You and some friends decided to have a night out on the town and wanted to get a bit frisky! Escort ‘Julie Swallows’ was more than happy to oblige, however, you didn’t have the cash. Until you find a way to pay you have been locked in her dungeon.
Can you escape? Or is there a kink in your plan?
We have a bit of an affinity with Gravesend and Panic Room as it’s the location and company where we did our first-ever escape room binge trip back in January 2019. We’ve played at their Harlow branch too, but we were long overdue going back to Gravesend to ‘complete the set’. Fortunately, we managed to arrange a little Kent escape room road trip, this time with Amy and Ian from Brit of an Escape Habit, and as if fate would have it, The Panic Room in Gravesend had opened up two new games since we were last in town, Riddled and Hell House.
First up for us was Riddled. Now this is a game that we really didn’t know what to expect from it, and fortunately, we were comfortable with Amy and Ian – I’ll say it now, this is probably not a game that we’d want to play with our parents. Also, The Panic Room are quite clear in saying that this is an adult’s only experience.
Our GM for this game was Myles, and he took us down to the room where we received our health and safety and room-specific briefing. One exciting thing here, to get to the entrance for Riddled, we had to walk past the entrance for Hell House, and wow! That certainly gave us something to look forward to – but anyway, back to the game at hand.
Once our briefings were complete we were handcuffed (obviously) and then our timer began. I can’t recall if there was an emergency key somewhere in the room for the handcuffs, but Liz was able to slip hers off easily enough so I think if there really was an emergency, you’d be ok.
Well, one thing is for sure, this room is certainly designed for maximum immersion. Starting with the handcuffs really sets off the tone for what is about to come in Riddled. It has the usual items you’d expect to find in a game of this theme, a bed, toys of a certain kind, a special kind of dungeon, and some very interesting wallpaper – and some atmospheric noises and lighting for good measure. It’s one of those spaces that feels like everything should be sticky, but fortunately, it wasn’t.
It was nice to see that this game was more than just a kinky bedroom, and there was a sense of adventure as we tried to make our escape from Julie Swallows’ dungeon. We were never quite sure what we were going to find next.
The build quality of the game felt decent, although there were a couple of interesting choices in terms of hardware in places that lead us to undo something that actually shouldn’t have come apart. Another prop in the room felt like it was easy to take apart, and we nearly did but after questioning this with our GM a couple of times, he finally chimed in to tell us not to move it.
The game did have some tight spaces here and there, and there was one area that would require some crawling, but only one member of your team would really need to do this. Other than that, it was pretty accessible and I believe there was only maybe one step in the game itself.
Riddled was a pretty linear game with one puzzle leading on to the next, which probably works well for inexperienced teams and the clientele that I would imagine this game is targeting. Other than the challenge of perhaps hiding one’s embarrassment at some of the items in the game, the puzzles generally involved: searching, observation, colour, audio, spatial awareness, pattern recognition and maths.
The puzzles all very much felt like they belonged in this game, and some of them really could only exist in this game. I would imagine the creators had a lot of fun thinking up ways to make puzzles out of some of these objects! From what I can recall, we only really struggled with one puzzle and after getting a little assistance we were able to solve it, it wasn’t our favourite puzzle but it wasn’t unfair.
Many of the puzzles resulted in combinations or keys for padlocks, but the signposting seemed pretty good so we often knew exactly where to use the code/key once we had it.
Myles did a good job of keeping an eye on us during our game, and when we needed assistance we didn’t have to wait too long. I question at one point if he wasn’t fully paying attention as we questioned if we should be doing something and we didn’t get a response for quite a while – and I actually did disassemble something, and assemble it without any input from him.
When we requested the clue, we simply had to ask out loud for it and then Myles would chime in over the speaker system. I believe we only needed one clue for this game and it was enough to get us back on track.
If you’re looking for a game for stag/hen dos, this is it. This game obviously has a target market and I imagine it does really quite well for that market. I’m not sure what enthusiasts will think about it, but credit to Panic Room for doing something different.
The puzzles weren’t overly challenging, and the room is likely not one where you’ll want to spend a lot of time touching everything. But for the right market, this game will be the highlight of their evening.
Team: 4 players – escaped in 45:02
Address: 23a St Georges Centre, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0TB