Tempo have put Bath on the escape room map
The mysterious LIFE Foundation claim to have discovered the key to eternal life. Potential candidates for the program are invited to their secret testing centre, where a lucky few may discover the truth.
If you’ve been around the escape room scene for any length of time then you’ll know that Bath has always been a bit of a void for good escape rooms. We were away on a family holiday to Centre Parcs so decided to detour to Bath to check out one of the newest venues to open there, Tempo Bath.
Bath is a beautiful city and although Tempo are just the other side of the river, they are housed in a beautiful building known as Temperance Hall (hence the name, Tempo). We arrived a little early so popped to a coffee shop which was perhaps a two minutes walk away from the venue, convenient. Suitably fueled with coffee and sugar, it was time to see if Bath had an escape room we could finally recommend.
Normally we play our games as a team of two, but on this occasion we pulled in a ringer to join us. Phil from Cryptic Enigmas was our third man and he was a delight to have one our team. We actually played his play at home game CSI: Bristol early on in the first lockdown so we were looking forward to finally meeting him and seeing if puzzle creation went hand-in-hand with escape room prowess. For the record, this room is definitely doable as a team of two.
There are steps into the building, but once you get in, despite the room being in the basement, there is a stair lift and the room is mostly wheelchair accessible. If someone in your team uses a wheelchair, there are workarounds in place so that they can still enjoy and take part in the entire game. At one point a team member will need to be comfortable with a little ducking/crawling, but other than that, this is a very maneuverable room.
Rob completed the health and safety briefing and the room specific briefings (all in character) over the period of time from when we entered the building, descended the stairs, and finally entered the room. With the briefings completed, it was time to see if we were worthy of Eternal Life.
Covid-19 Procedures: Staff wore masks and we wore them in communal areas but were allowed to remove them during the game. The room was cleaned thoroughly between teams and Tempo had arranged their timings to allow this to be done properly. There was also plentiful hand sanitiser on site for us to use.
The immersion for this game started from the moment we entered the building. We were welcomed by our host, Rob. But this was not ‘Rob – the escape room owner’, no, this was ‘Rob – The LIFE employee’. I love it when you are instantly immersed in the world when you enter as it makes you start questioning everything about the game. There was actually a small glitch in the game that Rob spotted before we started, and because of him remaining in character, we weren’t sure if this was part of the story or legitimately an issue. He fixed it right away and it didn’t affect our game at all, but certainly ramped up the anticipation of the room.
I feel that when companies choose what is essentially an IQ test for their theme, they are on to a winner. In the guise of an IQ test, you can pretty much put any puzzle in the room and it won’t feel out of place. Eternal Life had a unique feel about it, it kind of reminded me of a science centre where kids can go to experience hands-on learning about science. It was a quirky but thoroughly enjoyable space to be.
It’s unlikely that anyone will be blown away by this space, but it still managed to create a good amount of excitement and intrigue within our group. Areas we thought we wouldn’t get to interact with suddenly came into play and they added a sense of adventure at one point which I really wasn’t expecting. One area, which was also a puzzle, was a lot of fun – unfortunately for our group, I was the only one to witness this as they were working on other things, but Rob kindly reset it after the game so they could see it too, and I was pleased to see that the excitement was shared throughout the group.
When a new company appears from relatively unknown origins there is always a concern that the puzzles may not make sense or could be a bit weak. Fortunately Tempo can hold their own in puzzle design. All of the puzzles in Eternal Life were a joy to solve and although we were technically being tested (according to the story), nothing felt like a chore.
As you would expect from any good IQ test, there was a good range of puzzles in this game. Observation, logic, minor searching, decoding, and some physical aspects all played a part. One puzzle in particular I would imagine would be a lot of fun for kids if you were playing as a family group, to be honest, it was even a lot of fun for adults!
There was some very good signposting in this game, at times it made one or two things perhaps a little oversimplified for experienced teams, but this signposting would make this a great game for teams who are still getting used to escape rooms (or families). Saying that, even as an experienced team, we thoroughly enjoyed it and it didn’t feel like there was too much hand-holding to get us through the game.
Rob was the perfect games-master. In character from the moment we arrived, he didn’t break character until we had completed our mission. I think we needed a little help with one puzzle as we forgot we had already found something, and this help was sent through at the right time. Rob read the room well and even though we were making good time, he chose to give us the nudge to keep us going, rather than letting us get frustrated and lose momentum.
We love it when a clue system is immersive and feels part of the game, not just like a bolted-on afterthought. Tempo have used the tried and tested method of a screen in the room where they can send clues/prompts to keep you going – normally this would be quite a basic system and wouldn’t fit a theme (why would there be a TV screen on a pirate ship, right?). However, in the guise of an IQ test, the screen prompt system felt like it fitted well. When clues/prompts were delivered they were accompanied with an audible doorbell sound which let us know to look at the screen.
We had heard good things about Tempo in Bath, and I’m pleased to say this game lived up to our expectations. Great story-telling, solid puzzles, and a really fun, and at times, whimsical set, makes this a definite reason to visit Bath.
Well done Tempo Escape Rooms. You’ve finally given us a game that we can (and will) recommend in Bath.
Team: 3 players – escaped in 32 minutes
Address: Temperance Hall, Claverton Street, Bath, BA2 4LE
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.