A game that flowed extremely well, with nice ambience in fitting with the theme, without getting in the way of some smart and creative puzzles.
|Date:||16 February 2020|
Front & Briefing
We found ourselves unexpectedly back in Tromsø in northern Norway and, confused by the shining light in the sky, headed to Arctic Escape’s “bloody dungeon” for the one game we hadn’t played last time.
The GM recognised us from a couple of months ago and we had a nice chat before she led us into the room – blindfolded this time! You’re told during the briefing that the team starts split up into two groups, so if you have a team of three as we did, have a think about who wants to be on their own to start with – though they’re not entirely isolated.
This is a serial killer’s workshop, and pretty believable in that respect if you’re willing to suspend disbelief. While billed as a scary room, there are no jump scares but the ambience fits the theme well and there aren’t any tongue-in-cheek elements.
Norway’s health and saftey rules must be a little less stringent than the UK’s because, although we were told how to get out in an emergency, there were a couple of sharp objects around and one thing in particular you wouldn’t want to get in your eye. Not too big a deal but I’d advise caution while rummaging through things.
This room had a really good flow to it, and we all came away from it feeling like we’d all been really on the ball this game. It was generally always clear what puzzle(s) needed to be solved and there weren’t too many loose ends around at any time, though enough to keep everyone occupied. There were some novel ideas for the puzzles, which tended towards getting codes for padlocks, but it didn’t feel tired for it. The creators also made good use of the two-cell starting positions, with some nice bits that required cooperation between members.
Hints were via a screen that also showed the countdown timer. Our GM was well tuned to us by now, and clearly paying attention to us too. At one point we were discussing whether to ask for a hint and some text popped up on the screen saying she could give us a hint if we wanted but we were doing great for time. In the end we solved the puzzle shortly afterwards without a hint, but I think it takes some confidence and experience on the GM’s part to do that – imagine if we’d run out of time later!
The main other thing that appeared on the screen seemed to have been programmed in; depending on the state of the room it may have been non-obvious what effect taking a certain action had caused, and the message was just to look in a particular place if you hadn’t already noticed. Having played some rooms elsewhere where cause and effect has been difficult to determine, I think this was a good call.
No particular finale here, though during the briefing we’d been told what item the final puzzle involved, so we had a rough idea what we were working towards.
As with most other rooms outside the UK, payment is taken after the game, and there were no team photos, scoreboards or anything like that, just a nice chat with the GM! (Though I’m sure she would have taken a photo of us if we’d asked.) We didn’t have any questions about the room but based on past rooms here they have been happy to show us anything we had been stuck on.
Unfortunately they don’t have any new games in the works for the foreseeable future, but if you find yourself in Tromsø I would definitely book out their existing rooms.