Harlow, Jul 2017
The website description of The Tomb warns players that the entrance is through a crawl tunnel and that they should wear comfortable clothing they don’t mind getting sandy. That right there should give a good idea of the thoroughly hands-on style of this game.
They’re not kidding about the sand, there is an entirely literal two tons of the stuff, and at the game master’s invitation we played barefoot. An Egyptian tomb is one of the classic escape room themes, and of the various such rooms I’ve played it’s perhaps the most atmospheric. The sand helps, obviously. But other Egyptian rooms have tended to look surprisingly clean and well-lit, where this one has a more authentic appearance. This is also thanks to the low lighting, mainly provided by a pair of hand held torches (and which were refreshingly powerful, to the point where I didn’t even mind having half as many light sources as players).
As with the Witch House, the decor is superficial. On a macro scale, with shadows jumping around the statues and high ceilings, it’s terrific; peer closely and the fake stone wall coverings are obvious, and more glaringly, behind one oversized ‘stone’ door is an unpainted wall and lots of visible electronics. (But who would bother to look behind the door? Us, obviously, because for once we actually remembered to search properly. We still failed to find a vital object later on, though…)
The puzzle content here is a little simpler than most of the Panic Room games. It’s a physical style of game with plenty of hidden sensors, where you should expect to spend more time placing particular objects in key locations than figuring out digits for codes. (One early puzzle was in fact easy to the point of confusion, when we found a clue and spent a while trying to figure out what to do with it before twigging that it was hinting at something we’d already done.)
I’m a bit torn about how to rate this game. I suspect many enthusiasts will find the content a bit light-weight, and purists may nit-pick about anachronisms in the decoration. But it’s also got good visual spectacle, and a great Indiana Jones vibe. Experienced players in particular shouldn’t expect too much, but as long as they don’t, they should have a great time; and beginners may be blown away. Also, did I mention the two tonnes of sand?