Professor Dunstan and the Search for the Ancient Statuette was the first of our escape rooms in Swindon. It’s a classic mystery scenario in which you solve clues to ‘escape’ a room within 60 minutes. But don’t worry, although the exit is locked, the entrance door is easily openable throughout the game for safety reasons.
The game itself is quite involved and hands-on, but at the same time it’s also a thinky experience. Imagine something along the lines of The Da Vinci Code or Sherlock Holmes, just with a sprinkle of fantasy thrown in. And of course a lot of archaeology – because, like the Professor Dunstan of our story, we are both originally archaeologists!
What's the Story?
You find yourself in a 1920s parallel universe. Your good friend Oldervik Dunstan is a famous, globe-trotting archaeologist and, unfortunately, he has just gone missing. All you know is that his last project was to excavate the tomb of an ancient ruler, which is rumoured to contain a statuette with mysterious powers. So you venture to his study to work out what’s happened to him. And of course you stumble across a trail of cryptic clues that he has left for you to solve – typical!
What makes this room special?
From the feedback and reviews we have received, it seems that what teams particularly enjoy about this game is the beautifully crafted set and the attention to detail. Every single item and furnishing in this room fits with the theme (with the single exception of modern air-con appliances, but I think we’re all glad they’re in there!). This was very important to us, because it certainly helps with the immersion and feeling of authenticity. Also, every object has a purpose and is integrated into the game – there are no red herrings or space-filler deco props.
The other aspect that players often comment on is the originality of the puzzles. Of course there are a couple of well-loved classics in there – although as a rule these come with a new twist. Otherwise, there are quite a few mechanisms and challenges that even experienced enthusiasts have never come across. If you fancy reading what some of the top industry bloggers think about Professor Dunstan, then take a look at the posts by The Logic Escapes Me and Escape Review.
What you need to know before booking
Although this is the first room we built, it is not exactly easy. The game is designed for 2-6 players, however if you are novices (or have played only one or two escape games before) we recommend visiting as a group of 3+. Don’t get me wrong – you don’t need to be experienced to enjoy the game or to win it. But there are some trickier challenges and having a larger team will certainly relieve some of the pressure. Also, when booking you can choose a difficulty setting to adjust the game to your experience level and team size. If you’re not sure what to go for, it’s best to choose the standard level as this will still keep you on your toes.
Professor Dunstan is a great game to play as a family, with friends or even with colleagues. However, please note that it is not suited for childrens parties due to its complexity.