A game that lives up to the hype
You and your friends were discovered as stowaways aboard a strange vessel; Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. Locked in the brig, with the captain missing, the engines stalled and the oxygen quickly running out, you must find your way through the rooms to restart the engines and escape the submarine.
We’ve been hearing about Riddlr for a long time and it’s shameful how long it took us to actually get there and play their games. We decided to make a special trip to Bristol to play all four of their games (Seance, Nautilus, The Wizard’s Apprentice, and Decade Runner). We had just escaped remarkably quickly from Seance, so next up was Nautilus.
Frequently when people recommend Bristol venues they recommend Riddlr, and specifically Nautilus as being the best game in Bristol. For me personally, this is not the case. Having played their new game, Decade Runner, I think that takes the crown of ‘best escape room in Bristol, but Nautilus is still a worthy second.
After a quick debrief and chat with Tom and Justin, it was time for us to finally tackle Nautilus. Having already had the health and safety briefing, we were shown to the room, given our mission briefing, and then we entered Captain Nemo’s famed vessel.
On entering the room it was clear to see why it was such a popular recommendation, the set design was spot on, and this quality continued as we progressed through the space. For the most part it was obvious where we were going to go next, but there was still a great sense of adventure and a few surprises – speaking of surprises, there was one thing that Riddlr added that gave Liz an almighty laugh (at my expense). I think it’s great when a company put in little things for no other reason than a bit of fun.
The room had a kind of Victorian steampunk-esque feel about it, but I think that’s probably what one would expect from Captain Nemo’s ship, certainly nothing felt out of place. Ambient noise was also being piped into the room which helped us feel immersed in the space. Nautilus is one of those spaces that you’re very aware you’re there to solve puzzles and get out as quickly as possible, but equally you want to just spend time looking at everything and take in your surroundings.
Nautilus was one of those games where the puzzles seemed to click with us and we got into a good flow solving them, although I must admit, it did take us longer than it should have to solve one of the early puzzles – I’ll put this down to simply being distracted by our surroundings.
When we did get going we found the puzzles a joy to solve and they were all well signposted and incredibly fair. The puzzles mostly involved: searching (minor), observation, logic, maths, some physical aspects, and it’s worth mentioning that one or two puzzles did involve the use of colour.
All the puzzles fitted in perfectly with the nautical feel and nothing felt out of place. The puzzles resulted in either codes for padlocks, or thanks to the use of some cool tech, other things popped open at the relevant time.
There was one piece of tech in the game which we expected to be much harder than it was, but fortunately Riddlr were kind when they made it and it was actually much simpler than it could have been – we were certainly externally grateful for this!
Riddlr like to do things a bit differently with their clue system, so there’s no simply calling out for help if you get stuck. They have a more complex system where if you’re stuck, you press a button that is relevant to the puzzle you’re stuck on and then a clue will be displayed on the screen. If that clue wasn’t enough it would then show you the answer (but you could look away if you didn’t want to see it).
This clue system is both good and bad. It’s good because it feels much more integrated into the game, but bad because it is limited on the clues it can give, so if you don’t get it with the first clue then you have to take the solution or just keep trying to work it out. Fortunately for us we found the puzzles very intuitive and didn’t actually need a clue, but we did press some buttons after the game and I think they should be enough to get you back on the right path if you get stuck.
Riddlr are big on immersion so despite there being a screen in the room for clues, there is no timer – so you just have to go as quickly as possible to make sure you don’t run out of time.
I can see why Nautilus is the go-to recommendation for Bristol. Strong set design, solid puzzles, a great sense of adventure, and a bit of fun along the way make this a game that we will have no hesitation in recommending.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 35:30
Address: 103 Regent St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 8LJ