Manchester, Jul 2017
Our second room at Lucardo was set in the subconscious, in a dream that in sixty minutes will turn into a nightmare. Exactly why we were there or why time was limited I’m not sure, but it’s a great theme for a surreal set and unusual ideas, both of which were in evidence here. The implementation is along the lines of a child’s playroom full of games, not so much the usual teddy bears and building blocks as playing cards and sports equipment.
The room lighting on entry was set up to make the room look that much more impressive and striking; we could subsequently adjust it to a more useful light level as we dived into the meat of the game. That’s a sensible compromise between aesthetics and practicality that could do with being used more widely.
Like the other Lucardo games we played this was padlock central; with lots of similar padlocks available at the same time, most codes needed to be tried in multiple places to find the right lock. As before, that was mitigated by solid puzzle design. For more or less every puzzle that resolved in a code, we had zero doubt as to whether we’d solved it correctly and it was simply a matter of finding the correct lock, not spinning through different permutations of possible answers.
This game has an open structure that lends itself well to splitting up and tackling it in parallel, with good variety and a difficulty gradient that provides teams with some quick easy wins to get them going. A dream setting is handy for an escape room because it excuses all kinds of otherwise artificial puzzle ideas, but there were some nice usage of the sleep theme.
The Dream was unanimously our favourite of the three we played at Lucardo this visit. It had the most interesting theme, nicest looking decor, and the most memorable and fun puzzles. The venue’s style is not so much to my taste, and is best suited for teams who like rapid-fire solving of codes and opening of padlocks; but whichever style of game you prefer, this is a thoroughly enjoyable game and a good one to try first.