• Georgiana Hunter-Cozens

THE SECRET LAB - Locked in Edinburgh

After completing The Cutting Room earlier in the day, this room had a lot to live up to, and we were certainly looking forward to it. This room is marketed as being the harder of the two, with plenty of puzzles and a lot to tackle. On top of this there is the option to make it slightly harder for yourself...which we took. Naturally. Fortunately the experience didn't disappoint, and (at the time of writing) this is now sat in the number 2 spot of my all time ranking, beaten only by its sister room.


TL;DR

This is my second favourite room of all time, and a less tense option than my favourite room! Play this if you're in the area.

A guy and a girl locked in a cage, with two girls flanking the cage outside.
The team basking in our victory

The Set

The year is 1972 and Summerhall is home to The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Much like how "The Cutting Room" based the room around the set, so too does "The Secret Lab". Locked in Edinburgh have taken over some old kennels, and based the entire room, puzzles and story, around that premise. Everything in the room feels thematically accurate both to the kennels and the time period, and in fact how the kennels are used is very clever. There is essentially a puzzle to enter each kennel, and a puzzle to solve within, but not necessarily in that order!

The items scattered around the room also perfectly suit the story, and apparently unimportant items are suddenly useful later. I also appreciated how both the large and small facets of the room were important - you need to really focus on something one moment, before trying to see the big picture the next.

The immersion created by this set design was fantastic, and exactly how these sort of rooms should be created.


The Game

As mentioned, we opted for the harder version of the game, which meant we started with two of our members locked in separate kennels. We were instructed not to help them, which I gladly followed and left them to it! I'm not sure how they escaped - I assume some sort of communication puzzle - but myself and another teammate had already assessed the rest of the room and begun cracking on. Upon their escape we caught them up with the puzzles we'd already solved, before directing them to their own puzzle as we continued with ours.

There really are a lot of puzzles.

I love lots of puzzles.

The puzzles themselves were mostly all quite quick to solve, once you'd figured them out, and for the most part pretty clear what to do next. It also wasn't just a case of two on the go at once - there were a number of times I solved something that had been there from the start, and others were solving a puzzle only gave us a piece for another puzzle that couldn't yet be solved. The thought that must have gone into this flow is incredible.

The puzzles themselves were also extremely varied - physical, mental, logical, dexterity...this room has everything. There are also no purposeful red herrings or tricky answers, as there's enough to do without that! Even the dexterity puzzle was reasonable - the classic two-sticks-and-a-key puzzle, but hooks on the end of the sticks and no heartbreaking long drops to contend with.

Good communication is an absolute must in this room, and good management. Throughout the game I was making sure I told everyone what I was doing and thinking, and checking on their own process. If they weren't sure what to do, I quickly guided them to another puzzle, and explained my rationale.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful moments came at the end, when we discovered a puzzle within the puzzles. I won't say anything else but gosh...I loved that touch.

The hint system was similarly excellent. Back in the 70s they didn't have monitors or mobiles...but they did have fax machines and dot matrix printers. You see where this is going. We also discovered a walkie talkie (as part of the game) which added an extra level of communication, but the GM quickly caught on that I much preferred the printer method!


Accessibility

The room was flat and spacious, although the kennels themselves didn't have the most space inside, a some had small steps. The lighting wasn't the best, but it was fairly easy to read any writing, and where there were colour challenges the colours were fairly easy to distinguish. As mentioned there was a dexterity puzzle, but otherwise no need for physical ability. You may also need to be able to hear and communicate if you are one of the victims locked in the kennel!


Outside the room

Our GM was actually a trainee, but handled it all perfectly. He was very welcoming and friendly, and had a lovely chat with us before and after the room. His pre-amble was perfectly delivered, and again slipped into fantastic acting. The whole team at Locked in Edinburgh are to be commended for their customer service in general - we had a lot of fantastic discussions with them, and they were just as enthusiastic as us.


Was it worth the money?

Yes.



We paid £20 per person for a team of 4. It is certainly worth this, and more.


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