Miss? – Taken @ Escape Blackpool

This review of Taken is based on a visit from July 2016.

blackpool

Angels with dirty knees

One of the escaping topics I’ve been thinking about recently is how one particularly good or bad memory often dictates your overall sentiment towards a room. This is particularly true of rooms that I rate quite differently from my fellow reviewers. I haven’t actually read any other reviews of Taken from Escape Blackpool yet, but it would certainly be an interesting test case.

A rogue policeman, Brian Miller, has been obsessed for some time with finding John Doe’s killer. In his eyes the evidence points to you and your friends!

One of your group will be Taken and locked away, leaving you with two tasks: rescue your friend  AND escape the room. Although you are separated, the entire group will be able to work together to complete the challenge.

Officer Miller has been very clever in the way he has hidden clues around his somewhat dilapidated room with some impressive gadgets used along the way.

Okay so I can’t be alone in hearing ‘Taken’ and thinking of Liam Neeson. In fact, that’s quite obviously the reference being made. And I bet nearly all of those are familiar with the meme/thought “why does he keep saying ‘taken’ when he means ‘kidnapped’?” This room has nothing to do with the film or Liam Neeson, but does have something to do with one of your group being kidnapped. So I guess that all works out (maybe).

You know what’s more relevant in that briefing? “Dilapidated room.” The room does a very good job of looking like a scruffy nothing-in-particular. Kidnap victims probably aren’t treated to a life of luxury but it’s a bit of an easy excuse to do very little with it. This lack of visual interest had a big impact on the team and our experience as you could almost feel our expectations dropping. This was compounded as we encountered the first few puzzles in the room as they were very easy and obvious for a seasoned team like us. I felt like we were going to escape in 10 minutes.

But we didn’t, and there was one thing that certainly wasn’t easy, and that was rescuing our friend from their incarceration. We could interact with them easily enough, but they were still contained. As we continued to solve puzzles we started to wonder if they would ever get out. 10 minutes in, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Understandably our inmate was by now quite grumpy about not really playing the room. Our discussion becomes as much about how this is terrible room design at it does about solving any puzzles. Finally we grind to a halt and have to take a clue.

Surprisingly the clue came in the form of a picture. I’d never seen this type of hint system before but it was quite fun. After we looked blankly at it for a few seconds we got a new picture revealing a little bit more. We were then able to work out what we needed to do, but not where we should do it. Another clue later they had to spell it out for us, which led to major embarrassment for one of the team, as they had overlooked (or should that be under looked?) something simple that would have liberated them some time ago. Moments later we were underway again and soon our team-mate was isolated no more. A short while later we had all escaped.

All the team came out feeling pretty negative about the experience, but it’s fair to say we didn’t experience as intended, so your mileage may vary. But I’m definite that it didn’t offer much to look at, and many of the puzzles were very familiar/easy, so I’m pretty sure you’ll have more fun in one of Blackpool’s other rooms.

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