Escape Blackwood – Jumunga [REVIEW]

Jumunga Escape Blackwood review

A fun game with a ton of heart.

Played 02 September 2020
2-player team: Jamie & Mim
Completed in 49 minutes

As the coronavirus pandemic lockdown began to ease off in Wales, I needed to scratch my escape room itch. Six months of playing play-at-home puzzle games didn’t slake my thirst – only intensified it. So I finally booked in to play at my most local venue – Escape Blackwood.

Premise

Dr Parrish, famous explorer and founder of the Jumunga board game, has recently passed away.

Leaving no heir to his fortune, and being an eccentric, Dr Parrish has rigged the game for any new wannabe adventures.

Dr Parrish’s last will and testament states that any challenger that can complete the game, with in the hour, will win his fortune.

Theme / immersion

The tech worked smoothly in this room – much better than some other jungle themed rooms I’ve played.

With Jumanji inspired games there’s a worry that the central puzzle piece – the game board with the animal tokens – won’t work as intended since the movements need to be precise. There were no hiccups here – everything worked as expected.

The game worked within its limitations and didn’t try to ‘pull you into the world’ of Jumunga, so there was less suspension of disbelief needed.

I’d say there could be a little more polish to some parts of the build, but there was nothing that detracted from the game experience itself.

The room has been adapted with COVID in mind, so there’s no ‘escaping’ as there’s no door to the room. Instead, players have to locate a specific artifact hidden in the room to win. Honestly, I quite liked the change of pace in that it wasn’t a straight-forward ‘escape’ scenario.

Puzzles / signposting

Jumunga is a fairly linear game, which works as it’s a fairly small room. It’s quite packed in with puzzles, though, so there’s enough to get on with.

The puzzles were a range of pattern recognition, deciphering and counting/searching puzzles. There was good a puzzle mix overall, though there was a tendancy to lean on variations of counting / observation puzzles.

The signposting was well done throughought, and we had good puzzle flow from the start. We had a little bit of a stumbling block at the beginning but that was opening a lock variation we weren’t familiar with.

I wouldn’t say this was a challenging room, so it’s better suited to lesser-experienced players or families.

The game was almost split into sections as you needed to move the game pieces around the board, which helped us measure our progress. It also meant that our team had to split on several occasions, which gave us a bit more space in the room.

Hints / overall experience

We didn’t use any hints for this one. Due to the COVID adaptations, a hint screen hadn’t yet been installed. After chatting with the GM, he said that the game board itself will act as timer and hint system soon.

Our GM Adrian was fun and enthusiastic – you can tell there was heart put into these games and he was great to chat to.

Armchair Escapist team posing for their victory at Jumunga, Escape Blackwood
Of course I found some kind of costume to use in the photo…

In summary

Jumunga was a fun room to play – it had good puzzle flow and it marked a nice ‘welcome back’ after so long away from the scene. I’d recommended this one for families or newer players – if you’re more experienced, a group of 2 is ample as the room is quite small.

Escape Blackwood
Unit 3A, Newbridge Industrial Estate, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2XF
Bookings are £15 per adult and £12.50 per child under 12