Always wanted to have a bad-ass Indiana Jones moment? Escape Rooms Cardiff has the thing for you.
NOTE: I replayed and re-reviewed this room three years later. Check out the most up to date review of The Tomb.
I decided to start off in The Tomb. As an ancient history buff I wanted to don my fedora and whip and start uncovering mysteries.
Swap out the fedora for a set of pixel shades and a whip for a wind-up torch and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what I looked like going in.
The premise is simple. You’re trapped in an ancient tomb. You have to solve a series of puzzles and clues in order to escape, and you have to do it in 60 minutes. And you have to do it in the dark.
Room design / immersion
The darkness really helps to give that closed-in feel to the tomb (though it’s in no way claustrophobic).
Sand coats the entire floor so when you have to get down on your hands and knees (and you will have to get down on your hands and knees at some point), the feel of the sand adds that extra element of immersion.
The room’s soundtrack emphasises that race-against-time vibe, which keeps the blood pumping as you frantically search for clues.
Purely to aid with immersion, it might have been better to have a more traditional “Egyptian” style soundtrack at the beginning, which then crescendos into something a bit more high-octane as your time starts ebbing away.
The walls and decorations are all hand-painted with Egyptian heiroglyphs and scenes, and add to that ancient vibe.
Puzzle quality / diversity
The puzzles in The Tomb are more more physical than in other rooms, involving a fair bit of pulling, pushing, and manipulating the puzzles to solve them.
On one of the puzzles we failed a number of times, until a clue flashed up on the screen to “take it slow”, which meant we eased our way into solving it.
There’s no linear progression with the puzzles – you can complete them in any order, which reward you with tokens, keys or other trinkets to progress to the next section.
The room is split into sections, and you must complete the puzzles in the first section in order to move onto the next. The interaction between puzzles, even those in different sections, is very clever.
A piece of advice to everyone who attempts The Tomb is to check everywhere twice – one of the puzzle solutions was quite well hidden and turned up in the most unlikely of places.
The clue system of Escape Rooms is particularly useful. It gave spoiler-free prompts on our current puzzle such as “take your time”, “the next puzzle is well-hidden” etc, to help us progress without becoming too frustrated.
What I’d like with these clues is to give gamers the option of a “difficulty setting” before they go in. Casual mode would mean they get the standard screen prompts whenever the game masters can see that they’re struggling on a puzzle. Challenge mode would mean that gamers have to specifically request when they want clues, and these would be limited in number.
As The Tomb was the least difficult of the three rooms, I feel that this would enhance things a bit and add to the tension as the clock ticks down.
A great way to spend an hour
I very much enjoyed playing The Tomb, and I’m looking forward to trying out the more challenging rooms that Escape Rooms has to offer.
We managed to escape the room with 23 minutes to spare – being familiar with how escape rooms work definitely helped to shave some time off for us.
I’d recommend The Tomb to anyone who’s completely new to live escape games, people with children or someone who really wants to have their 60 minutes as Indiana Jones. It was a hell of a lot of fun, though I’m eager to try out something more challenging.
The Tomb is a Level 3 difficulty level room, and is better suited to smaller teams. Prices start from £17 per person. You can get more info and book a session at Escape Rooms Cardiff.
Disclosure: We were offered a complimentary escape room experience for the purposes of writing a fair and honest review. This has not affected our opinion of the game whatsoever. Check out the disclosure policy for more info.