Epileptics need not apply
After a monotonous 9 to 5 shift, you get home and look around, deciding that you need a change so you call up a few friends and arrange to do something exciting. How about that new ‘escape room’ thingy that just opened near the town? The posters look stimulating and it’s had great reviews! Everyone agrees that it’s a good idea so you decide to book in and a few days later you are standing in the blackened void that is the Trapp’d reception eagerly waiting.
You have decided to try ‘The Monosphere’ room which promises to be a crazy, mind-bending psychoactive experience all rolled into one fascinating room. What you don’t realise, however, is that the government are actually using this room to test a new form of mind-modification to try and create the ‘perfect utopia’ within society – a sort of brain-washing totalitarian epidemic, if you will. Anyone who attempts this ‘escape room’ unconsciously falls into a passive stupor of compliance and conformity; Do not let this be you! Figure out a way to escape without alerting anyone to your recognition of the untold activities being performed within this room. Trapp’d in with 60 minutes to escape before you lose your mind!
A thorough scrubbing of our hands was necessary following our escape from the Molten Creek Mine, but luckily there was plenty of hot water available (and it was needed). Now squeaky clean, we settled down in reception to receive our room-specific briefing for Monosphere. With the slightly ominous question, “Do you suffer from epilepsy, or have a sensitivity to flashing lights,” we were handed our customary Trapp’d blindfolds and led to the door of our final room for the day. With our vision obscured, Gord and I were led in separately and informed that our time would start with the closure of the door.
The Monosphere is minimalist, with very few hiding places – so few in fact that those who dislike searching will be pleased, as there is very little you will need to actively search for. Likewise, it is minimal in regard to the volume of tasks to complete. The puzzles in here aren’t going to blow experienced teams away with their ingenuity, but as it contains the types of puzzles that are typical to escape rooms across the globe and the linear nature of the game, The Monosphere would be an excellent choice for a newcomer to the world of escaping, or for enthusiasts looking to tackle their first room in a smaller team. In fact, the biggest challenge to overcome here is the lighting.
Those that are sensitive to strobing lights will be pleased to know that this doesn’t last the entire time, but it does make some of the initial tasks much more challenging, even with the provided torches. Gord and I struggled particularly on one colour-based puzzle at the start. (NB, if anyone in your team is colour blind, I would suggest you ask to be in the main part of the room, as the start is split.) Warnings about the strobes aren’t present at the point of booking, so this effect can be toned down or turned off upon request – if you do have issues with strobes, be sure to mention this to your GM. We opted to go for the full psychedelic effect, but I was definitely relieved when we managed to turn it off.
When I’m determining how immersive a room is, I like to see if a puzzle not only makes sense but fits the theme. If your premise is “It’s an Escape Room,” well, you can do just about anything you like and still be on theme; The Monosphere is neither the first nor will it be the last to take advantage of this. This same premise allows a game the same freedom in set design – anything goes. The Monosphere has taken the premise of a psychoactive experience to the max, with the entire room seemingly contained in one big optical illusion, using lighting and sound to enhance the experience, rather than relying on exciting props or furniture.
The entire premise is that we’re there to do an escape room, and although we have to escape before we end up the victims of mind control, there was no story arc to drive us forward, the game never really felt as though it had a climax, although the ending was clear enough.
As is the standard across Trapp’d rooms, clues were delivered over the speaker system. The puzzles were logical enough that we didn’t often find ourselves floundering but on one or two occasions we did require a bit of help. Our GM was attentive and ready to nudge us back in the right direction or confirm we were on the right track in a few instances.
The Monosphere probably won’t be winning any awards, but I found it enjoyable. What I’m most impressed by is how Trapp’d have managed to keep it so clean given the amount of white in a room located next door to Molten Creek Mine.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 37:47
Address: 24 Connaught Street, Northampton, NN1 3BP