Locked City, London, Outdoor

Locked City – Camden Unlocked

Scores

Variety of puzzles 1.5/5                                           Originality of puzzles 1/5

Pre-game atmosphere 1/5                                      Difficulty 2/5

Overall 1/5

Overview – To be honest, this is more of a guided walk with confusing directions than a treasure hunt. If you’re looking for a slightly different walking route then I’d recommend it, but as an activity by itself it could really do with a bit more to it.

From https://www.locked.city/

From the bustling market to the quaint streets of Primrose Hill, discover a hidden side to Camden. Explore vibrant street art, elaborate North London architecture and the industrial Camden Lock. Uncover a Banksy and street art from prominent street artists.

This 18 clue hunt will challenge the sharpest of minds with a varied and diverse series of cryptic challenges sent via SMS messages. Recharge at a local handpicked pub midway for a refreshing beverage.

Team – Ster, Bobbie

Locked City

Full disclosure – We were invited to play this game free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

The game is all played via text message, which allows for a lot of flexibility when playing. Once you’ve received the instructions, you can start whenever you are ready, be that the same day or several weeks later.

The format is a little impersonal as the only contact that you receive is a series automated messages but you do get a final message that includes your time and the amount of penalties that the team incurred.

Camden Unlocked

The experience starts off quite simply with some observational questions and directions that lead down a nearby street and we had fun searching the surrounding buildings for the answers and looking for the next step of the game while weaving amongst the crowds of shoppers. Unfortunately, that was everything that this game consisted of, a lot of counting things and looking at what was beside something else, and by clue 18 we really weren’t invested anymore.

An incorrect answer earns an automatic 10 minute penalty, which felt pretty steep considering that any typo also counted as an incorrect answer. The main issue that we had though, was the directions. The clues are all cryptic, which would have been fine if there was any way of clarifying directions, but there wasn’t. A clue request only gave advice for the observational puzzle, not how to get there! This meant that if one part of the directions wasn’t understood, there was absolutely no way to get back on track.

We walked in and out of Camden Market repeatedly trying to make sense of one particular set of instructions just racking up penalties because we weren’t sure where we were supposed to be. While this was a case of the team not working out the clue, the fact that there was no way to ask for help was incredibly frustrating. The only way that we found to solve the issue was to request a clue an then use the extra information to work out where we should have ended up based on what we should have been able to see.

Overall, it was a long walk rather than a treasure hunt and the puzzles just weren’t engaging enough to make the experience very interesting. A nice idea but it needs a bit more depth to it really.

AIM Escape, London, Outdoor

AIM Escape – Mindfall

Scores

Variety of puzzles 4/5                                                 Originality of puzzles 5/5

Pre-game atmosphere 4/5                                         Difficulty 2.5/5

Overall 5/5

Overview – This experience was so well executed, we were really impressed with it! The augmented reality aspects worked brilliantly and the story was great, with all of the puzzles well themed and great fun to solve. The difficulty level wasn’t too high but the variety of different puzzles was fantastic, with a big bag of tricks to keep things interesting. The technology worked perfectly throughout and while there was a fair amount of walking involved, everywhere was completely accessible and the game allowed plenty of time so there was no need to rush between locations. Overall, I absolutely loved the experience and had so much fun creeping around the city as a spy for a couple of hours!

From https://aimescape.com/

Using the latest Augmented Reality and GPS technology, this adrenaline spiked outdoor escape game combines the best elements of our high-concept escape rooms with a thrilling treasure hunt, as you and your team embark on an action-packed adventure through the city.

We are W.I.S.E.: an independent, international intelligence organization, operating at the highest level of secrecy to protect the world from danger. Our sources report that the secret research company, Spider Technologies, has developed a virus for mind control and has already infected 20% of the world population. Whether it be shopping behaviour, political attitudes, or even assassinations – people can be influenced against their will. Needless to say, this is an incredible power. To stop Spider Tech, we created Operation Mindfall and chose you as our agents. Your task: Obtain the antidote to stop Spider Tech! You only have a limited amount of time – can you do it?

Team – Ster, Bobbie

AIM Escape

Full disclosure – We were invited to play this game free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

This augmented reality game isn’t your traditional escape room so we didn’t start at the AIM Escape building but instead met our ‘contact’ at an outdoor location with a codeword to get things started. Our contact gave us a short explanation and handed us the tablet that we would use to both navigate and solve puzzles and a backpack filled with everything else that we would need for the experience. She also subtly hung around a short distance away while we solved the first puzzle, I’m assuming just to make sure that we had understood what we were doing as she had disappeared when we looked up from entering the solution. She also met us when we finished to congratulates us, collect our spy gear and answer any questions that we had about the game.

Mindfall

The quality of this experience was just superb! The puzzle locations showed up clearly on the tablet so it was very simple to work out where we needed to go and the backpack that we were given with our spy gear was very well organised, making it easy to find what we needed for each puzzle, and the puzzles were great! The difficultly level didn’t get too high but the variety of challenges was brilliant and they were all really enjoyable.

Some involved an augmented reality element which had us looking at a safe or a panel of switches and wires beside the Thames while others had us mixing a chemical formula and using a microscope attached to a smartphone, it was just so much fun! The amount of puzzles packed into the escape was fantastic, especially considering that we were carrying everything we needed with us and the bag wasn’t heavy. The only extra thing that we used was a smartphone and we were told in advance that we would need to have at least one with us, the rest of the experience was fully contained within the tablet and spy bag.

There were some low tech puzzles along the way as well, observational type challenges which was the only time we asked for a hint, we just weren’t looking in the right place! The experience used the environment that we were walking around really well, including things that you might not usually pay attention to and making you look at the city a little more closely.

There was a fair amount of walking involved but we didn’t rush and finished in plenty of time, we even stopped for a short sit down on the South Bank along the way! Overall, Mindfall was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, including a good story with brilliantly themed puzzles which were great fun to complete. It was far more than a thrilling treasure hunt and I can’t wait to see what AIM Escape comes up with next!

Escape time – 1 hour 40 minutes (approx.)

clueQuest, Home escapes

Print + Cut + Escape – ClueQuest

Format: PDF document and website

Scores

Variety of Puzzles  5/5                                 Quality of clues

Ease of progression 5/5                               Overall 5/5

Overview – This is not your average play at home escape experience! The puzzles that are created out of pieces of paper are absolutely brilliant – we piloted a paper submarine around spinning icebergs, directed invisible lasers using paper mirrors and hit a golf ball over a paper obstacle course of London landmarks, all while following the story via some fantastic online videos. The games were all great fun and really creative with a storyline that both fitted with the existing ClueQuest escapes and also worked well with no prior knowledge of the ClueQuest story arc.

Reusable – No                  

Technical issues – None

ClueQuest

The ClueQuest Print + Cut + Escape games involve a fairly large PDF document and a code to log in to the website with, which means that you can’t possibly get lost along the way or be confused about the order of things because the website leads you through and lets you know which puzzles pieces are needed when. This format allows for some really amazing puzzles to be created, it’s not just a 2D experience on a piece of paper, there is some serious papercraft going on!

While some of the challenges were a bit fiddly, I really enjoyed the variety that this allowed for. The level of creativity here really is amazing, with brilliantly thought out puzzles and an entertaining story to go with them. Each escape includes 3 chapters with a number of different puzzles so there’s a lot to get through which I really enjoyed, they weren’t games that could be over in just a few minutes.

The only downside of these escapes is that there’s a fair amount of preparation involved before starting, a lot of cutting out of pieces that are only used once, especially if playing over video call as each household needs a copy of the puzzles which creates quite a bit of recycling that did feel a bit wasteful. We didn’t use any clues so I can’t comment on how well the clue system works as I can’t get into it now that we’ve finished! I’ve always found the ClueQuest team very helpful though so I’m sure they’d be able to help if a team got really stuck!

Stolen IQ

Help Lisa Hammerschmidt track down the evil Professor BlackSheep

Variety of Puzzles 5/5                    Difficulty 4/5

Overall 5/5

We were all really impressed by the puzzles here, compared to other home escapes that we’ve tried, the quality of these puzzles is on another level. There was quite a bit to cut out before we started but it was really easy to play together over video call, even when one team member completely messed up a puzzle on their end, it was straightforward to share our solutions and move on.

The story is great fun, fitting well with the physical ClueQuest rooms with some great video clips to guide you through and I found the instructions in this experience really easy to follow with a very clearly labelled PDF so nothing got mixed up. The difficulty level of the puzzles also felt like the kind of challenge you might experience in an actual escape room with lots of different paper components creating a good level of challenge. The website added a lot to the experience, not just in terms of progressing the story, but also for adding extra dimensions to the puzzles. Overall this was one of the best experiences we’ve had of playing an escae at home and we’re all excited for the next instalment!

Alpha Brain System

Help Lisa and Mr Q free the kidnapped scientist and continue the chase

Variety of Puzzles 5/5                    Difficulty 4/5

Overall 4.5/5

There was a lot of puzzle prep involved in this instalment, the papercraft aspect really stepped up from episode 1 and at one point I thought we were building a whole boxing ring! The ‘combat’ puzzles of this episode in particular were great fun, with a really inventive way of playing a laser dodging type challenge that had us getting slightly frustrated for a little while!

I was really impressed by how different the puzzles were from the first episode while still retaining a good level of difficulty and the story progressed in the entertaining kind of way that you would expect from ClueQuest, Professor Blacksheep’s nefarious schemes as enjoyable here as they are in ClueQuest’s physical escape rooms. All in all, a lot of fun, if a little fiddly to put together!

Humanity 2.0

Full disclosure – We were sent this game to play free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

Help clueQuest end the Professor’s plan to destroy the minds of all humanity.

Variety of Puzzles 5/5                    Difficulty 4/5

Overall 5/5

The conclusion of the Pint + Cut + Escape story was brilliant fun, the journey to the secret base involved some really inventive puzzles and I particularly enjoyed the way that the website added to some of these puzzles, providing an extra layer of challenge and just expanding the game from pieces of printed paper to a brilliant escape experience.

There were a few simpler puzzles here, some word-based type puzzles that didn’t involve a lot of cutting out which I really enjoyed, a bit less of a faff to prepare than episode 2, and also a ‘laser’ puzzle which we bickered over for a little while, just like playing a real escape room! Episode 3 was a really satisfying ending to the story in which we saved the world from sheep domination – all in a day’s work!

Epic Escapes, Home escapes

Epic Escapes

Format: Postal delivery for play at home

Scores

Variety of Puzzles  3/5                       Quality of clues 4/5

Ease of progression N/A                     Overall 5/5

Overview – This escape experience is so much fun! The closest thing to playing a real escape room in your own home that I’ve encountered, with well-designed puzzles and lots of variety. The quality of the components in this escape is fantastic, I especially like the fact that the lockboxes and padlocks are used with every scenario and can be reset ay number of times, so if you enjoy hosting the experiences then they can easily be played over and over again with lots of different people.

Reusable – yes            

Technical issues: None

From: https://www.epic-escapes.games/

Interactive Escape Room At Home

You have just 60 minutes to escape. The clock is ticking.
Teamwork, creativity, logic, and attention to detail will be needed to race against the clock.

Starter pack includes three epic escape room games to play at home.

Epic Escapes

Full disclosure – I was sent the starter box to play free of charge, though I’ve tried not to let this influence my opinion of the experience. 

Turning your own home into an escape room is really enjoyable, especially searching around the furniture for clues, we were constantly having to ask each other if different things were usually there or if they might be part of the game. It’s probably worth playing in a more sparsely decorated room as rooms with lots of ornaments and other decorations was a bit chaotic!

The scenarios require someone to host the game, setting up the codes on the locks and hiding clues for the players to find. The instructions suggest that the set up will take between 30-60 minutes but we managed to be ready in less than 10 minutes each time due to very clear, easy to follow instructions. We also reset all of the locks after playing each time to make the next set up easier which I would definitely advise doing, knowing that everything in the box was set to zero made preparing the next game much easier!

The components included for these experiences are an amazing quality and all reusable for future games too. Some of the paper components might get damaged, but these are available to be reprinted any number of times so you don’t need to worry about keeping everything pristine! Each game also comes with a set of clues to guide you if you get stuck and a solutions page for the host to read so help is always available!

Piracy

Variety of Puzzles  3/5                       Difficulty 3.5/5

Overall 5/5

Your ship’s captain is a traitor! He is diverting the vessel to a warlord and delivering a dangerous cargo into lethal hands. Can you and your team use the clues to escape and stop a catastrophe?

The theming of the puzzles in Piracy was great, with quite a bit to work through especially compared to Crime. I really enjoyed the story here, piecing everything together to work out what had happened was great fun and the puzzles linked together brilliantly.  We played this game across 3 rooms in the house which was enjoyable if a little chaotic, I’d definitely recommend sticking to the Epic Escapes advice of staying in one room! Overall, a great game with a good level of challenge which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Crime

Variety of Puzzles  2.5/5                                Difficulty 2/5

Overall 2/5

Housesitting can be dangerous when your friend turns out to be a mafia boss and you are locked in his panic room! Logic and lateral thinking are needed to escape before the oxygen runs out.

Crime is the easiest scenario in the starter box, with fairly simple puzzles and not too much to work through, which isn’t say that it wasn’t enjoyable! The team got a bit stuck overthinking things at times and would have enjoyed some red herrings to add an extra bit of challenge, but it is a great beginner’s game with a variety of different puzzles to complete.

Remote play, Roobicks

Roobicks – Escape the Basement

Format: Remote play

Scores

Variety of Puzzles  4/5                       Originality of Puzzles 3/5

Difficulty 2.5/5                                    Pre-game atmosphere 4/5

Overall 4/5

Overview – The puzzles in this room were great fun and really well thought out, particularly the more time consuming, trickier challenges. Our GM led the experience brilliantly, setting up the theme well and guiding us through the story as we went. It wasn’t the most challenging of experiences, but it was still very enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to Roobicks’s future offering of a game aimed at enthusiasts with a higher difficulty level – we can’t wait to try that out!

From roobicks.com

You are on your way to an open house at a rustic country cottage, but arrive to find the house in shambles. You can’t help having a look downstairs… but then you hear the door close and lock behind you. There’s an elevator with a keypad, but you need a code. To find it, you must follow the trail of clues puzzle, solving the puzzles along the way. Can you be the first team to open the elevator and escape?

Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 20/6/20

Roobicks

Full disclosure – We were invited to play this game free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

The race element to the way that these games are run provides a really fun, interesting dynamic to the experience. We all met in a video chat before starting, the four of us plus another team playing in the US. Before we started, our games master went through some technical instructions and made sure that everyone understood how to communicate via on-screen annotation and then we were off, racing to be the first team to the elevator and escape!

Escape the Basement

The puzzle set up here was really interesting. Instead of entering passwords or inputting codes, each puzzle had a short introduction and then appeared on the screen. Our GM listened for us to say the correct answer and would then move us on to the next section, which was really fun. It meant every puzzle had a little celebration as our GM jumped in and confirmed that our answer was correct.

The puzzles themselves worked very well over a video call and we were able to work collaboratively using the annotation, particularly on some puzzles which in a ‘real life’ escape setting would probably have been printed and so not involved the whole team. Adding notes to the puzzle together in order to reach the solution was really enjoyable and I can see how this would work brilliantly for a team building type activity.

Out GM was really focussed on what we were doing, leading the story fantastically and always ready to jump in when we found the solutions so there was no waiting around, which was great. She also very kindly called a number for us so that we could listen to a pre-recorded message as we were having a bit of a debate about who on the team was going to pay for a transatlantic phone call! It was a really great element to the puzzle, adding another dynamic to the way in which the game played.

We didn’t use any clues while playing, but we were told in advance that any clues we used would add either 1 or 3 minutes to our final time, at the GM’s discretion, which adds a bit more tension to the race when a team is stuck for an answer!

We completed the experience pretty quickly but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we went. Talking afterwards, we were told that during testing teams were taking 2 hours to complete the escape so I can see why the difficulty was lowered slightly! To give a proper flavour of the difficulty level, when we had completed all of the challenges and escaped, the team that we were racing against was still solving the first puzzle, so while we didn’t find the difficulty level too hard, it definitely offers a challenge to less experienced teams!

Home escapes, Logic Locks, Remote play

Logic Locks

Format: Remote play

Scores

Variety of Puzzles  3/5                       Originality of puzzles 3.5/5

Difficulty 2.5/5                                    Pre-game Atmosphere 4/5

Overall 3.5/5

Overview – There was a great atmosphere to this room and a good variety of different puzzles. The solutions were all very intuitive to us so there were no moments when we were stuck for what to do, the game flowed really well and the story was interesting too. The Logic Locks website lists this game as medium difficulty so don’t expect it to be too challenging but the puzzles are all enjoyable and well thought out.

From https://www.logiclocks.com/

Investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of Amsterdam’s most legendary adventurers!
Play this adventure from home!

Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 30/5/20

(Reviewed by Ster)

Logic Locks

Full disclosure – we were given a discount code to use for this game, we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience.

As this was remote play game we didn’t actually visit Logic Locks so we don’t know what their premises is like, our host however was absolutely brilliant. She joined the call in character to give us a great introduction to the story and then sat down with us afterwards to answer any questions that we had. A remote play game is very much reliant on who is controlling the camera at the other end and we were very grateful to have such an excellent host!

Secrets of Eliza’s Heart

The puzzles in this room fit together really nicely and in a way that was clearly logical which made them good fun to work out.  There was a nice variety but not an overly high level of difficulty, which was perfect for remote play as the game inevitably moves more slowly due to the constraints of only one pair of hands.

I particularly enjoyed the riddle puzzle and the way in which the automated sections of the room worked. The physical aspect of the puzzles was great, not just entering numbers into padlocks or finding keys but moving things around and putting things together which was quite funny in a remote play as we all suggested directions simultaneously and our host did a fantastic job of keeping up with our ideas.

The room was well themed, particularly the final section, and even though we were looking through a screen, we could see that the decoration was great. The story was interesting and our host did a great job of keeping us immersed in it, something that we frequently forget about when we’re playing as we get so caught up in the puzzles! This was our first try at a remote play game and I think it was a perfect introduction to playing games remotely – a linear storyline that progressed at a good pace with puzzles that were enjoyable to solve when we couldn’t actually touch anything.

Home escapes, Pentargo

Pentargo – Quarantine

http://pentargo.com/

Format: Website based using Google drive

Scores

Variety of Puzzles 4/5                                  Quality of clues 4/5

Ease of progression 2.5/5                            Overall 3/5

The format of this escape is really interesting, I enjoyed receiving information from our accomplice as she travelled around and investigated. While the puzzles weren’t always that easy to follow, the clue system works well for keeping the team on track and they’ve managed to cram a lot into one escape, we had many tabs open in our browser by the end of the game!

Technical issues: We have some small issue with opening the files in the Google Drive on one of our laptops, we’re not sure why this happened but everything worked perfectly on a different computer so definitely check that Google Drive works on your machine before you start!

Pentargo

Pentago’s format is quite inventive, involving a text conversation that scrolls down your screen. When the messages pause there is a text box to input your answer and if the answer is correct, the conversation moves on. This format allows for your accomplice to ‘travel’ to different places and send any information relating to the crime back to your team. I really enjoyed the different settings that we visited and how everything linked together, creating an interesting story that we were discovering.

We had to visit quite a few different websites to solve the puzzles, giving the game a bit of a scavenger hunt feel as we looked for the right information in a variety of places. The codes were good fun to decipher and virtually running around the internet investigating all of the different websites was really good fun, adding to the tension and atmosphere of the game.

One aspect about this experience that I think is really well done is the clue system. Each challenge has information available and then also a solution if needed. The information doesn’t just contain clues, it guides you on what you need to solve the puzzles and the solution doesn’t just tell you the answer, it explains how you should have got there. I thought that this was a really nice touch, everything being explained thoroughly if team gets stuck. We did struggle a little with knowing exactly what number challenge we were on though!

Quarantine

Full disclosure – We were sent this game to play free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

This game was very well thought through with lots of different elements and involved using a lot of different websites to find the information that we needed. We weren’t always entirely clear on what we needed to do and had to consult the clues page in order to progress in the story but is was easy to keep ourselves on track using the information there.

Escapehunt, Home escapes

Escape Hunt – Download, Print & Play

https://escapehunt.com/uk/birmingham/play-at-home-games/

Format: PDF document

Scores

Variety of Puzzles 3/5                        Quality of clues N/A

Ease of progression 5/5                      Overall 2.5/5

The Escape Hunt play at home games are a very enjoyable experience – a nice variety of different puzzles and a great story that makes the game easy to follow. The logic grid is a great way of keeping track of your progress while you play and adds to the mystery element of the games, using each puzzle to help solve another puzzle. I’d definitely recommend these games as a great family experience which everyone can get involved in!

Reusable: N/A

Technical issues: None experienced

Escape Hunt

The format of these escapes involves a logic grid and a series of clues to help fill out the grid to find a final answer. They feel a bit like a game of Cluedo, linking pieces of information together and then ticking things off which means that finding the final solution involves a process of elimination.

One of the things that I really liked about this game was the fact that everything is contained in the PDF document. The only piece of a puzzle that wasn’t contained in the PDF was when we sent an e-mail, but we didn’t need to print off reams of paper that just got thrown away afterwards. There were a couple of puzzles that were designed to be printed but we managed to solve them from the screen, the only page that we actually needed on paper was the logic grid, which could always be drawn out if you don’t have access to a printer.

We played via video call using screen sharing and it all worked very smoothly, the PDF is arranged in a logical order so we didn’t have to do too much scrolling around searching for information. It was all very easy to follow, we didn’t get stuck at any point or need to consult any clues, though a clue page is available if you need one. All in all, a very enjoyable format of game that got the brain cells thinking with a great story element too.

Murder at the Mansion

Full disclosure – We were sent this game to play free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

This game was very enjoyable with a nice variety of puzzles. I really enjoyed the murder mystery theme and the story was well thought through with everything linking together. I also liked that the puzzles weren’t too difficult to solve, we didn’t need to refer to the clue sheet and it meant that there weren’t any frustrating moments, just a lovely game that we all thoroughly enjoyed playing!

Reading

Escape Hunt – A Dalek Awakens

Scores

Variety of puzzles 4/5                                                Originality of puzzles 3/5

Pre-game atmosphere N/A                                       Difficulty 3/5

Overall 4/5

Overview – This game is like living through an actual episode of Dr Who! The theming is incredible, with loads of little details that fans of the show will appreciate but also an easily understandable spaceship in peril story which is accessible to everyone, not just the die-hard fans. Overall, a really fun game that we had a great time enjoying – It was also a ridiculous amount of fun to be locked in a room with a full size dalek!

From https://escapehunt.com/uk/reading/

The Doctor needs you: A rogue Dalek, a spaceship on the verge of destruction and an impossible choice…

Step on board a doomed spaceship, where a rogue Dalek has tapped into the power system, in an attempt to recharge its weapons.  Should the Doctor’s most feared enemy be successful, it will exterminate all in its path.

You the Doctor’s friends, must prevent this catastrophe. Shutting down the ship’s power core will ensure the Dalek cannot activate its weapons. However, the ship’s life support systems rely on the same energy source, meaning that shutting down the power would result in the death of all 10,000 passengers.

You have just 60 minutes to find a way out of this impossible situation. You must defeat the Dalek to allow the spaceship to continue safely on its journey. Take too long and your destination will be extermination!

Team – Ster, Ni, Emily

Played – 09/03/20

(Reviewed by Ster)

Escape Hunt

Full disclosure – We were invited to play this game free of charge, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

Escapehunt is easy to find and has a large waiting area with plenty of little games and puzzles to play if you arrive early. We played on press day, so there were a few more people around to chat to than on a usual visit and we were joined by the lovely Emily from Dr Who magazine for our play through. I haven’t given a score for pre-game atmosphere as we had a slightly difference experience on this visit!

A Dalek Awakens

First of all, this room looks great! The eponymous dalek looked as if it had just rolled there straight off the set and made us jump quite a few times, though it wasn’t a room with a scary theme, just an exciting story. Everything was automated, which added to the futuristic feel, and the story was great, with regular input from both the Doctor and the dalek.

The puzzles in this room were very linear, working through each story aspect one at a time, which is what made the room feel as though we were playing through an actual episode. We had a critical situation, an hour, and our instructions from the Doctor – for fans of the show I imagine this is as close to being one of the Doctor’s companions as you’re likely to get and it was great fun!

There were some really interesting puzzles in here, with a few elements that we haven’t come across before and which we really enjoyed. There were some moments where the next step wasn’t entirely obvious and led to us almost removing some decorations which weren’t puzzles at all – oops! But as sections of the room were solved in order, most of those moments came from us just needing to look a bit more carefully as we knew that something must have been triggered, we just needed to work out what.

Overall, while linear gameplay isn’t usually our preferred type of game, it worked very well here and was essential for the story. The puzzles weren’t overly challenging, I imagine that experienced players will have fun setting some quick escape records, but they were interesting and enjoyable to solve. Three was also a pretty good number, more and I think that there would have been quite a bit of watching each other complete things going on, but then in those moments you could always just assign someone to keep an eye on the dalek!

Escape time – 52:25

Breakin', London

Breakin’ Escape – Wizarding School: Fang of the Serpent

Scores

Variety of puzzles 3.5/5                                              Originality of puzzles 3/5

Pre-game atmosphere 2/5                                         Difficulty 3/5

Overall 4/5

Overview – There was a great atmosphere in this room, a proper creeping through a castle in the middle of the night feel that really brought the theme to life. There was a great variety of puzzles to get on with too, probably my favourite room at Breakin’ so far!

From https://breakinescaperooms.co.uk/

Another year at the Wizarding School brings with it new challenges. You have bee summoned by the headmaster to find a most precious artefact which has been lost for many decades. Its whereabouts unknown, your search leads you to a mysterious part of the castle where no one has ventures in years. You feel danger lurking around every dark corner…

You and your friends must face a great evil in order t complete your mission. The monster guarding the chamber will be like nothing you’ve faced before.

Pick up your wands, remember your spells and find your courage, you will need all of them for the challenges that lie ahead!

Team- Ster, Ni, Ellie

(Reviewed by Ster)

Breakin’ Escape

Breakin’ has a really nice area to wait in, plenty of seating and large enough that several teams can wait at once. There isn’t a lot of build up to the rooms here but the hosts are always friendly and enthusiastic about the games.

Fang of the Serpent

The use of space in this room is fantastic! The layout really added to the experience, with quite a bit of moving back and forth between the different sections. It’s worth noting that parts of this room are pretty dark and there is a bit of clambering around which some might find it difficult to access.

The variety of puzzles in this escape was really great. It was a fairly linear story but with a bit of wiggle room for exploring and the theming was just fantastic. The puzzles weren’t overly intuitive, but we got through them with only one hint along the way. Of the three games I’ve played at Breakin’, this one really stands out.

The set up of the room, the decoration and the level of immersion made it a brilliant experience, particularly for a group of Harry Potter fans!  I loved the running back and forth, it added a lot to the theme and the sense of urgency and while the puzzles weren’t overly difficult, they did require a bit of brainpower and deeper thinking that tripped us up a couple of times.

Escape time – 43:57