All the nostalgia!
Step back in time to 1986 – Face a snarky Zoltar machine – Direct Pac Man through a maze – Answer the Troll’s riddles in Zork – all this and more in a beautifully presented room with a great 80’s themed soundtrack. Can you and your team race through this gratuitous eighties-fest and escape back to the present day?
Our fourth and final game of the day at Riddlr was the one I was looking forward to the most, their newest game, Decade Runner. Other than the fact that this game was set in the 80s I knew nothing about it, but as the previous games (Seance, Nautilus and Wizard’s Apprentice) had been good, I had high hopes that this one would be too.
As we’d back-to-backed the previous games we took a little hydration break before heading back to the 80s. Once we were feeling suitably hydrated, Tom whisked us away up the stairs where we stood outside the door to the room.
Tom gave us a short room briefing while we were standing outside the door. Even at this stage it was clear to see/hear that this game was a labour of love for the Riddlr team. Briefing over, Tom opened the door and we were confronted with a lot of familiarity.
If you grew up in the 80s, or just happen to be a fan, then this room is a delight. We were warned that this was Riddlr’s hardest room, yet I couldn’t stop myself from getting distracted by everything in this space – literally everything I looked at brought back some wonderful memories.
Decade Runner was not simply an 80s assault on the visual aspect, oh no, it turned up the 80s to 11! Some epic 80s music played over the speaker system, showcasing music from 80s hit films to 80s British children’s TV shows. If that wasn’t enough (and it wasn’t), the last thing Tom said before we entered was something about the smell of ‘Lynx Africa’ and yes, this room even had the smell!
The majority of this room was on show but there was still a sense of adventure and a few surprises to behold, but really this game is about solid puzzles and a huge nostalgia trip. If you’re a fan of the 80s, I can’t see how you could get disappointed with this room.
Riddlr weren’t joking when they said this room was challenging. As a team of two, in a multi-linear space we found that we were flat out for the entire time we were in Decade Runner. I’ll be the first to admit that at times I didn’t think we were going to make it out in time.
Despite being challenging, all the puzzles felt fair and logical and because of that we managed to get through without requesting any clues. The puzzles we encountered, as expected, all perfectly fitted the 80s theme and I can’t think of anything that felt like it didn’t belong.
Puzzles were varied and generally fitted into the categories of; searching (light), logic, observation, memory, teamwork and decoding.
It’s great to play a room like this that fills you with happiness just from being in it, and has solid puzzles to boot. Many of the puzzles were unique too so top marks for originality here! One particular puzzle was very enjoyable to solve, actually I’m not sure if ‘solve’ is the right word. ‘Play’? Yes, ‘play’ may be a better word here. This puzzle also helped us with a shortcut on a later puzzle, so for this I am eternally grateful!
Without a paper and pen, or any form of note taking abilities, we found one puzzle to be very challenging. Fortunately Liz solved about 80% of it so I could just chime in at the end for the glory. It would have been much much easier if we could have written something down – but I guess this room isn’t about ‘easy’.
If you’ve read any of our other reviews for Riddlr, then you’ll know that they do things a little differently for their clue system (no walkie-talkies here).
The clue system involved pushing a button to get a clue relating to that specific puzzle. If pressed it would read you a clue and then give the answer – clue would be read but answer displayed on screen so you could look away.
To use this you obviously need to know what puzzle you’re on so you can press the corresponding button. Because of this there is a flow-chart type of thing that gives you this information, of course it also can guide you through the room a bit so if you want to make things a little more challenging, avoid it.
The only negative I can see with this system is that you can only get one hint per puzzle and if that’s not enough, you have to take the solution. We pressed a button to test it after our game and I think it should be enough to get you back on track.
Oh, and this clue system, if I just say the name ‘Zoltan’, that should be enough to understand how clues are delivered.
I wish this was a 90 minute room, simply so I could have had more time to enjoy the space. This game was challenging but I loved every minute spent in it. Best game in Bristol? I think so.
This game was built with passion and it shows. After the game, Tom did a walkthrough and pointed out some of the 80s Easter eggs we may have missed. Not everything in the room is needed for puzzles, but it certainly is for immersion!
Ok ok, it can’t all be positive. If I had to find a negative for Decade Runner it would be that the bed in the room was not functional. It’s a shame as I’d have loved to have camped out here!
Team: 2 players – escaped in ??? (we can’t remember, probably around 47ish, maybe?)
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