clueQuest – Revenge of the Sheep

Summary
A challenging room that’s not for newbies, builds on the previous two rooms in terms of story and style. The goal is in the style of a specific task rather than simply escaping. Style and build quality top notch. The inaugural winner of the London Escapists “Generally Awesome” award.

Review
Some rooms have got one or two unique puzzles or features that make you go “Wow”. Revenge of the Sheep doesn’t. It is one constant wow from start to finish. Right away when entering the room one of the earliest puzzles is so amazingly intelligent and precisely designed that I don’t know how someone conceived of it. This theme continues throughout, with beautiful design style, tricky but eminently solvable puzzles, plenty for everyone to do and little linearity, a great story, and even a couple of puzzle answers that were in-jokes.

Team Amaze returned for its second and my third visit to clueQuest. We had three rooms booked, one of Revenge of the Sheep and two of Plan52, with the returning players primarily on the former. Our four-person team was pretty early for our slot — the start time for Plan52 being 20 minutes earlier, but we all travelled and arrived together – but this didn’t cause any issues and we were able to get going promptly. And so it was that Mig, Vicky, Agent P and I got ready to prevent the Revenge of the Sheep.

Our host was bright and bubbly, and explained briefly clueQuest’s premise and our mission. She gave a demonstration padlock only to Agent P as the rest of us confirmed we’d played the other two missions, and for the rest of us introduced a newer item.

Spoiler

This was a tablet augmented reality system which is pretty cool.

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With that we were off and racing through the first few puzzles in the room. Almost immediately we were confronted with a puzzle concept that was simply amazing. Not going to put it in even under spoiler tags, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

The room had a great balance of puzzle types including combinations (both letters and numbers used), search and collect, mechanical, technological, and combinations thereof. It was a rare place where everything matters and you needed to pay attention to everything. All the while, the objects and set were beautifully crafted with no rough edges and just when I thought there was nothing more that could impress me, I entered the next code and something popped up which made me think again.

All the while we made steady progress. There was very little linearity after the first few puzzles and several things that brought all four of us into play.

Our host was attentive to the detail and interceded when she needed to, and no more. She twice spotted that we had the right answer to puzzles but had contrived to enter the solution incorrectly, and got on the radio to give suitable advice.

We had two technical issues. One was with part of the technology used in the room which we discussed with the host and have put down to teething problems (we visited a couple of weeks after the room opened). The other was a slightly bizarre crossed line on the radio channel, such that we could hear the messages coming through from the host of an Operation Black Sheep room on our walkie-talkie. Our host was a woman and theirs was a man, so we mostly just filtered it out when a male voice came on. Some of the messages for that other team were amusing to hear having played Operation Black Sheep myself in the past.

One of the puzzles had been slightly spoiled by a previous player defacing one of the game materials. We ignored the answers and went to solve the puzzle by ourselves. If you’re reading this, shame on you. We fed back by email and they swapped out the offending item.

Outcome
We won with just over 5 minutes left on the clock. I think we used two hints. This is a “mission room” rather than an escape per se (the host will make it clear what this means, but in short you’re trying to do something in the room rather than get out). It was made entirely clear when we completed the room that we had done so by way of a recorded message and the timer stopping. Our host quickly fetched us.

In numbers
Overall: 10/10
Difficulty: 8/10
Theming: 9/10
Host: 9/10
Wow: 10/10

Revenge of the Sheep gets a well-deserved perfect score and earns our inaugural “Generally Awesome” award.

Other details
Accessibility: Fully wheelchair accessible throughout with a chair-lift down the stairs.

Alerts: Limited space at the start.

Capacity: This room accepts 3-5 players by default. They will accept 2 players but charge for 3, and will accept a 6th player for an upcharge of around £20 from the 5-player rate, which is done manually. A 2-player team would not have any difficulty operating the puzzles, but I think their complexity would make it difficult for them to succeed. A 6-player team would have enough to do in some parts of the game but would be a bit bored otherwise. There are two copies of this room available for simultaneous play – along with a total of seven other rooms encompassing the two earlier challenges.

NB: This room is hard. You really need to have your wits about you to spot and make sense of a lot of the puzzles. Not for new players!

Cost: We paid £89 for a team of 4.

Photo: Yes with basic background and branded props. 4 copies printed with 1 in guestbook to sign and the remainder given to the team/used to create fridge magnets (additional purchase). Links to download photo were provided after I sent in a request.

Website: https://cluequest.co.uk/

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