Milton Keynes, Sep 2019
In enthusiast discussions, Locked In A Room is a company that rarely gets mentioned, and for good reason: enthusiasts are absolutely not their target audience. Their high-capacity branches with multiple copies of each game room are set up above all for corporate outings, and their games fall into that middle ground where they’re not notably atrocious nor sufficiently high quality to stand out.
Parallax was the third of their rooms I’d tried, and it followed the style of their others: a strictly linear sequence of puzzles where solving one puzzle unlocks a clue for the next. The final exit door is easy to spot from the start, and is secured with a series of locks that are a useful indicator of your progress through the game.
There is a plot involving a kidnapped professor, tying into the chain’s other games. I’d dismiss that as a token premise for a room of puzzles, but in fact there is a story to unravel as you play. However, despite being tied into the puzzles throughout, that story still felt tacked on, connected to what we were doing only in a very superficial way.
The venue’s booking form warned us that a team of two would be an exceedingly difficult challenge. In fact, we found it a straightforward room to complete. I can imagine beginner teams finding it quite a bit harder than experienced teams would, specifically because of the number of distraction items in the room. These aren’t flagrant red herrings, and for players who’ve played a decent number of games it’s not at all hard to tell which items are part of the puzzles and which are simply decor; but players who are new to escape rooms might end up going down endless rabbit holes trying to find meaning in decorations.
As long as you’re looking in the right place, the puzzles are not particularly complicated, and are happily free of ambiguities. While it’s not one I’d get excited about, it was an unchallenging good time, an enjoyable series of perfectly acceptable puzzles. We also had an energetic gamemaster who threw himself into the in-character briefing with gusto.
As with Locked In A Room’s other games, Parallax is unlikely to rock your world; but you’re unlikely to have complaints either.