Crawley, Aug 2017
Mutiny is Tulleys’ pirate game, and it’s a swashbuckling joy to play. A pirate theme demands good decorations, and this one delivers in spades. It has the same large footfall as its sibling game and is a clear step up in its visual impact. (Players should be warned that this is not a game to play wearing their smartest clothes.)
Before the game begins there’s a slightly different version of the intro video we had for their other game, which was entertaining enough that we didn’t mind listening to the same script a second time.
As with Outfitters, there’s a straightforward start to ease teams into the game. The difficulty level increases, but this game’s challenge comes more from the quantity of puzzles than from the difficulty of any individual element. The quantity is striking: there’s noticeably more to do here than in a typical escape room, in fact closer to some of the 90 minute games I’ve played.
You might wonder then if it’s a game with a high fail rate. I don’t think it is, but it seems that Tulleys normally provide plenty of hints to help teams through. In their other game we found the hinting a bit too pro-active for our tastes, even though they said they’d dialled it back a lot. So for Mutiny we requested no hints unless we were obviously stuck. That meant we almost missed out on the delightful custom hint system, but fortunately saw it when we made a silly error with a mathsy puzzle that the host rescued us from.
I enjoy mental puzzles in escape games well enough, those that involve logic or maths or abstract symbol manipulation. But unless a puzzle is particularly clever, content of that sort rarely stands out for me or makes a game special. There are much more challenging brain teasers online, after all. The charm of an escape room is the cooperation element, or the physicality of the tasks, or the way the puzzles can form an integrated theme or story, and to me it’s usually those sorts of factors that make a game stand out from the rest. And Mutiny scores well on all those points.
There’s one fun, physical cooperative task in particular, and throughout the design there’s plenty to divide up between different players. Another section left me genuinely gleeful with excitement when I realised what the task involved, and delivered a dramatic payoff that should be a highlight for any team.
With notable exceptions such as that task, it’s puzzle-based with plenty of padlocks, and themed rather than immersive. But the set is gorgeous and the puzzles are solid and satisfying, and despite only having been open a month it has the polish and slick operation of a game that’s had a lot longer to bed in.
Given the venue’s existing expertise in scare attractions, the obvious choice for them might have been to do a horror game, probably an experiential style with a handful of puzzles added in. It’s to their credit that they’ve instead decided to dive in all the way and build escape rooms that succeed as escape rooms not as a ‘scare experience plus puzzles’. It’s even more to their credit that they’ve built such good rooms, Mutiny in particular. It’s a big, beautiful game, which kept surprising us in new and pleasing ways. The consistent quality and sheer amount of content make Mutiny one that enthusiasts should rush to play; add in the many clever and cool touches, large and small, and I’d place it among the small handful of escape games that rank as the UK’s best.