Not like any other Pirate game you’ll have played
Alan was always someone we could rely on, he’d be at work super early every shift, was always happy to stay late if we needed him to, and if you could look past his obsession with pirates then he seemed like a very normal guy. Unfortunately, he’s not turned up for work two days in a row and he isn’t returning our calls, and we suspect he’s responsible for a very important manual going missing. We think it’s our duty as responsible employers to do something …so we want to ask you for a favour
Day eight of our escape room road trip and game two of the day at Unescapable Derby was Alan (yes, that is a truly great name for an escape room). We’d just completed playing Edith (the one Unescapable are probably most well known for) so we were feeling suitably warmed up and ready to see what Alan was all about, literally all I knew was that it was a pirate themed room, and I love those.
Unescapable have a massive lobby and you can’t help but notice the massive time machine in the middle, lovingly surrounded by team photos of previous participants all over the walls. Normally there are lockers to use, but in covid-times, these are out of action. We took a quick water break and then our GMs whisked us away to the outside of Alan’s room.
Outside the entrance to his room, our GMs, Stephen and Marcus proceeded to cover the health and safety and room specific briefing (with suitable theatrics). With that out of the way, we knew we had to enter Alan’s room to work out what he had been upto and where he’d gone.
Covid-19 Procedures: All staff wore masks and kept a safe distance. We were the only team on site and plentiful hand sanitiser was available. Track and trace was used and I gather rooms were thoroughly cleaned between sessions (we played in May 2021)
I couldn’t help but laugh when we entered this room, we were told it was a pirate theme but what we witnessed when we opened the door was not at all what I was expecting. Saying that, it was perfectly themed and was unique in its approach to a time travel game. As we played the game and the story progressed we found there was a great contrast between how we started the game, and where we ended up.
Unescapable deserve credit here for taking a rather common theme (Pirates) and turning it on its head to add a whole other level that we haven’t seen before in a pirate themed game. Ok, the first area didn’t feel particularly piratey but as the game progressed that all changed and we were transported into something that just felt right.
In places the game was dark but torches were provided (if you could find them), although once again we were hampered by torches that were a bit crappy. I really wish venues would invest in quality torches or new batteries. The darkness did provide a few issues thanks to the subpar torches, but generally it wasn’t too bad.
I have a habit of getting lost in the game and not taking in everything that is going on, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say there was an atmospheric soundtrack playing, but really, I can’t remember – let’s just say there was.
Generally the space was quite open and easy to move around, although in places it can get a bit tight and at least one member of your team will need to be comfortable in tight spaces and crawling around a bit. The pirate ship section certainly felt like an adventure as we got to explore all the nooks and crannies.
Alan was a devious chap and had created a number of puzzles in his world that we needed to solve; searching, logic, pattern recognition, audio, a few more physical things – in other words, the usual sort of things one finds in an escape room. The puzzles seemed to fit well with the theme, in both sections of the game, and nothing felt particularly out of place.
I think there was only one puzzle that we didn’t enjoy, it’s the style of puzzle that can be far too ambiguous and in a time of COVID where people may have ‘altered senses’ and be wearing masks, it seemed like a curious choice to leave it in. We managed to solve the puzzle but only by using a bit of logic and luck.
Alan felt like quite a linear game, certain things were available early on but everything had to be solved in a specific order to progress. This meant we couldn’t really split up early on, but later in the game it did seem to open up a bit more so could still be good for larger teams.
Most of the puzzles in the game resulted in combinations for puzzles, so if you’re not a padlock person, this may not be the game for you. Personally, I don’t mind padlocks so it didn’t bother me, but I know others can be pickier.
Clues in Alan were delivered using the tried and tested method of a walkie-talkie, nothing fancy, but it works. We didn’t feel like we particularly clicked in this game so possibly could have needed a little help here or there, unfortunately it felt like our GMs were perhaps a little eager to get us through the game quickly so were very quick to jump in with clues, even if we hadn’t really been given adequate time to solve the puzzles.
The clueing was really the only downside of our experience at Unescapable, but everyone has off days and different people like to be clued in different ways. We’ve spoken with another blogger and they commented that this didn’t happen when they played here, so let’s just put it down to an off day.
A pirate themed room, but not as you know it. Surprise awaits you when you enter this room, and then you’re taken on a wonderful journey as the story develops.
Good theming, and some clever puzzles made it enjoyable, but dubious gamesmastering and one questionable puzzle took a little away from the experience for us.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 40 minutes
Address: 25 The Wardwick, Derby, DE1 1HA