A puuurfect game for beginners
BARK9 (British Agency of Reconnaissance K9s) needs your help! Professor Winston Montgomery is a person of interest. He was already a disliked person before dogs started going missing but there is growing concern. An agent who was tasked with investigating the professor has disappeared and we need your help to find out what’s going on. Assemble your team and embark on your undercover adventure!
Caveat *** We have rated this game how we have on the understanding that this is not a game for enthusiasts. This is a game for new people to test the waters of escape rooms and understand what they’re all about. This is not a game that will challenge enthusiasts (we completed in 23 mins), but as a beginners game – it’s spot on.
It’s always nice to see new venues opening, especially when they’re not too far from where we live. We saw that Red House Mysteries had also opened a new game since we were last in town so we decided to hop on the train and check that out as well as the new kids on the block – Prodigy Escapes.
Thanks to the magic of technology it was easy to find the venue, and was a pleasant walk from the centre of town. When we arrived we were greeted by Dan and Lisa and offered a variety of beverages to help make us comfortable. I must say, for a new venue, they’ve certainly put a lot of time and attention into their waiting area! It was really a rather pleasant place to be and I think gives an insight to the experiences they are hoping to offer here.
We received our health and safety briefing in the reception area and while we were getting this, we were also tasked with a test puzzle just to make sure we understood how puzzles worked. We’ve played one or two games before so didn’t really need this, but I could see how it would be useful for first time players. The mission briefing played on a TV and explained what we were there to do. With the briefings completed there was one thing left to do, don our suitable feline disguises and get going!
Now unlike many escape rooms, this game actually starts outside the room itself. I would guess it is done like this so it gives a bit of hand holding to players who aren’t sure what they’re doing. As experienced players it felt unnecessary for us to be told what to do, but we appreciate that this is part of the experience for Mission Impawsible. The timer did start while we were outside the game, but once we got inside, that is where it felt like the experience really got going for us.
There was nothing particularly exciting about the set dressing in this game, but each area felt well thought out and flowed as part of the story. There were also a number of Easter eggs hidden in the game that would likely appeal to you if you’re into pop/geek culture – although I must admit that many of these went over our heads!
If you do happen to like cutesy themed rooms, then this is probably not a bad room for you. It was very much all things cats and dogs. There were also some items which were added for humour/décor reasons, and although we perhaps lost a little time here or there to them, I don’t think we’d class them as red herrings – just a little fun.
As you’d expect from a game that is aimed at new escape room players, the puzzles weren’t particularly challenging, but they all felt part of the theme and I can’t think of anything that stood out as being out of place at all.
There was a good variety of puzzles and fortunately none felt frustrating or unfair, they generally could be classed as: searching, maths, observation, wordplay, logic, pattern recognition, and something that I guess could be classed as coordination/physical, maybe? So a bit of everything which is exactly what you’d hope and expect to see in a game designed to get people hooked on escape rooms.
Many of the puzzles result in combinations for padlocks, but there was also a bit of tech involved to keep things exciting.
I believe Dan was our actual GM for this game (apologies to Lisa if I’m wrong), and if we needed any help or assistance it would have been radioed through from BARK9 HQ using the walkie-talkies that we were issued at the start of the game. Fortunately, we didn’t require any clues but they were watching us closely as we got a thorough debrief after our game.
There was no timer in the room but we did receive regular updates from HQ regarding how much time we had left.
There’s no point avoiding it, this is a game designed for beginners and it shows. As enthusiasts we weren’t challenged in this game but we still enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a game to try and convince friends (or family) that they really should play an escape room – this is the game you want. We understand from the owners that this game is ever-evolving, so your experience may be slightly different.
It’s a lovely whimsical set that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the hosts are lovely people. I think we have a new favourite venue in Exeter.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 23:15
Address: 26b Clifton Hill, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2DJ