Newton Abbot, May 2019
On my last trip to Devon two years ago, there were a handful of rooms available from three companies, all located in Exeter and Plymouth. Much has changed and at time of writing there are 14 venues spread out across the country. This time round we started our visit at Devon Escape in Newton Abbot, which was a fortunate choice since the enthusiast owner was very understanding when our journey there took far longer than expected and we arrived 40 minutes late. (When looking for them online, note that escaperoomsdevon.co.uk and devonescaperooms.co.uk are two different companies, and Devon Escape is the former not the latter…)
Professor Enright’s Enigma is a heist theme. The titular professor has, after years of searching, found the precious Enigma diamond – and you play thieves who intend to steal it from him, which seems a bit hard on the poor professor but I guess it’s fun to play the bad guys for a change. Being set in the professor’s office, the decor is fairly simple, leaning on plenty of familiar tropes such as locked drawers and books. It’s attractive enough, shows signs of wear and tear in places, and is unlikely to blow your socks off.
In that and other ways it was a thoroughly traditional escape room, straightforward in style (though not necessarily in difficulty). Perhaps the most unusual feature was the way it started, an unexpected wrinkle that wasn’t particularly to my tastes but which I can see could be a good way to get nervous first-time groups into the swing of things.
To my jaded eyes it was an enjoyable game without being particularly memorable, which was considerably overshadowed by the noticeably more ambitious sequel that we played immediately afterwards. But with good puzzle design and skilful gamemastering, it should be a safe bet for an hour of pleasant puzzle solving, with a satisfyingly chunky reward to find at the game’s conclusion.