Friday, 16 August 2019

REVIEW: 80 Days: A Real World Adventure at the Underbelly South Bank


When I was growing up Treasure Hunts around Hampshire in a car were an annual event , setting off in search of clues around the country roads. Forty years on with a smart phone in hand and cars no longer a viable mode of transport in London, Fire Hazard Games has produced an eco-friendly equivalent for Summer evenings in Covent Garden. And it produces a very good work out for the body (80 minutes racing around streets on foot) and for the brain solving up to 49 electronic clues.

We got off to a bad start, not finding the meeting point in the Underbelly Festival until everyone else had already set off and so arriving at the first meeting point with the Botanist as everyone else was fully briefed and already searching for clues. But our eighty minute count down clock started at the same time as the rest and so the race was on. Could we gather enough money and buy the required kit to travel around the world in less than 80 days? Our team of two rose to the challenge. I with map in hand guiding us efficiently around the area and my partner reading the clues and making the purchases on his phone. More clues appeared as you progressed so there was always something extra to go after but you had to keep your eye on the clock to get back on time to catch the train.

We ventured as far a Long Acre, just north of Covent Garden, as it happens for an unfruitful search for two clues, but on our way gathered 2750 units of currency and bought the required inventory of goods and a few extras. The clues generally required a good eye and a minimal general knowledge and to politely ask several drinkers to move aside to see the answers! Along the way we also met The Baron and The Navigator.

As we raced back across the Thames to rendezvous ten minutes ahead of schedule we were feeling confident; although not confident enough to buy a first class rail ticket. It's a competitive game so armed with your purchases you then use the app to race around the world in the shortest time. We did it in 57 days and were beaten by a team who took 56 days! Whether it was the second class rail ticket, the rope or the flip flops that let us down we don't know and the only way to find out is to play again!

If you love escape rooms and secret cinema (prefilm) and have outgrown Pokemon Go this is for you. It's gently challenging, fun and very good exercise and suitable for teams of 2 to 4 people.

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★

Seats: A promenade experience | Price of Ticket: £27.50
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