Escapologic in Nottingham, UK is one of those must-play venues and has been nominated in the TERPECA’s every year, so when I heard that they were opening a remote avatar room, I was rather curious to see which one it would be. I guessed it would be one of two, and one of my guesses, “Contraption”, was correct.
Now, in the interest of fairness, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve played Contraption in real life, but it was just over 5 years previous to playing the remote avatar version. I totally loved it as I’m a sucker for the whole steampunk vibe and the theming was great. It was the first room built by Escapologic and seeing it again years later I can confirm that it has stood both the test of time and the advancements in escape room technology incredibly well.
You begin your adventure in a wonderfully atmospheric laboratory and workshop which is filled with interesting devices and mechanisms. You’re here to attempt to prove your worth and your intellectual prowess and win the mysterious legacy that the legendary genius and inventor, Professor Miirt has left behind. As you would expect in a Contraption room, you have work to do, some tasks mechanical and even some physical! The puzzles you are faced with fit thoroughly suit the workshop of a genius inventor with the puzzles blending the cerebral and the practical to great effect.
Our avatar and companion in our quest was Ed, who did a wonderful job following our instructions and kept us in focus throughout, which must have been tricky in some areas due to the lower lighting levels. His hints were very subtle with the use of lingering camera angles and with some carefully chosen wording to point us back in the right direction.
To complement the gameplay there is a telescape inventory, and it has one of the clearest 360 views of the rooms I’ve ever seen. This is a wonderful aid as this allows you to see detail whilst retaining that wonderful industrial/Victorian lighting in the room which casts some great shadows and nicely sets off the metalwork of the machines.
The telescape was also used to great effect to introduce the narrative throughout the adventure in a series of letters which gave the backstory to Professor Miirt as well as providing clues and completing the adventure with the final letter. Each of these was accompanied by a voiceover, a lovely resonant voice read out the text. I loved this as it brought the character of Professor Miirt to life for me, I could almost imagine him, and for others in the team, it was a great help as they didn’t have to read a large amount of text.
If I had to be picky then I’d have like the avatar to have a character to complement the story, but that’s just my personal preference and he did a great job as himself.
As I said earlier this room is an old one, it’s coming up for its 6th birthday, but don’t let its age put you off, like some fine wine age has given Contraption more character and depth and its all the better for its years. We all enjoyed it immensely.