Lincoln, Nov 2019
The best thing about finishing an escape room early is the way it lets you squeeze an extra one into your schedule at short notice. Fortunately Enigma Rooms were nearby and able to fit us in straightaway, so we happily sacrificed our lunchbreak for a quick extra game.
Of the two rooms at this branch, our gamemaster said S.W.A.T. was the easier one and the one more favoured by families. While that might seem incongruous with the theme, I guess a military raid is a gentler theme than the Sweeney Todd game that is their other option!
Set in a secret missile bunker in New York, the story is that the bunker has been hacked and placed under lockdown, with the missiles set to explode in an hour (I guess the culprits felt like giving us a sporting chance). This is a split start game, with some of the team cast as the station staff trapped inside, and the rest as the S.W.A.T. team sent to save the day. Our experience was that that was a fairly brief section and we were very soon reunited.
My main quibble about S.W.A.T. was the middle section of the game, where I felt that the puzzles were just more ambiguous than they should have been. We had two or three possible solutions for one puzzle, five for another; and sometimes more than one place in which to use them. They wisely tell teams to radio for confirmation before trying a code in the auto lockout safe (with the gamemaster on the other end of a walkie talkie as ‘S.W.A.T. Command’; we otherwise could easily have been locked out more than once.
If you take that in your stride, then S.W.A.T. is a fun game, and is indeed one that’s well suited to families, particularly towards the end of the game which gives plenty to appeal to those who are more enthused by the theme than by the puzzle solving. The difficulty level is also fairly low, which conversely tended to trip us up due to overthinking puzzles that tended to have more straightforward solutions than we were guessing; but that ought to make it well suited to beginner teams.