The Dentist will see you now
Time for your appointment
It is always hard starting with a new Dentist but it is time to be brave and book that appointment.
But all is not as it seems, the waiting room is empty, where is the Receptionist ??
Where has your friend Neville gone?
Why is the door locked?
What is that noise?
Only you can find your way out
The Doctor will see you now……
Not only are Top Escape Room’s games great, but Adam and Vick are lovely people. They even went so far as to reserve us a table at the Hill Top Cafe (just across the car park) for lunch to fuel our puzzle-solving. Once we were sufficiently nourished, it was time to make our way back for another adventure.
Gord and I first heard about Top Escape Rooms when they made the decision to digitise some of their games using the Telescape platform, and made them available to play online. Although we had heard good things, we had avoided playing the digital versions purely so that we would have the opportunity to play in person. Thanks to Top Escape Rooms, we had already visited the North Pole for Jingle Joyride, and gone on a piraty adventure in Sea Quest, which were two games that had not yet been digitised, but next on the agenda was a visit to The Dentist, which does have an online version. While I’m sure I would have enjoyed the digital game, I definitely don’t regret our choice to wait to play in person.
Top Escape Rooms are strictly adhering to the legal requirement to wear masks when participating in indoor leisure activities, with no exemptions or exceptions, and the staff adhere to this as well. NHS Track and Trace is in use, with all members of the party required to check in. Hand sanitiser was available in the common areas, and the game, and we were asked to wash our hands upon entry to the building. Games and reception areas are sanitised between teams, and games are staggered so that only one team will be present in each reception area at any one time.
I’ve never been overly fond of dentists, although I don’t dislike them. Perhaps I was slightly warped by Little Shop of Horrors as a child as, to this day, I still cannot picture Steve Martin as anything other than a sadistic dentist. However, this feeling of unease about the people that poke at your teeth created the perfect atmosphere for The Dentist at Top Escape Rooms. The bright and welcoming atmosphere of the surgery’s reception area felt like any dental office I’ve been to, even down to the inane muzak playing in the background. The space was filled with informative posters, books and magazines, toys for the children, and plenty of leaflets to encourage good dental hygiene. But as we progressed, we quickly discovered that all was not as it seemed, and it appears as though my trepidation regarding dentists was not unfounded.
The Dentist had a non-linear flow with multiple starting points, and while it wasn’t particularly heavy on the narrative, the setting aligned perfectly with the story, which took a bit of a grisly turn as we raced against the clock. The horrors contained within the surgical suite provided a stark contrast to the cheer of the reception area, and brought to life one’s worst dental fears. Don’t worry, there isn’t a live actor to chase you with some novocaine, but there are plenty of jump scares and some rather dark moments (and I mean that both literally and figuratively). Surprisingly for a horror themed game, however, the design never relied on the standby of “difficulty by darkness.”
Thanks to a number of authentic dentistry related props, the puzzles seemed to fit perfectly within the theme. The non-linear structure of the game allowed Gord and I to divide and conquer, which was a blessing, since I got hung up on a maths puzzle for a rather long time (FYI, it wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be. I just didn’t read.) Teams can often find non-linear games more difficult, but it’s always nice to be able to leave and come back to something if you’re a bit stuck, but my mathematical struggles aside, the puzzles had a good flow, with a nice mix of simple wins and more complex challenges.
Those that brave The Dentist can expect those challenges to consist of a variety of fair and engaging puzzles that range from pure observation to logic problems, tactile challenges to pattern recognition, and sometimes a blend of all of these things and more, plus of course, the maths. As it is an Escape Room, The Dentist wouldn’t really be complete without a search element, and rest assured, there is a little bit of hunting to be done in order to escape your fate. Annoyingly, none of the hiding places were overly sneaky, and yet, we needed a clue due to missing something in plain sight.
Adam was back as our GM for The Dentist, and was clearly keeping a close eye on us, ready to nudge with a clue if we felt it was necessary. Clues, as well as a timer, were displayed on a screen in the game, and any clues were accompanied by an alert noise to ensure that we did actually notice.
Once again, Adam knew just when to chime in to see if we were ready to admit defeat and accept some help to avoid frustration from any particular puzzles, but fortunately, we didn’t need him too much; once because I didn’t want to read a clue properly, once because we made some incorrect assumptions, and one more time for a search fail (I’m blaming Gordon for that one.) But in each instance, Adam’s nudges were just enough to make us realise where we were going wrong and get back where we needed to be.
I am overdue for a visit to the dentist, but I don’t think The Dentist at Top Escape Rooms is the best place for a check up. But if you’re looking for solid puzzles and a few thrills and chills, then it might just be what you’re looking for.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 49:04
Address: Unit 18 Top Barn, Holt Heath WR6 6NH