ClueHQ – CSI: The Panic Room

ClueHQ – CSI: The Panic Room.
Location: Manchester
Game Date 02/01/2018.
Team: Amy & Ian


“This morning, a wealthy businessman was shot dead while inside his personal Panic Room. Local authorities are stumped and you have been drafted in as a member of the Criminal Liaison Unit (C.L.U.) to investigate the scene of the crime.

Armed only with your evidence kit, the crime scene and a database of over 500 potential suspects– it’s up to you to solve the case before the murderer gets away. Can you stop their escape in less than 60 minutes?”

Theming was good, albeit quite simple, but you would not expect anything flashy from a panic room. With an impressive set piece within the room, which intrigues from the get go and keeps pulling the eyes as it’s so large! There are also plenty of screens to look at, tech to interact with and stuff to explore.
The room is lit, but there are lighting changes and moments of darkness which are all in keeping with the theme.
The use of video, audio and lighting all aide in the story telling in this room, giving an immersive experience with a coherent and succinct storyline that comes with a few plot twists!
The room is large enough to accommodate the max group of 6.

Game Play:
An open game that seemed to roll into 3 distinct sections, game play in the 1st and last section was a little more linear and in the mid-section was totally open.
The Puzzles encompassed almost every single type. Logic, Observation, Deduction, Aural, Physical, Word, Tech, Gaming, Skill. There was an astounding number of puzzles, and each one was good in it’s logic and solvable. The sense of discovery and play within the room stood out, Ah-ha moments came steadily, as the puzzles required a lot of critical thinking.
The flow was excellent, and we were kept busy for every second of the hour, the game never slowed down, it only became more and more pressured throughout the game. (ClueHQ have a real talent for piling on the pressure in the final moments of a game)
The 1st and 3rd parts of the game lay more inline with a murder mystery, solving puzzles and clues to deduce who has murdered our wealthy business man. This was a nice change of tack and the interaction with the C.L.U. database was novel and lead to some very interesting and engaging puzzles.
The 2nd part of the game utilised the large set piece I mentioned in the theme section, this became a massive meta puzzle, as it’s open and visible from the start it’s a joy when you actually get to play with and interact with all the puzzles and games on it! It was a massive swing in the style of gameplay, encouraged the team to really come together (will be fun in a bigger team, I imagine!) and get stuck in. Very clever game design as it felt like a new room, but within the existing room.
All in all CSI is a very good take on the “murder scene” game scenario, without being too cliche or inconclusive. The game ramps up to a satisfying conclusion with plenty of twists, turns and surprises along the way… You NEVER know which direction ClueHQ is going to take a game, but you can bet you’ll come out the end excited and exhiliarated.
A good room for enthusiasts as it takes some escape room tropes and turns them sideways, has plenty of content and neat puzzles. Newbies, take on some of ClueHQ’s other rooms first, this is not a first timers room!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Mark was our game host and also designed the game, it was a pleasure to have him as our host, he was welcoming and friendly and delivered clues with precision and perfect timing

Did we escape?
Yes, in 57 minutes!

Website: https://cluehq.co.uk
2 Players £44
3 Players £63
4 Players £76
5 Players £85
6 Players £90

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