What the Toad?!
Our lovely game-designer, Francesca, has gone missing. The Witch’s Lair was the last room that she was working on. She was researching the history of witchcraft in Lowestoft in the 1600s. Whilst Francesca was designing the game, she changed. She wasn’t her usual happy self and she started acting strangely. Just days before we were due to open the game, she vanished. We have decided with a heavy heart to open this game to the public in the hope that one of you will be able to find some clues about what could have happened to her.
There once was a time where online games were a dime a dozen, now they’re starting to become more scarce, but it’s nice to know that there are still games out there that we haven’t played – we get a lot of rainy days in the UK so it’s nice to have activities one can do without leaving the house. On one such rainy evening we dusted off the laptops and loaded up The Witch’s Lair by Prestige Escape Rooms.
Prestige Escape rooms are a company we’ve heard of but never got the chance to visit. I believe they were the most Easterly escape room in the UK (based in Lowestoft) so that’s quite a cool claim to fame. Sadly, since playing this game we’ve heard that they are permanently closing their physical location, so if you want to play any of their games, the online versions will soon be the only option.
Going into this game I didn’t know anything about the story at all. So it was interesting to read the description and see that they had done something different with the story – they acknowledged that it was an escape room that was being created, but then there was a twist. Obviously this game has a dark theme to it, but it was certainly not a horror room and I’d imagine it would be safe for most ages to play.
Anyway, it was one of those frequent rainy days, so we sat down with our cups of tea and a notebook at the ready and prepared to find out what had happened to Francesca. When we opened up the game we were greeted with a detailed guide on how the game would work, and then a video from the owners. Great – game on!
For those of you who are seasoned online escapers, I simply have to say the word ‘Telescape’ and you’ll have a good idea of how this game works. For those who aren’t familiar with that word, let me explain how Telescape works.
Telescape is a tool that was developed by Buzzshot around those dark days of Covid lockdowns and quickly became one of the leading platforms for online escape rooms. It enables escape room companies to essentially digitise their physical rooms by taking a load of pictures and some over complex stuff that I don’t fully understand. So it’s as close to being in the room as possible without actually being in the room (other than perhaps live hosted avatar games [LINK]).
Another great feature about Telescape is that it enables you to work with your teammates collaboratively, even if you’re in different locations. At all times during the game you are able to see the cursors of your teammates and items discovered are added to a shared inventory. Prestige took the collaborative approach one step further and The Witch’s Lair had a video/chat system built into it – so if we weren’t sitting next to each other on the couch we still could have seen and communicated with each other without leaving the game or needing to use Zoom.
The digitised room was a good representation of the physical room and anything we needed to see was easy to zoom into and easy to read. Anytime something was added to the inventory it was accompanied by a Toad noise (Toads were a big part of this game). Videos that were present in the game played with no issues, and the drag and drop/interactive elements all worked as they should. Actually, I can’t think of any issues with this game.
The puzzles in The Witch’s Lair were surprisingly varied and gave us both a chance to shine – although being honest, I think Liz shone more with this game than I did (but there’s no I in TEAM, Liz). Maths, Logic, Wordplay and Observation were the main puzzle types that we encountered and for the most part we found the puzzles to make sense. Saying that, there were a couple of puzzles that didn’t click with us, so we were fortunate that there was a clue system at the ready to help us get back on track.
The majority of the puzzles resulted in combinations for padlocks, whether that be numbered padlocks, coloured, word, or directional (I love a directional padlock).
Clues were easily accessible as at any point in the game we simply had to click on a candle near the top of the screen. When we did, we were presented with four candles that we had to ‘light’ one-by-one, the first three were hints and then the final candle would show the solution. Like I said, a couple of puzzles didn’t click with us so these clues were a lifesaver!
This game surprised me. I thought we were going to get a horror experience but it was more horror-light (very light) and actually made us laugh in a couple of spots. There is a strange obsessions with toads in this game, but if you can see past that then this is a decent game (at a reasonable price) and serves the purpose of an evening’s entertainment.
- Computer and Browser
- Pen and paper may help
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 1hr 2 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review