Located about a 10 minute walk from London's Kings Cross is Cluequest. They offer 4 in person escape rooms, VR experiences and print at home escape room but we were here to experience cQ Origenes. Over on Escape The Review this room receives nothing by praise and admiration from reviewers and fans of escape rooms and is currently one of the top rated games in the country so I was quite excited but also apprehensive as I had previously played Revenge Of The Sheep and whilst it was fun it was a difficult room. Little did I know that cQ Origenes would be even harder as someone else booked it and told me nothing.
Anyway, we rocked up the morning after ScareCON, no hangover but slightly tired, and were greeted by our really lovely host Josiah. He got us to sign in and then took us down to explain the health and safety and explain more about our mission:-
"Professor BlackSheep seeks to recreate the original genetical experiment that turned him into a sheep. He has launched a cyber attack on our old mainframe in the hope of extracting secret data, along with the genetical research he's missing.
In order to stop the Professor from breaching our firewall, you and your team will have to access Mr Q's old base. The only way in, however, is to shrink down to the size of a mouse with the help of the Shrink'o'Mat. Word of caution, agents: the technology you'll be exposed to is...a bit unstable and still experimental. You'll have only 60 minutes to counteract the cyber attack and secure the mainframe before the Shrink'o'Mat's effect wears off and things get messy."
Potential Spoilers Ahead
We were then taken into the room and our game had begun. The first thing you notice when you enter is the design. Its a very beautiful, if slightly cartoony explosion and its just a complete joy to look at the attention to detail on the set design in both this first room and the main room. The first room has some really fun and unique puzzles. The light puzzle was very cool and different. Just remind me that next time I play a room with Tim from ScareTour I need to remind him how to put his hand on something as he didn't understand. We managed to eventually get the shrink o mat to work and we were shrunk down and had opened the second room. You begin to notice as you play through the room is the lack of traditional padlocks, except for one really obvious one that those who have played will know what i'm talking about.
The second room has more amazing props and we started to tackle our way through the puzzles. Some of the puzzles we understood straight away like the gem order but there was a few where we genuinely had no idea and needed some hints about heading in a certain direction. It occasionally felt that the puzzles were over complicated for the sake of it and for me this kind of took away the fun from the room. The puzzle involving the tape recorder was one of the puzzles that confused us for a while and one that we needed a hint on. All the puzzles do all come together and are all possible to work out, I just think some are so left field to begin with that they are perhaps slightly harder to enjoy for those who don't think that way. The final puzzle uses technology and whilst its pretty cool I can't help but feel a little bit let down by it. It just felt a bit lazy when compared to the attention to detail and love of the other puzzles. I'm not saying it was bad, just underwhelming.
This review probably sounds negative and whilst there was some negatives the positives about the room really do outweigh the negatives. It really is a stunning room and you can really tell how much love and attention has gone into designing and creating this room, I just feel it wasn't for me. I just didn't connect with it. But the big question after all this is did we escape?
We did but didn't. We did escape but we went over time by 2 minutes and 38 seconds so its one of those did but didn't. cQ Origenes is a stunning room and I think it deserved better than the me it got when I played. Maybe if I wasn't tired I might have enjoyed it more. I feel bad about not gelling with the room especially given that I can see why people absoluely adore it.
For more information and to book tickets you can visit the ClueQuest website.