We’ve ventured over to Norfolk to visit some friends, and thought that this would be a great opportunity to fit in an escape room while on our little holiday, especially having hit the majority of our local ones. Having left it late to book, we were lucky when Clued Up! were very accommodating and let us play their Nuclear Countdown on a day when it doesn’t usually run. This time we were a team of 3, ready to take on the game.
Clued Up! Escape Rooms is an independent business in Norwich City Centre. Businesses like this are what make up the foundations of the nations escape room network, run by enthusiasts who play games themselves and care about making good games for others to play.
Norwich is under attack! You’ll be whisked back in time to the height of the Cold War… you are Special Agent Delta, an elite British spy sent in to prevent worldwide catastrophe at the hands of the rogue nuclear-armed Republic of Katrinia. Your mission is to solve all our puzzles and enter the correct disarm code into the computer to stop the nuclear missile that is heading straight for Norwich. Can you stop the bomb in time?
You’re back in the 60’s and a Soviet Bloc country and launched a missile towards Norwich. It’s looking pretty bleak at this point, imagine having only 60 minutes to save Norfolk from Armageddon!
The area to play in is a good size, with the puzzles very much concentrated around the edges, the middle of the room bare, it would be good if this space could be used for something. There is a screen for your countdown as well as to receive clues through. Our game master gave us the option of only giving clues when we asked for them or them feeding us clues as they felt we needed them, I really appreciate having the choice as we are often trying to complete rooms without clues. We agreed that if they felt they we needed a clue, they would ask us first and this worked well for us, even if there was a point we were trying to be stubborn about not taking a clue because we were missing the blindingly obvious.
The room contained fewer puzzles than in many escape rooms, but these puzzles have more elements to work through. The game is more parallel than linear but has elements of both which help to build the tension as you play through the game. Games which have a good amount of parallel play are better for larger groups as it gives more for each player to do at amulet point. The game starts off with more simple puzzles and the difficulty builds throughout the game to the end.
For us, we got caught on some of the simplest list of puzzles, who’d have thought we were seasoned escapers! But we flew through the harder puzzles well to make up for it. This is a game where patience is a virtue, it’s very easy to jump the gun and try to do puzzles before you have all the pieces of information you need. There are also some puzzles which have a bit of ‘cool down’ time built into them. The puzzles are well thought out and you do need to pay attention to the detail. There are some quite nifty puzzles in this room.
Nuclear Countdown is a good game. It’s got an escape rate of around 40% currently and Clued Up! rate it as a 4/5 difficulty. We were going for a leaderboard time and made it to third on the leaderboard with an escape time of 40:45 using two clues on our way through. There are some elements of the game which could be a little bit slicker, but that is me being very picky. It’s a well done game and we are looking forward to our next trip back up to Norfolk to play their other games (Bank Heist we have our eyes set you on!) I’m giving Nuclear Countdown an overall score of 3.5/5