Will you perform a Séance at 13 Paper street? The eminent paranormal investigator Clarissa Stubbs disappeared last year while exploring an abandoned house known for paranormal activity. When retracing her footsteps and attempting to discover what happened, you and your team awaken the same foul phantoms as she did that fateful night. Can you make your escape or will you join Clarissa on the long list of forgotten souls who were foolish enough to venture into the crooked old house on Paper Street?
A common question on the UK Escape Room Enthusiast Facebook group is “Can anyone recommend any games in Bristol”, yet despite us living quite close to Bristol now, we’ve never really been able to recommend any games in the city. Fortunately now that we’ve played all the games at Riddlr, we finally have a venue to recommend!
It’s worth noting that despite Riddlr being classed as ‘Bristol’, they are not in the city centre and are on the eastern side in an area called Kingswood. From our short time walking around the area it doesn’t seem like there is much to do there and we struggled to find a good place for pre-game coffee and cake, but the parking was simple enough and Riddlr made our visit worthwhile.
Riddlr was easy to find with good signage and opposite a Wetherspoon pub, you have to go up a flight of stairs to get to reception so accessibility could be an issue for some (some of their games were also up extra flights of stairs).
When we arrived we were greeted by our hosts for the day, Tom and Justin, and were shown through to their reception area. We had a nice chat, hung our coats up on the hooks provided and then it was time to get down to business. We were playing all four of their games back-to-back as we were limited on time, first up was Séance, swiftly followed by Nautilus, The Wizard’s Apprentice, and their brand new game, Decade Runner. From what we were told, we were playing them from easiest to hardest, and looking at our completion times, that’s probably true.
The guys gave us the health and safety briefing in the reception area and then we were led down the corridor to the outside of our first game, Séance. Justin gave us a quick room briefing outside the game and explained how their clue system worked (more on that later, but it was certainly different to most). Justin opened the door, and we entered the room, where we were greeted by a familiar voice.
Covid-19 Precautions: We wore masks in the communal areas (our choice) but took them off in the room. Our hosts didn’t wear masks. Plentiful hand sanitiser was provided and we were the only team on site.
That familiar voice gave us more of an introduction to our mission and helped set the scene. This ethereal voice and ghost-like shape on the TV screen (voiced by Charlie of Deadlocked fame) was the perfect way to get the game started while keeping everything on theme.
Admittedly I’ve never actually been to a real séance but I’d imagine that they would take place in creepy surroundings and most likely with some creepy dolls nearby, in that sense, this room felt spot on. The theme will make it quite obvious that this is a ‘scary’ room but the scariness doesn’t go further than a few jump scares and some interesting décor choices.
Liz and I aren’t fans of overly dark rooms so rooms like this are never going to be our favourite. With dim (sometimes non existent) lighting and the occasional flickering lights, I could see Liz getting frustrated with the darkness quite quickly. Later on in the game a torch was provided and this certainly helped, although as it was just the one torch it meant that we couldn’t really split up – I imagine this would be more of a problem for bigger teams.
The space wasn’t the biggest but they made use of it very well and still managed to hide away some surprises which was nice to see. The atmospheric noises being played throughout also added to the feeling of unease in this room.
This game was apparently the easiest of those on offer at Riddlr, so it’s not really a surprise that it was a linear room, with one puzzle leading on to the next. If players can deal with the creepy/horror vibe (with no live actors), then I could see this being a good first timer game thanks to the decent signposting – but it’s equally enjoyable if you’ve played a few hundred games too.
To an extent, one of the puzzles was ‘difficulty by darkness’, but we’ve certainly played darker games that were more frustrating. Other than that, the puzzles generally fitted into observation, decoding, minor searching, following instructions, and perhaps a little logic.
We didn’t find any puzzle particularly taxing, except one that stumped us for a little while (we knew what to do, just couldn’t quite get it right). It may just be that the puzzles in Seance just clicked with us because we didn’t need any help and pretty much flew through the room – apparently we got the room record so that’s a bonus.
Often with a clue system there isn’t really much to say as they all tend to follow the usual sort of pattern, but not at Riddlr. Riddlr have decided they want to detach themselves from the clue system as much as possible to make it more immersive – so no walkie-talkies or asking for help in any of their games!
The Riddlr clue system involves a number of buttons that relate to specific puzzles in the room. So say you’re stuck on puzzle two, you push the button for that puzzle and the ethereal spirit will appear on the screen and give you a clue to get you back in the right direction. The clue is audible but it will then automatically follow up with the solution on the screen (silently). This means that you can ignore the solution if you don’t want it, or have a peek to get moving again. The downside is, you only get one clue before you get the answer.
Obviously the key thing with this clue system is that you’ll need to know exactly what part of the game you are stuck on. So to help with this there is a kind of flow chart next to the buttons that you can look at. This chart shows the order you need to solve the puzzles in and what number you would need to press. This is obviously great for newer teams as it helps point you in the direction of where you need to go next, but experienced teams may want to not look at it.
When not displaying any clues, the screen in the room also displayed a countdown timer so you knew how long you had left to sort out these pesky spirits.
It’s always nice to set a new room record, not just for bragging rights but because it shows that a room clicked with us, meaning the puzzles were logical and fair. Couple that with some good set design and some entertaining jump scares, and Séance is a fun game to play and one we would recommend if you’re in town.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 28:22
Address: 103 Regent St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 8LJ