More than we expected
Years ago, four legendary pirate captains hid their greatest treasures in a set of wooden chests, protecting it with mind-twisting puzzles and the power of four magic talismans.
Can you and your friends rise to the challenge, solve those puzzles and become the richest adventurers alive? Good luck!
During the pandemic we’d been seeing a lot about Top Escape Rooms thanks to their online games, but as we weren’t located very far from them, we decided to hold off until we could play in real life. Thanks to our escape room roadtrip, that time came around pretty fast and they ended up being the first stop on our epic trip.
I must admit, I thought they must be pretty cocky to call themselves ‘Top Escape Rooms’, but as it turns out, it’s because they’re located on an industrial estate called ‘Top Barn’, not because they’re extremely confident (I think). Being on an industrial estate means that there is no issue at all with parking, and being just off the M5 they are really convenient to get to and was the perfect stopover for us.
When we arrived at Top Escape Rooms we were greeted by our hosts Adam and Vicki, two lovely people who I’m sure could talk for hours about escape rooms – it’s really nice when this passion comes through. We were playing all four of their available games (we only originally planned to stop for one, but it seemed rude not to play them all). We had just finished our very much out of season visit to Jingle Joyride so we were suitably warmed up and ready to set sail on our Sea Quest.
Covid Precautions: As you would hope and expect to find – masks were enforced and worn by everyone present, hand sanitiser in place, and track and trace ready to go.
In its simplest form, Sea Quest is a box game that could be transported anywhere and played as a remote game, however Top Escape Rooms have changed it up a bit and made this a permanent fixture with a permanent set. Having just played a pirate themed box game just a couple of weeks before (Captain’s Treasure) that does travel around, we were a bit worried that we may encounter similarities with this game – there were boxes, but that is where the similarities ended.
We were impressed with the efforts Top Escape Rooms had gone to to ensure that the game felt like more than just a box game. The room itself was atmospheric and there were the usual sort of pirate themed props that you would expect, but they also brought the room into the game to take it away from being just the boxes.
This room won’t bring too many surprises (it was a box game after all), but because of this it is a game that is likely to be accessible for everyone. One nice touch which was not even remotely on theme, but was very considerate was the inclusion of knee pads that you could use. You needed to bend down/kneel, and some boxes did need to be lifted, but nothing was too heavy.
This was a dark room, but once your eyes became adjusted it wasn’t too bad. Torches and lanterns were provided so although the darkness likely did slow us down, it was never really a frustration. To help with the immersion, there was also ambient music playing, helping us to forget we were on an industrial estate just outside of Worcester.
All of the puzzles were in line with the pirate/sea theme and followed the traditional escape room tropes; searching, logic, observation, pattern recognition, decoding, and a bit of a minor physical puzzle. Once solved, most of the puzzles resulted in codes for padlocks, but what really surprised us (considering it was a box game) was that some of the puzzles actually used some tech. The use of tech really added to this game and although I’m never one to moan about padlocks, it was great to have a few surprises here and there.
We didn’t hate any of the puzzles, in fact, we liked most of them. One puzzle in particular stands out as being a particular favourite. I won’t spoil it, but it was a simple idea, but strangely one we hadn’t seen before and worked well even in a darkened room.
In Sea Quest, if a clue was needed, then you have to request it by asking the parrot that is in the room with you (not real, don’t worry). I’m sure the parrot had a name but I really can’t remember what it was – let’s assume it was Polly? We needed to request one clue as Liz had managed to find something but then decided not to share this with me – great team work! Fortunately the gamesmaster was on the ball and the clue was delivered promptly and got us back on track in no time at all. The clue was then delivered visually via a screen in the room.
There was no timer in the room, which was fine as it would have felt a bit out of place. However, so you had an idea of how much time had passed, a bell tolled every 15 minutes – perfectly piratey.
Considering this started life as a box game, it was much more than that and ended up being one of my highlights of the day – admittedly I have a soft spot for pirate games. Sea Quest was a fun game, well hosted, and satisfying to play.
I also found out this game has nothing to do with the 90s TV show, Sea Quest DSV, which was both disappointing and quite a relief. Although ‘talking’ dolphins would have been something to behold.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 38:55
Address: Unit 18 Top Barn, Holt Heath WR6 6NH