Loughborough, Aug 2018
As might not be instantly clear from the name, Boiling Point is set in a police station. Your task is to retrieve the critical evidence needed to put away each of a gang of ne’er-do-wells; however, since the gang in question are understandably not keen on this idea, they’ve set a bomb to eliminate that evidence, along with you.
There is an ongoing argument in some enthusiast circles about describing games as ‘first generation’, ‘second generation’, and so on, based on – well, no three people seem to agree exactly which criteria it’s based on, though it’s usually some combination of technology, automation and narrative. While the taxonomy gets increasingly controversial and arbitrary from the second level upwards (the highest level I’ve seen proposed without apparent irony is 10…), ‘first gen’ is broadly accepted as describing a room built around modified furniture, plenty of padlocks, and no electronics; and usually has an implication that the game is less sophisticated and less fun.
It’s not really fair to describe Boiling Point as ‘first gen’ – that understates the polish of its decor, and the game incorporates hidden electronics at various points. Still, it shares many of the trappings of one: office-style furniture with an assortment of locked drawers, for example – and it demonstrates that that’s absolutely not a bad thing. If its variety of classic puzzle types and hidden surprises feel a little old school at times, they’re also great fun to play through.
There are a couple of less slick edges, such as a puzzle that needs a warning sign to tell players not to derange its starting state. Another puzzle requires quite a bit of squinting at small text – and then just you think you’ve finished with that, the same mechanism is re-used in a slightly different way. One hiding place is an oft-used idea that’s unfairly obscure if you haven’t come across it before (but you probably have). Still, I had a great time playing it pretty much all the way through, and particularly liked the way it drew together at the end for your two goals, gathering evidence and defusing the bomb, both of which give a satisfying climax to the game.
If you only have time to play one escape room at Break Escape, then my first suggestion would be Enchanted Forest for the lovely set, or Nerve Klinik if you enjoy scares. (Actually, my first suggestion would be that you rearrange your schedule to make time for more games…) Hoever, in terms of pure subjective enjoyment, Boiling Point was the one that I personally had most fun with. Partly that was just because it went smoothly and we were on the ball, but also it’s just a satisfying classic-style escape room that’s hard not to enjoy.