Norwich – Cryptic Escape – The Treasure of Greenbeard

It says something about this room when I remember it so well nearly 18 months after playing it. You are trying to escape from the cells of the flagship of the dreaded pirate Greenbeard (*ahem*) who is busy with some pillaging and is due back soon. You have your chance to escape, and make off with some of his treasure at the same time.

This was the second room I had ever played, the first being Cryptic Escape‘s first game, the Lab of Dr. Lev Pasted, in August, just before their official opening, I believe.

As (kind of) expected, we were locked in cells, to escape those first. It is good to note here that you probably don’t want more than 2 to a cell. It’s a little cramped. Also good to note, the GMs can assist people who are claustrophobic here too. The venue lends itself very well, it’s old, reasonably dark, and does give a good feel here with the slightly odd shaped ceilings and walls. I like the decor too, and this impressed me even more so after the jailbreak. Less impressed was my partner, who I accidentally left in the other cell for quite a while while I searched the rest of the room. Oops.

There’s a good range of nautically themed and pirate puzzles, good use of space as it gave you the feel of being in the hold of a ship, searching for treasure. The tech was definitely a step up from the first room, which was more of a traditional one with padlocks, but it didn’t feel intrusive at all, not even the screen for the clues and timer.

The screen follows the HintHunt style games, where the GM can talk to you through a screen with their own clues. It is not apparently possible to bribe them with cake for the answers. Tom was in charge of our game, and injected some good humour as well as definitely feeling we were being looked after well.

We escaped with around 2 minutes remaining, and avoided the clutches of Greenbeard himself, and it was a reasonable stretch for 2 players, although definitely not impossible. I recommend 4 is probably maximum unless you like to be rather cosy for a while.

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Norwich – Cryptic Escape – The Lab of Dr. Lev Pasted

Going back to the first escape room I ever played here, the reviews here are a bit of a catch up.

August 2015, or around that time was the opening of the first escape room in Norwich, and I travelled with two friends not knowing quite what was happening. All I knew was that we would be locked in a room by a friendly games master and we’d face a load of puzzles in order to get out again.

The Lab of Dr. Lev Pasted was their first game, and indeed, we went in to just see….a room. And a load of puzzles. I liked the audio aspect, and the first thing I remember thinking was “Where do we even start?” At this point, only one of us had done anything like this before.

I remember this as having some really good searching, and a fair bit of it was awkward, with a fair few “oh…REALLY?” moments. Definitely laughed about it afterwards. I was hooked by the games having a story behind them, and not just a load of things to solve in a room, with no connection whatsoever. I felt fairly immersed in it, and I was reminded very much of looking around in old point and click games, trying to see what worked with what. Yes, we really didn’t have a clue about what was happening at this point, but it led to some rather amusing moments, and a fair bit of swearing. This would become quite a common theme among the next few rooms, and wow, nothing has changed 2 years later really….

Thinking back on it now, I would definitely recommed this to beginners, and although I have fond memories of my first ever game and may be rose tinting, I still don’t think this is a bad game. Indeed, I am glad to see their review scores creep up. The staff I met cared about their games, and had a great sense of humour with the hints they gave. The hints here come through the monitor when you either ask for them, or the GM thinks you might need a little push. They are steering you in the right direction, but you might end up having to think for a moment. I like this.

Cryptic Escape can be found in Norwich’s Tombland, and they are opening a new game in the near future. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer now they have increased the space they have available.