FOXTRAIL LONDON - Lancelot
Since Covid forced Escape Rooms to close, I have noticed more 'treasure hunt' type companies popping up. Pre-lockdown there were a couple, which I enjoyed thoroughly, but unfortunately the closure of locations has taken away some of their shine. I was therefore quite excited when Mairi from The Escape Roomer told me about this new company, and that it is one of the best trails she's done! Obviously I didn't waste any time, and booked it straight away...
Pros: Value for money, physical puzzles, physical clues, hint system, exploring London
Cons: Very long (it took me 5hr instead of 3), no time given for enjoying London (we spent time in Borough market, and you may was to explore other places for longer too), no real prize at the end (apart from the photo)
The premise for this game is that you are chasing a fox around London. Not a thief who calls himself "the fox"...an actual fox. Who might be a thief, but is definitely a fox. You begin and finish your "hunt" near St Paul's Cathedral, and throughout the game experience many of London's key sites including the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge. It's a great way to discover parts of London you may not have visited before, of even were unaware existed. Our friends were amazed by how 'close' everything was to each other (yes, you can walk from the Tower of London to the HMS belfast and The Shard), and as someone living in London I was amazed by all the small things I missed (including quite a large mosaic I have never noticed).
This trail is a little different from others, as rather than relying on mobiles you instead print off your Trail Documents prior to the game, and use these in conjunction with clues you find on the trail. There are a few parts requiring a mobile, but I enjoyed the fact we weren't glued to them as much as other games, and where mobile was used it was much more interesting than the usual text messages back and forth.
The 'clues' themselves tend to be more directional, with guidance for where to go and what to look for. The 'stations' then tend to hold an additional puzzle to solve before moving on. Most excitingly, these feature physical objects you can interact with, and actual notes and clues left by "the fox". These are hidden in plain sight, easily overlooked if you are not playing the trail, but causing a moment a joy if you are.
For the most part it was fairly easy to jump from clue to clue, with additional clues included for areas where there may be construction work blocking the initial path. However, there was one station where we got very badly lost (I still can't figure out where we were meant to go), and unfortunately there weren't many pointers to know whether or not we were headed in the correct direction. Fortunately, the hint system is excellent - either you call or text, or access the website. We chose the latter, and after selecting the station we were able to see clues for what we should have done, as well as where to go next to get back on track.
Ultimately, there were many good and bad parts to this trail, but given it is still in "Beta" mode, I was extremely impressed.
This involved a lot of walking, including stairs. I would suggest it would be extremely hard for anyone with mobility needs. You don't need to be able to hear to complete the trail, although you will need some colour perception.
Outside the room
Fox trails contacted me prior to the day to let me know there may be some issues with the trail due to the construction work, and gave me the offer of postponing or cancelling for a refund. Although I didn't take them up on this, I appreciated the offer. They also asked me to complete a feedback form after playing, which gives me confidence that they are actively looking to improve.
Was it worth the money?
We paid £20 each for a team of 4, in what turned into 5 hours of entertainment. I would say it was definitely worth it!