Shrewsbury, Jun 2019
After playing the medieval-style The Beginning at Adventure Vault, we went straight on to their other game, The Scandal. This has no connection to the other in plot, theme or style: the noir setting seemed set somewhere in the 20th Century, and you are private investigators tasked by one Mr. Talbot with finding his wife, who has vanished along with a diamond and other valuables.
Our initial brief carefully emphasised that our employer was much more interested in the safe return of his diamond than his wife – which helped built the story, but was also sensible given that it’s a lot easier for the prize at the end of an escape room to be a chunky gemstone than a fugitive spouse!
In contrast to the venue’s other game, The Scandal is quite traditional in style. Expect padlocks on drawers, along with a little searching, a little codebreaking, some paper clues and bits of maths – solidly designed, fun and satisfying and very much bread and butter escape room puzzles.
It did not take us long to finish. Having played a lot of escape rooms helps with some games more than others. Some tasks just require time to complete them, even once you know exactly what to do; others trip you up for one reason or another. But where puzzles are solidly designed and use some of the familiar ideas that I’ve seen in plenty of other games, our group can rattle through a room in very little time. The Scandal is a room full of classic-style escape room puzzles, with nothing particularly confusing or well-hidden to trip us up, and with plenty of opportunity to divide and conquer. As such we were done and out in just over twenty minutes without particularly feeling like we were hurrying, and at least a quarter of that time was due to the one puzzle that gave us any pause for thought.
I wouldn’t say there was a problem with too little content, although both The Scandal and the previous game we’d played at Adventure Vault were at a difficulty level better suited to beginner players. The speed with which we completed it was more to do with the familiarity of the puzzle style. If you’ve played a lot of escape rooms, then you may find this one a bit easy. For anyone who’s played a smaller number of games, The Scandal will be a straightforward and solid game.