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Review: The Secret Lab - Locked In, Edinburgh

Room Story - from Locked In Edinburgh

A challenging room with a lot of puzzles.

1972 was the longest year in the history of mankind due to two leap seconds being added to its total length, an event that has since not been repeated. It was indeed a year of tension. Knee-deep in the cold war, America and Russia engaged in a global staring contest, causing much distrust. Research on defence systems including missiles and viruses were given increased funds. One lab in particular has a very interesting story.

The Kensie Research Lab was a marvel of 70s technology, with the best equipment money could buy. Situated in Edinburgh, smack in the middle of an old veterinary hospital so not to raise suspicion, the lab was designed around the research and creation of vaccines and viruses. The mastermind behind the project was Professor Lyall Kensie, a brilliant bio-chemist .Do you have what it takes to discover what lies within The Secret Lab today.


Key Stats

Room NameThe Secret Lab
VenueLocked In
LocationEdinburgh, UK
Date29/07/2018
Escape Time62:03
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size4 - 6

Review

After completing The Distillery at Locked In, we headed to the Summerhall Cafe for a slice of cake whilst waiting to take on our next game – The Secret Lab. The Secret Lab is a game that frequently makes it into escape room enthusiasts’ top 10 lists, so we wanted to play the game for ourselves. The game is designed for a 4 person minimum, however, smaller teams can play with the option to skip the first puzzle in the room and reveal it later. We knew how hard this game would be so after some discussion with the host, we decided to skip the first puzzle. It’s lucky that we did...

Locked In is based in a former veterinary school and maintains many original features of the building. This game is set in a very large space, making uses of a series of old concrete and metal cages around the room to break the game into several distinct puzzles in a 1970s laboratory setting. It’s a very daunting sight when you enter the room and observe the scale of the task before you.

The room layout guides you to the first few puzzles and we completed a few of these, however, it took us quite some time to get going in this room. The clue system deserves a special mention – clues are delivered via an old dot matrix printer. It’s a really unique and on theme way of delivering clues! With a satisfying screech from the printer, we were helped with a few clues to get us on our way and eventually find our flow.

The quality of the puzzles in this room are excellent – there are some realistic props and all of the puzzles tie perfectly back to the laboratory theme of the room. The puzzles had a very medical/laboratory style theme, with lots of interesting equipment and contraptions to interact with. All the equipment was also suitably aged to fit in with the 1970s theming, and there was even one that featured a series of everyday objects from the 70s, which really reinforced the era.

The strange thing about this game is that due to the sheer volume of puzzles, you need to split up and work separately to stand any chance of escaping, so we had to have one of the most extensive debriefs at the end of the game to find out what everybody got up to! We were amazed by the variety, with a mix of observation, searching, physical, skill based and pattern based puzzles.

As you progress through the game, the story is unveiled via a series of letters revealing the events that took place in the lab. Alongside the letters, there’s also a central task you complete that clearly measures your progress in the game. We started to struggle for time very early on in the game and could quite clearly see we were in for a frantic ending.

However, we didn’t expect an ending quite as frantic as the one we found. In the final part of the game you’re immersed in 1970s computer technology as you complete a final series of tasks that send you dashing round the room. There are lots of things you spot throughout the game that you may dismiss earlier on, but these all achieve great significance in the final minutes of the game. It’s a fantastic, amusing and crazy ending to a great game.

We didn’t escape the room in 60 minutes, but we were allowed to play on and escape the room just a few minutes over. We were actually told that our escape time was below the average time for the room and given the number and complexity of puzzles we faced, we definitely weren’t disappointed in our time! This room is a real spectacle and we can understand how it constantly ranks as one of the most popular in the UK – it’s clever, well themed and a real challenge that requires your best escape room form.

The team were Beth, Daniel and Becky.

Ratings

Overall A fantastically unique game set in a very large space, with a great variety of puzzles and an excellent storyline. It’s the hardest game we’ve played to date due to the sheer volume of puzzles.
Difficulty Even though we skipped the first puzzle as the game is designed for 4 players, we still didn’t escape in 60 minutes! It’s a difficult game with lots to get through!
Fun It’s an impressive and extremely fun game with lots to keep all of the team entertained simultaneously.
Puzzles The key strength of this game is its puzzles. There’s lots of variety and a lot to solve in the hour – but it’s all very logical and on theme.
Immersion It’s an immersive storyline, with lots of snippets unveiled throughout the game to reveal the story. It’s not an elaborately decorated room, but it’s well suited to the storyline and full of elaborate puzzles that form the decor of the room.
Surprises This game constantly surprised us with the elaborate intertwining of the various puzzles within the game. Although it’s primarily set in one large space, we were surprised by the tasks we revealed as we progressed through the game.

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