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Review: Alien - iLocked, Nottingham

Room Story - from iLocked

Our Alien escape room sends commands into the future, to the year 2224. Players are astronauts flying a spaceship back to Earth from the planet Next. Suddenly, the ship's self-destruct system reports unknown biomaterial. Aliens! Players have to get rid of them, but it will not be easy. How can disaster be averted? Players have to race through the spaceship's numerous modules, where they will find lots of things to investigate. Will they be able to use the space technology correctly? That depends on whether they can fight off the invading aliens. Players have just one hour to get out. This space horror-themed escape game from Ilocked is great fun for family and friend teams.


Key Stats

Room NameAlien
VenueiLocked
LocationNottingham, UK
Date16/12/2018
Escape Time51:45
Team Size6
My Recommended Team Size4 - 6

Review

We’d previously played The Mummy at iLocked and we enjoyed the game. I’ve wanted to go back and give Alien a try for quite some time. Unusually, we took along a team of 6 people to play – the most I’ve ever played with in a room.

As usual with all escape rooms, we had a briefing about the room. Unusually, the briefing was very lengthy and sought to explain many different elements of the room. The host had 2 A4 sides of instructions he went through which was simply too much information to retain. It also unnecessarily gave away quite a bit about the game. I really think the majority of the information given could have been either figured out by us as we played or replaced by better signposting within the game.

One thing we’ve experienced on both occasions we’ve visited this venue is the hosts emphasising the use of technology in their games and somewhat looking down on rooms that use padlocks. I think it’s great that this venue offers a different escape room experience, but whether or not a room uses technology is not a marker of the quality and experience of the room. Some of our very favourite games use padlocks extensively.

After the briefing, we had to choose a captain. The rest of the team started the game in 5 separate chambers. The first task was for the captain to ‘wake’ the team up from their chambers. This played nicely into the theme of the room. It was a fairly simple task, but it was a little bit repetitive for a team of 5 players.

There was then a little bit of searching where we uncovered several A4 pages of documentation with instructions for the spaceship. This got us a little bit worried after the briefing that we might be spending the game reading pages of information. However, there were only a few bits of information hidden amongst the pages that were truly relevant and useful.

In this space there were a fairly linear set of puzzles, so for a few minutes we were all working on pretty much the same thing. We all worked on a puzzle that we did eventually solve, but it felt a little bit unclear to us and we weren’t quite sure how! This allowed us to open the doors to the rest of the spaceship. After completing another short puzzle, we were then free to explore all of the room’s spaces.

The theming of the room is brilliant; it makes great use of technology and props to give you a real feeling of being on board a spaceship. Think automatic doors, circuit boards, cabling, experimental equipment, etc. At this point in the game, it becomes very non-linear and opens up with lots of different spaces to explore and lots of puzzles to complete. This was a perfect game to play with a larger team as there were lots we could work on simultaneously in completely separate parts of the game.

The new experience for me of working with a team size of 6 is how chaotic if felt at times with people running off to complete different puzzles, shouting information backwards and forwards, etc. But it was all really good fun and we worked well together as a team with everybody playing a part in our successful escape.

The room has a nice mechanism that shows you the various tasks you need to complete and the status of each one of them. We didn’t immediately notice this, but when we did, it was a great way of measuring your progress through the game.

We all had good fun completing the puzzles in the room, with quite a few nice physical puzzles to interact with. We didn’t find many of the puzzles mentally tasking, with quite a number of them relying on trial and error to solve.

Throughout the game, more of the storyline is unveiled using screens within the game to broadcast messages. This was also the primary mechanism for delivering clues. This was a nice way of bringing the story in the room to life. Although the iLocked website does describe the game as space horror themed, there wasn’t much in the game on the horror side so I think it would be suitable for all.

Once we’d completed all the tasks in the room, we had one final challenge that took us quite a few minutes to crack and get right. Once that was done, we opened the emergency airlock and escaped to freedom. All in all, this was a fun game that worked really well as a larger team. They’ve themed the game well and the use of technology complements the style of it.

The team were Daniel, Craig, Chris, Jenny, Em and Becky.

Ratings


Overall A nicely themed room that used technology well suited to the space theme. Lots of space to explore and lots of varied puzzles.
Difficulty It’s not an overly difficult room, the puzzles are reasonably straightforward and not very mentally taxing.
Fun We had good fun in the room. The non-linear gameplay worked well with a large team of 6 people.
Puzzles There were lots of fun and physical puzzles that made great use of technology. The fun was in the interactivity, but we didn’t find many of them mentally challenging.
Immersion The room’s very immersive with lots of space to explore and great theming – think automatic doors, electrical components, wires, cables, air locks – all the things you’d expect on a spaceship.
Surprises There aren’t many surprises in the game – a lot of information is given in the up-front briefing that doesn’t leave many surprises.

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