually liked getting my report card), as we were told what we did well with as we were rewarded for our efforts with the collection of stamps; apparently Gord and I communicate well. I thought I was just bossy… I honestly can’t wait until the next time we make our way down to Brighton to take on the remaining games at Pier Pressure.
Team: Two players (escaped in 49:15 with no clues)
Address: 33 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FG