London, Aug 2017
There are common escape game themes and uncommon ones, but I’d confidently predict that Do Stuff are the only company in the world with a game themed around a pie & mash shop. There is more to the plot than just the cheap diner theme though: the owner of the shop has gone missing and you’re there to investigate.
Do Stuff are based out of the Grove pub in Battersea, although Pie & Mash uses a small external building not the main pub. As stated in the briefing, there are multiple points to get started, and we dived in happily – I do think it’s a good idea for games to start off with an easier puzzle or two to get players going, and that’s done well here.
Like Do Stuff’s first game, Pie & Mash is a mainly low-tech affair which involves plenty of padlocks and three- or four-digit codes to unlock them. The shop decor looks nice, but it’s not the sort of escape room that will make your jaw drop when you walk in. Puzzles are mostly themed, but in a mostly superficial way where they could be adapted with little difficulty for an entirely different game.
The narrative is well developed, with a clear story building up as you progress. The quite serious plot is in fact a little at odds with the otherwise light, puzzle-centric style of the game.
And the strength of this game is indeed the puzzles. They’re not particularly challenging or high tech, and they’re heavily based around finding or deriving number codes for padlocks. But there’s plenty of creative ideas and variety in here. This escape game matches its theme, at least if you take a fairly rosy view of cheap diners: it’s not haute cuisine, but what it provides is solid and pleasing. In fact, that comparison does it a disservice: the story progression and the exuberant selection of puzzle ideas take it beyond that to a quirky and charming game that’s plenty of fun to play.