A room with a true ending…
Professor Bradley Samwell, the head of research at the Wexell Corporation, has gone missing. His bizarre disappearance coincides with the completion of some rather questionable, but valuable research on a project called ‘Phoenix’. The Wexell Corporation has asked your team, with your very specific set of skills, to investigate the missing employee and retrieve the research. But what if there is more to this research, and this company than lies on the surface?
Reading has been on our radar for a long time but as a number of the rooms are either too difficult or too expensive to do as a two, we had to wait for our extended team to want to play. Fortunately that time came and we hit Reading for five rooms that day.
After navigating the worlds’ tightest car park we were enthusiastically greeted by our host and GM for the day, Charlie. We’re used to seeing escape rooms occupying odd places on industrial estates and the like, but I still find it most bizarre when we find a room in a building with offices – I wonder how they react to screams?
What was nice about this venue is that before you even enter the room you are starting to get a feeling of the overarching ‘Wexell Corporation’ so when you enter this room that continues and throws you deeper into their world.
We were recruited to find out what happened to a missing employee, Professor Bradley Samuel and find his missing research. This sounds simple, but this room has hidden depths that you wouldn’t expect. On the surface things are straight forward, but dig a little deeper and you have some decisions to make. This room, we later found out, has multiple endings and the choices you make influence how the story plays out, and the story is a big part of this game.
Because we finished the room in a decent time we were given the chance to try a couple of additional puzzles which they can sometimes tack on to make the room harder. They were perfectly do-able but having or not having them wouldn’t really add or detract from the game, there was still a good amount of puzzles to keep us going.
The puzzles were a good mix and involved a very small amount of hunting round the room for items, a very small amount. I’m undecided if this was a linear room but in hindsight I don’t feel like it was fully linear, there were a number of things that could be worked on simultaneously which as a larger team was much appreciated.
We were frustrated by one or two puzzles but this was because we found some items out of order so we solved something only to be told something we already knew, a minor annoyance really. One puzzle, which is very much a major puzzle to the room gave us immense frustration due to how long it took us to complete and how four team members all got different results. The concept is simple but perhaps due to it’s design it just felt a bit rough around the edges.
The room design was decent, as soon as you walk in the room you get the feeling that you are in someone’s study, and the introduction to the room and your mission is done in character via a pre-recorded message on a TV screen in the room.
In places the room was showing its age, and perhaps budget, but that’s just nitpicking. One of my gripes is a room without a proper ceiling, we’ve done enough rooms now to know that a ceiling help you feel part of the world, a simple bit of fabric above doesn’t help immerse you in anything.
The GM was spot on in everything she did, her passion for the room was very clear and you could see that the team at Deadlocked really put that passion into their rooms. At one point she was part of the room yet still managed to be separate from it. If we needed clues/nudges they were delivered via the integrated audio and video in the room so as to not break the immersion.
I always feel that the way you finish a room really leaves that final impression that stays with you, so I enjoy it when a room does something a little different to make the finale special. I won’t spoil it, but I enjoyed the way this room came to its end.
The team at Deadlocked have added an interesting feature to this room to make it stand out, something we hadn’t seen before. Unfortunately we bypassed it until we had already finished the room, but if you find it early enough it could have an impact on your game, or not…
Team: Five Players – escaped in 48:16
Address: 122 Castle Hill, Reading RG1 7RG