Northampton, Aug 2017
Trapp’d’s Northampton branch (and only now do I notice how awkward their name is to apostrophise) has two games at time of writing, and the first one we tried was Monosphere. This game has the original premise that you are… in an escape room. However, the escape room is secretly a front for dubious government experiments on psychoactive substances. This is an excuse for a room of full-on hallucinatory decorations, like standing inside a 360 degree visual illusion.
Players susceptible to epilepsy should warn the operators beforehand, who will be happy to disable the flashing lights. Players not susceptible to epilepsy but who are concerned that an hour of flashing lights will give them a headache will be relieved to know that the effect is not maintained throughout the game (and can in any case be disabled on request).
There isn’t much in the way of story, though there are various small nods to the idea of the team breaking out of a creepy government experiment. Primarily though it’s a set of puzzles in a mind-bending and occasionally eye-watering environment. The puzzles make plenty of use of escape room staples, but with some electronic devices and more interesting pieces of kit to intersperse simpler ideas such as symbol matching.
Our game had a slightly bumpy start due to a broken torch. The host replaced it fairly promptly though, and seemed genuinely surprised by it in a way that suggested we’d been unlucky, not that malfunctions are a common occurrence here. It went mostly smoothly from there until the final puzzle, where we took a hint and then kicked ourselves when we realised what we needed to do – it was one where the range of possible ways to try to solve it seemed unreasonable large, but which made good sense once we were thinking along the right lines.
Monosphere felt like a bread and butter escape room, with the psychedelic theme being its most memorable feature. That theme could rapidly have become unpleasant, but they knew when to dial it back such that it had an impact at the beginning but didn’t get in the way of the meat of the game. It felt a little light on content to me and could have done with one puzzle more, but what there was was solid and it was entertaining to play.