The Great Escape – Placebo

The Great Escape – Placebo.
Location: Sheffield
Game Date 01/10/2017.
Team: Amy & Ian.

The Great Escape is located in what seems to be shared office space in the student area of Sheffield, this shared space doesn’t leave the most welcoming impression with the downstairs waiting area constantly being interrupted by a stream of people coming in and out of the building. We were asked to arrive 20 minutes early, and then were told 5 minutes before our game was due to start that they were “just resetting” the room and we were left in this communal space… first impressions with The Great Escape were quite underwhelming and impersonal. Luckily it did improve when our game host came and got us to take us up to the room.

“Enjoy mind melts, confusing conundrums and perplexing puzzles? This is your room.

It’s the winter of 1957 and rumours are circulating about secret government human experimentation. Unsuspecting test subjects have been given deadly psychedelics intended for mass mind control purposes under false pretence by the CIA. You have just returned from a drugs trial for a new over the counter medicine, but you begin to feel paranoid and sense that you have been followed. You remember taking the medication and how something wasn’t quite right… The simplest of tasks become near impossible, and it is these simple tasks that you must complete to escape.”

Theming was OK, nothing stand out and nothing to suggest any type of time frame or experimentation. There was little in the way of immersion after the story was delivered in the room (this was done very well)
Some of the rooms within the game are incredibly dark (nearly pitch black – if we didn’t have a torch we would have been stuffed)
There is a sound-track in the game but I think this is more likely to be to distract and confuse rather than aid in immersion.
The story barely carries through the game, and is delivered sporadically through laminated slips of paper.
The rooms were of good size, and could comfortably accommodate 5-6 players but it may be a bit tricky with the maximum number of 7 as there are a couple of slightly smaller spaces in the game.

Game Play:
The Great Escape utilises a unique structure in its games. The game is 45 minutes long (this goes against the norm of the UK standard!) and to aid in your escape you can choose some “powers” to take into the room with you. These include items like a torch, 5 minutes extra time (taking the game to 45 minutes) 1 code for free, the ability to ask for hints etc.
I honestly didn’t like this approach, I feel that if you have dark rooms for any reason torches should be provided in the room. Hints should be available for all players at all times. It doesn’t sit right to me to make people choose items that should be provided as standard (and are provided at pretty much every other escape game that we’ve played at)
With that out the way, the game itself was linear.
The puzzles were a mix of logic, searching, observation and a little bit of physicality thrown in. There are a couple of nice puzzles, but this room fell down on the fact that we had to repeated puzzles 2 or 3 times in the same way to open locks on one box, which to me seemed like time wasting. It was not the room full of optical illusions I was expecting. Optical illusion was only used once to good effect in the opening puzzle. There was a few moments of lazy design where a code was just written within another box, I felt that the game was quite repetitive, essentially doing the exact same puzzle 3 times in succession is not fun!
The flow was good, and we kept working the entire time and didn’t hit any major sticking points.
One thing this game had was a very unique and fun exit and finale! I really enjoyed the ending!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a walkie talkie

Game Host:
Joe was our game host and was just lovely, he delivered a fun and engaging brief. Kept touching base with us throughout the game, not with hints but checking we were OK and seeing if we wanted help.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 44 minutes. I am glad we completed under the legit 45 minute time!

Website: https://thegreatescapegame.co.uk/sheffield/
2 Players £38
3 Players £51
4 Players £60
5 Players £70
6 Players £78
7 Players £91


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