This is what escape rooms are all about
It’s time the world knew the true identity of the world-renowned anonymous graffiti artist FRANKSY…have you got what it takes to discover the truth??
For years local newspaper ‘The Big Scoop’ have been tracking Bournemouth’s most famous citizen, FRANKSY, the world-renowned anonymous graffiti artist. They’ve homed in on his last known whereabouts and now need willing freelance journalists to find out his true identity. If you’re successful you will be rewarded with the life changing sum of £150,000!
We’re holding the front page and we go to print in 60 minutes. Have you got what it takes to meet this deadline?
Bournemouth is obviously known for its sandy beaches and a great night out, but it’s also home to a number of great escape rooms. For some reason, on our many trips to Bournemouth in the past we had never actually managed to head to U-Escape to play any games, so of course it was about time we rectified that.
As it would happen, we timed our trip to U-Escape perfectly as they had just opened their new room, Franksy. This meant we were able to play all three of their games back-to-back, first up was ‘Psycho Surgeon Escape’, swiftly followed by ‘The Barber Shop Mystery’, but in my opinion, we certainly saved the best for last with Franksy.
Our GM for Franksy was Jodi (the owner of U-Escape) and she delivered an in-character briefing in reception before we were led down into the basement where the Franksy game is located. Speaking with Jodi after the game it was clear to see that Franky was a true passion project for her and a lot of love had gone into the game.
It’s worth noting that we played this game within the first week of it being open so there is a chance that things may change a little, although we hope not as it was just so much fun! You’ll also get a decision to make before playing – you get to choose a difficultly level. We chose the hardest mode and we were happy with our choice. The tweaks that can be made for ‘easier’ settings will make it a little easier but it will still be a good challenge.
Covid-19 Precautions: We wore masks as did staff on site. Hand sanitiser was also available.
You’ll probably guess from the name and the story that this game is inspired by Banksy, but really inspiration is as far as it goes as everything in this game is designed specifically for it by ‘Franksy’. But if you’re even a little familiar with the design style of Banksy then you’ll have a good idea of the type of decor that you’ll find here – think a bit grungy in places, lots of colour, and some really cool artwork. It feels weird to call this room beautiful, but arguably it was, and the set design was spot on.
There was a real sense of adventure in this game, starting in the street outside Franksy’s studio and then having to break-in, but even then there was more to keep us guessing and we had many moments of wonder and surprise.
There was nothing in the room that really felt out of place and everything there felt like it belonged, whether to enhance the story/setting or because it was part of a puzzle. There’s a lot to take in when you enter, but once you get settled you’ll start to see where to go and what you need to do.
A game is often only as strong as its ending, and I’m pleased to say that the ending to Franksy was immensely satisfying. We were happy with our decision at the end of the game, will you be with yours?
Franksy played out in a multi-linear fashion which meant that Liz and I could split up for the most part and work on different things. The puzzles felt totally random, but entirely thematic and fitted in perfectly. It was also nice to see a number of unique puzzles that we hadn’t seen before anywhere else.
There was a nice back and forth with the space as items found early may not be needed until later, and it’s useful to remember what you’ve seen as it may come in handy later.
In terms of puzzle styles, there were a lot! Cyphers/decoding, logic, tactile, observation, spatial awareness, maths, team work, audio – it basically had a bit of everything. What was interesting though was that for a room that was in many ways colour heavy, our resident colour blind player had no issues anywhere (and actually solved most of the puzzles).
The puzzles mostly resulted in combinations for padlocks but there was also some tech involved too to keep us guessing, and one reveal we certainly didn’t see coming!
I think it’s safe to say that we enjoyed nearly all of the puzzles in Franksy, there is one that I can categorically say we did not enjoy. Liz, bless her, spent around 23 minutes on this one puzzle (she’s stubborn and wouldn’t tag out), and this meant she missed out on a lot of the other stuff in the game. It’s the type of puzzle that I’d imagine you either love or hate, but there isn’t really a work around should you not be good at it. Although, saying that, after the game Jodi did let us know a way we could have used a ‘shortcut’ if we needed to.
Jodi did a great job as our GM, or we think she did. This room made so much sense that we didn’t actually need any help or assistance (well Liz probably would have appreciated help on that puzzle, but she couldn’t really get help there). I love it when a game just clicks and everything makes sense, it really enables us to just get into the flow and enjoy it.
Our previous two games at U-Escape were hosted by Jamie, and as Jamie was attentive and good with clueing, I’m sure that Jodi would have been too (she did train him after all). If we had needed clues, we could have just clapped in front of the cameras and asked for help, audio clues would then have come in over the speaker system.
Easily our favourite game at U-Escape. Franksy has a unique theme, with unique puzzles, and great set design. This is by far the most challenging of games at this venue, especially if you complete it on the hardest setting, but it’s great fun and if you’re in Bournemouth get it booked!
Team: 2 players – escaped in 49:14
Address: 1 Poole Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 5PW