London, Time Run

Time Run – The Game is Now

From https://www.thegameisnow.com/

Don your deerstalker and dive into an all-new mystery brought to you by series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, in collaboration with Time Run, renowned escape room pioneers.

Enter into the world of Sherlock with immersive sets and environments from the show, as you work together as a team to solve mysteries and puzzles before time runs out.

 Play the detective in this brand new Sherlock case featuring original content from the stars of the show including Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and more.

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu, Ros

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Played – 13/1/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

Time Run

As we’ve come to expect from Time Run, the set up for this game was incredible! The opticians that we started in genuinely looked like a real shop and as we had our initial briefing we could see people outside peering in at the glasses on display. Our game hosts were also great, in character and entertaining as they took us through our briefings. The attention to detail and design of this place was absolutely brilliant, including a fantastically decorated bar at the end where we sat and had a drink after finishing.

The Room

The briefing process of this room is part of the game, so we were first led through a maze of black corridors for our initial ‘eye assessment’ which included a test of our skills as a team. This process was a little long, but it was also enjoyable and I’m sure will satisfy fans of the show with its content. The general set-up of the story was amazing and while we were all a little impatient to get started, it was brilliantly done and the hosts were fantastic.

Once we got into the room proper, the story fell down a bit and to be honest, I left without a clear idea of what the events in the story were. We were searching but we never really seemed to find what we were looking for, despite our mission being deemed as a success. I think it might have made a bit more sense if our debrief had also been conducted by the in-character Stamfords that we had been met with at the beginning to tie up the story, but instead we just walked out and were given our score card, which was a little disappointing given how impressive the briefings had been at the start.

The first set of puzzles, while not overly challenging, were still enjoyable to complete and this was definitely my favourite part of the game. I liked the story element and the way that the puzzles linked together. It was definitely the part of the room that delivered the most authentic ‘stepping into the shoes of the legendary detective’ that was promised. It was a fun combination of observations and deductions that took a bit of thought to complete, though our hosts seemed overly keen to get involved here, offering hints and tips when we didn’t need them and occasionally actually interrupting us as we were solving a puzzle, which we were a little frustrated by.

The second and third section of the game, felt a little bit style over substance. The whole place was fantastically decorated and the attention to detail was incredible, but we found the puzzles themselves a bit lacking. Because of the linear design of the game, we found ourselves standing around watching one member of the team complete a challenge which, while great fun for the team member involved, left the rest of us feeling slightly bored.

At one part, the most obvious task to complete in the room turned out to be the very last part required. This wouldn’t have been an issue if it hadn’t involved direct involvement from out host, but it led us to believe that no-one was watching our game at all as they were very confused when we contacted them and thought that we had solved several puzzles that we hadn’t even found yet!

This final part of the mission was less linear than the previous sections so we were at least all involved, but we ended up getting stuck on one puzzle which led to a great deal of frustration because we were told that our solution looked correct but we weren’t solving it. The clue system here was severely let down by the fact that our hosts clearly didn’t have a good view of the puzzle we were working on and so had no way of knowing what was wrong with our solution.

We took the puzzle apart and re-did it about 15 times, reaching the same solution on every attempt, and when we asked for help our host just told us how the puzzle worked a couple of times, something that we already knew, and then didn’t engage with us again in any way. I don’t know exactly how long we stood in that corner, but it felt like well over 10 minutes and actually got to the point where we asked to leave the room and still got no response.

Even without the mess of that puzzle, the game ended in a confusing and underwhelming fashion, with no conclusion to the story that had been so well crafted at the beginning. To be fair to the duty manager in charge that day, he did come out personally to speak to us before we were given our scorecard and apologised for us being held in one part of the game for a few minutes, something which had confused us a great deal at the time! He also assured us that the puzzle we had struggled with was being tested.

He returned after we were taken through our scorecard to explain that they had tested the puzzle and we actually managed to work out where we had gone wrong which, while I appreciated, left me feeling that they really should have been able to point us in the right direction while we were actually playing!

Simon – I was very excited by this game, I loved The Lance of Longinus and The Celestial Chain (although I think I was the only member of our team who did for this latter one), so it was inevitable that the production values of this game were going to be fantastic, and they didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, the game itself failed to live up to expectations, being very linear and involving puzzles that could only be solved by one or two people. At various points, one member of our team solved a puzzle without any input from the others, or ended up standing around doing nothing.

Ultimately, because of the puzzles, this was a mediocre game where the production values far outstripped the gameplay and the story (which I agree with Ster, was very difficult to follow). I would only recommend this to die-hard Sherlock fans.

Ni – I agree with the others, brilliant start, it does feel like you’ve walked onto the Sherlock set! Great in-character hosts and a good set-up for the story, but that then petered out to a hard to follow story and underwhelming puzzles.

2019 Sherlock 13th Ja

Escape time – 60+ minutes

Score

Our expectations for this game were pretty high considering that we all still count Celestial Chain as one of our all time favourites and the beginning of this escape was absolutely fantastic – the production value is incredible. However, the over attentiveness followed by the inattentiveness of our hosts was incredibly frustrating and there just didn’t seem to be enough for us to do. I’m sure will appeal to fans of the franchise who aren’t necessarily fans of escape rooms, but we left feeling a quite underwhelmed.

Difficulty

3/5

Overall

3/5

 

 

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Essex, Room Lockdown

Room Lockdown – Prison Break

From https://www.roomlockdown.com/

You and your team have been locked up in Redwood prison for a crime you did not commit! A corrupt facility where many have been wrongly accused and executed! You and your team have a mission:

  • Escape from your cells.
  • Find a way into the power station.
  • Disable the security system and power supply to distract the guards.

You have 1 hour before they are made aware. Escape or face execution… your choice!

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Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 6/1/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

Room Lockdown

This was our final room on our 3 escape visit to Room Lockdown and our host for this game was absolutely superb (though I can’t remember her name!). After playing, we also had a great chat about which of their upcoming rooms they thought we’d enjoy, so we’re definitely planning a follow up visit to check out the more difficult rooms that they’ve got in the works.

The Room

This room begins with the team being split up into two cells and definitely requires some good communication between the groups to unlock the doors! While there were a couple of moments of one pair waiting around because the next puzzle was in the other cell, we had great fun busting out of our confinement.

Once out of the cells, there was quite a lot to explore and a few different types of puzzles to get stuck into. There was a bit of searching and finding and also a puzzle that required two people to complete which, from the wear on the components, looks as if it’s been redesigned a few times before the current configuration.

The decoration and theming of this room was definitely the best out of the 3 rooms that we played, the first two sections in particular. I really liked that there wasn’t really anything in this room that would seem out of place in a prison, they’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the theming of their puzzles to keep the components authentic to the theme, which is a nice touch.

The final part of this room was a lot of searching and observation which was a little repetitive and we actually ended up solving it using process of elimination after completely failing to find one clue. I wouldn’t necessary say that this is a negative aspect of the game as we were becoming a little frustrated with being unable to find the missing piece of information and potentially would have spent the remaining 20 minutes just running down the clock and staring blankly at each other otherwise!

Simon – I always quite like games where our team are split into different groups at the beginnings, and this was no exception. Admittedly, there were moments during the split where we felt a little bored, and I’m sure the other team felt a similar frustration. The rest of the game flowed quite smoothly and was enjoyable and it felt like we all had something to do most of the time.

2019 prison break 6th Jan

Escape time – 41 mins

Score

This room was really good fun and definitely our favourite out of the 3 that we played. The split at the beginning worked really well and there was lots to get stuck into once we were out of the cells. We particularly enjoyed the difficultly level of this room after achieving pretty fast times in the other escapes here and we’re looking forward to visiting again to play a room with a similar level of challenge.

Difficulty

3.5/5

Overall

4/5

 

 

Essex, Room Lockdown

Room Lockdown – Santa’s Sleigh is Stuck!

From https://www.roomlockdown.com/

It’s Christmas time and Santa has loaded all the presents on his sleigh ready to deliver these gifts to all the boys and girls around the world, but there is a problem, Santa’s sleigh is stuck! If he doesn’t release his sleigh soon Christmas will be a disaster and no gifts will be delivered, can you and your team save Christmas?

You and your team have a mission – Enter the barn, find a way to release Santa’s sleigh and make Christmas magical again. You have 1 hour before it’s too late!

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Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 6/1/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

Room Lockdown

This was our second game at Room Lockdown on this visit and they very kindly got us in early as we’d escaped the first room with quite a bit of time to spare. This was a temporary room for the Christmas period so it isn’t available to play anymore, though it’s possible that Room Lockdown will open a Christmas room again at the right time of year!

The Room

The first part of this room had lots to do so we split up and explored, which is definitely our favourite approach as a team. There was a variety of fun puzzles and some riddle type clues inside the game to help us on our way. I really enjoyed the number of different things to do in here and we were all happy with the increase in difficulty from Alien Abduction, which we had just played.

The entrance to Santa’s ‘barn’ was really good fun and we had a great time discovering how to enter. More than once, the solution to a puzzle caused a hatch to open suppling more challenges to get stuck into and there was a good mix of different puzzle types that kept the game interesting. The puzzles in the first section all linked together nicely for us to gain access to the barn, requiring some good team communication to get everything together, which was a nice way to regroup after the divide and conquer method that we had employed at the beginning.

The barn was the area where we got a little stuck, mainly due to our terrible observational skills meaning that we counted something incorrectly multiple times! There was a really great puzzle in there involving a stack of presents that had an interesting use of technology which we were all impressed with and I really enjoyed the exit of the room!

Simon – I do quite like a Christmas themed room. Unfortunately, they’re often done in a rush, which makes sense, and this one was no exception. Having said that, there was a good variety of puzzles and a great use of physical space. There was good use of technology, including something that we’d never seen before, which is always a bonus.

Overall, this was an enjoyable game and we all felt involved. The theming was done well and the game felt complete, although there was a clear sense of being done ‘on a budget’, which is understandable.

Ni – I thought this games was really enjoyable, lots to do both individually and also many opportunities to regroup and solve something together – just lots of fun!

2019 Santa 6th Jan

Escape time – 36:03

Score

This room was a good bit of festive fun. There was a nice variety of puzzles and challenges and also a good variation of working independently and as a team, which is something that we always enjoy. This company was also one of the only places in the area offering a seasonal room which was something we were all keen to have a go at to get into the Christmas escaping spirit!

Difficulty

2.5/5

Overall

3/5

 

Essex, Room Lockdown

Room Lockdown – Alien Abduction

From https://www.roomlockdown.com/

3:33AM: You get woken up by a tapping on the window. You go to investigate to find an owl looking at you. This continues for many nights until finally you are awoken to a bright shining light. You wake up to find yourself tied up in a human pod and from what it seems you have been involved in an experiment of some sort!

You and your team have a mission:

  • Escape from your pod.
  • Make your way to the bridge.
  • Try to navigate the UFO back to earth before the aliens are made aware

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Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 6/1/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

Room Lockdown

This place is pretty easy to find and has its own car park right outside the front door. The waiting area is small but has plenty of seating, with 3 sofas, though they’re quite close together! On our visit, we booked 3 different rooms and played them one after the other so we had some time in between when we were waiting around as our escapes didn’t take the full hour slots. The owners were very friendly and welcoming during these times and we really enjoyed chatting to them about different escapes that we’ve done and enjoyed. I think we’re all looking forward to going back and meeting them again!

The Room

This room was squeezed into quite a small space, which is both an impressive feat of design and a little bit squashy with 4 people! It was actually situated outside the main building, which made it a pretty chilly experience in January, I’d recommend playing this game at a warmer time of year! I really liked the first puzzle of escaping our ‘pod’ and getting out of our handcuffs, which was a fun start to the story. The puzzles in the pod weren’t difficult, but they were enjoyable to get stuck into, and we moved on to the next section of the game in a few minutes.

Alien Abduction has a very linear gameplay, though we found the solutions to the puzzles quick enough to find that there weren’t too many instances of someone having nothing to do, which is one of our pet hates of linear escapes. The second section of this room had an interesting concept, though the main puzzle involved us watching a video rather than actually doing anything ourselves, which made it seem a bit like it was just there to run down the clock. The final stage of the room involved a bit of search and find followed by an exit that was a really fun idea.

Overall, we didn’t find this room particularly challenging and the puzzles were intuitive enough that that game flowed smoothly without any instances of us getting stuck on a puzzle. It was a small space, which meant that it was a bit crowded, especially when we were trying to count things around the room, though I don’t think this negatively affected the experience.

Simon – I’m a big sci-fi fan, so I was looking forward to this game. As Ster mentioned, the game flowed really well, with three distinct parts. Unfortunately, the first part was the highlight, with interesting problem solving. For me, the second part let this room down, as a lot of the puzzles were guesswork, with little-to-no guidance of a method. In terms of the story, this made sense, but it did make me feel like we were just blundering around for a solution. The last part of the game was enjoyable, but ultimately fairly straightforward. I enjoyed this game, but I can understand why hardcore escape enthusiasts might feel a bit let down by it.

2019 alien abduction 6th Jan

Escape time -22:01

Score

This room was an interesting idea and the puzzles were enjoyable, though it didn’t feel as if there were that many of them and we achieved one of our fastest escape times as a team. I think that this is a room I’d recommend to new players, as it is a really interesting idea and the different stages of the mission were all enjoyable in their own way, but there isn’t a lot in here to challenge an experienced escaper. That being said, we did enjoy the experience and were really pleased by how well the game flowed from beginning to end.

Difficulty

2/5

Overall

2.5/5

 

 

 

Codetoexit

Code to exit – The Dark Ages

From https://www.codetoexit.com/

This team game takes you back to the time of the Legend of Camelot. By revealing the secrets of the castle, you will be able to rescue the mystical Excalibur. Once you have the mythical sword you are only a step away from acquiring the Holy Grail. You need team work, skills and excellent powers of observation to complete the mission in time and escape the room.

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Team- Ster, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/10/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Code to exit

Our visit to Code to exit wasn’t planned, we happened to be staying at a hotel down the road and had a spare 2 hours before the wedding that we’d travelled up for. The time from discovering the company existed to being inside the room was less than 30 minutes, and they coped very well with us calling up and telling them that we wanted to play immediately!

Inside Code to exit there was a small waiting area with a couple of sofas, though we were only kept there for about 5 minutes for a quick briefing before heading down to the basement. In the entryway we could hear a bit of what was going on in the other 2 two rooms, but not enough to give anything way, just enough to know that the teams inside were having fun!

The Room

This room had great decoration and the puzzles were well designed to fit with the theme. We were given a few tips before going inside, the main one being that we might need to be patient and take our time with some of the puzzles and that was definitely true for one of the first puzzles that we found. It wasn’t difficult to work out what needed to be done, but it took a lot of patience to achieve and was one of those puzzles that can only be completed by one person.

It was a little frustrating and we passed it around between us a few times before finally completing it. I have to admit that was a bit disappointed to miss out on some of the other interesting looking puzzles that the boys solved while I was working on that one task, one in particular was something that we hadn’t come across before and sounded like a lot of fun as I heard them solving it behind me!

There was a lot to do in this room and the non-linear structure meant that we ended up tackling pretty much everything at once. At one point I started a puzzle and then put it down to help with a different puzzle and ended up completely forgetting to come back to it! But that busy, chaotic atmosphere is what we tend to enjoy as a team, discovering and sharing things and also dragging people away to help when a solution requires more than one person

The only time when we got really stuck was when we opened a box and didn’t see the tiny key inside, so it was our own stupidity rather than the flow of the game that slowed us down! The puzzles weren’t overly challenging, but they were fun and the fact that some of them took a bit of time meant that the room didn’t feel easy, even though we didn’t struggle too much and the escape ended with a puzzle which was great fun and fitted in brilliantly with the theme of the room.

Simon – When we were told that we would be playing the basement, I was a little wary and expected a dark, damp, poorly decorated room. Thankfully I was wrong! This room was really well themed and the space, although small, was used really really well. The variety of puzzles in here was fantastic, although I did feel a bit sorry for Ster being stuck on the one puzzle that she mentioned for a while. Were we in a different team, I think we could have really struggled to complete this room due to that puzzle. However, the rest of the game flowed really well – the automation was good and we felt a sense of achievement upon completion. A great room!

2018 code to exit

Escape time – 40 minutes

Score

This room was really enjoyable, the puzzles were interesting and flowed brilliantly and the theming of the room was great. The aspect of having to physically obtain the sword before being able to access the Holy Grail that we were after was great fun and the variety of different puzzles meant that the room was interesting and engaging to play.

Difficulty

2.5/5

Overall

4/5

Break Escape, Loughborough

Break Escape – Enchanted Forest

From http://www.breakescape.co.uk

A portal has been discovered that leads through to another world. The realm is under the control of a dark enchantress, and the forest sleeps. Can you wake it, and find a rare blue gem before the enchantress and make your escape?!

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Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/10/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Break Escape

This was the second room that we played at Break Escape on this visit and, despite the fact that we’d booked with a 45 minute time gap between them, our host was great at getting us straight into this room after finishing Sands of Time, which we all appreciated as we had a fairly long journey home afterwards! He also gave us a shortened briefing for our second escape here, just covering the essentials as we’d had the general stuff before playing Sands of Time.

I’m really impressed with Break Escape as a company, our host has always been very friendly and welcoming and has also made our visits feel personalised. The graffiti up the walls left by previous teams is good fun to add to at the end, even if some of it is not entirely suitable for younger players! And we’ve always left feeling like we can’t wait to come back, so we’re hoping for some new rooms soon!

The Room

The beginning of this room was superbly themed! There is a brief section of getting through the portal before entering ‘Narnia’ which really made us all smile. It was brilliantly executed and the puzzles were good fun too, requiring a bit of thinking and teamwork which we all enjoyed.

This escape is incredibly well decorated and we spread out amongst the puzzles enjoying the fact that the room didn’t have a completely linear structure. There was one fiddly little puzzle which Ni and I passed backwards and forwards between us because it was frustrating and time consuming and very easy to get fed up with! There were a couple of other frustrating puzzles that we discovered right at the start as well but they were so frustrating that we didn’t spend all that long worrying about them as they gained us time back at the end rather than aiding our actual escape.

I liked the idea of a key and padlock deposit box to put opened locks and their keys and if we forgot to use it, the wise owl in the corner would reminded us. Its main purpose is to stop anything getting in the way of the automated sections, which worked very smoothly, but it was also useful to stop anything getting lost or mixed up as we worked our way through. I found the wise owl a fun way of interacting with our host while keeping the theme more immersive, he was there to prod us in the right direction but also had a few sarcastic quips up his sleeve (or wing) which we all enjoyed.

The puzzles in this room require a bit of deduction and observation to complete and the whole team was brought together at the end, not because the puzzle required 4 people to complete, but because we found a strategy that worked and went for it! I found the puzzles in this room really enjoyable and while they weren’t too difficult, they took a bit of thought to work out and the answers weren’t always immediately obvious, which meant that we all felt challenged as we played.

There was a good variety of puzzles as well, less padlocky and more deduction, observation and riddles than the other rooms at Break Escapes, making it a really unique experience. The puzzles were also pretty well themed and, while the room wasn’t completely linear, different aspects did lead us in certain directions and there were some cumulative moments that gave the story a bit of structure.

Ni – This room is actually Narnia! Worth doing for the theming alone as it’s truly awesome 🙂

Simon – When I heard about the theme of this room, I was very keen to do it, and this definitely paid off. This room is really well themed, with the entrance being a particular highlight! Most of the puzzles are very cleverly constructed and fit with the game well, however there was one which we got a hint for, and I struggled to see how this would have been solvable without the hint. Despite this, we thoroughly enjoyed the room. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely enjoyable! I appreciated our host’s sense of humour throughout and would recommend this room to others.

Break escape 29.10.18

Escape time – 43:25

Score

We all really enjoyed this room! The theming and decoration was brilliant and there was a variety of puzzles which were good fun while being challenging at the same time.

Difficulty

4/5

Overall

4/5

Break Escape, Loughborough

Break Escape – Sands of Time

From http://www.breakescape.co.uk/

There’s a strong rumour about a treasure hunter finding lost gems within a tomb known as The Sands Of Time. Dr Nubis could never escape which was believed to be because of his greed. He’s set an array of puzzles & traps to make sure no one else can get their hands on his loot. Do you have what it takes to go one step further?!?!

sands of time

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/10/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Break Escape

Two of us had visited Break Escape before and we returned with the rest of the team to tackle a couple of their other rooms. We were met by the same host, who was as enthusiastic and friendly as he had been on our previous visit, and while Break Escape has a fairly large waiting area, we have never spent any time there because they’re very efficient at getting teams to their rooms! There are comfy chairs and water available in the entrance though, which is where pictures are taken at the end as well.

The Room

We were given 2 torches when we entered this room and that was the only source of light we had while playing. I can’t imagine how frustrating that would be with 6 people as we struggled enough with 4! It took us a little while to get into the rhythm of pairing up to look at things, but to be honest we probably spent more time arguing about light than we did actually sharing it – clearly not one of our strong points!

The first part of this room created a few disagreements, partly because clues were spread around and we couldn’t quite manage to coordinate the torches so that we could see everything that we needed to! We also came across a fiddly little puzzle that took up one of the torches for a fair amount of time as we struggled to complete it. It probably wouldn’t take most teams as long as it took us, but after I completed 90% of it 3 times and then tried to pass the final stage on to Simon, who couldn’t complete the beginning of the puzzle but was tall enough to see the ending, we finally just passed the whole thing over to Ni, who is slightly taller than me and so could complete the whole thing by herself!

The puzzles in this room were interesting and some of them took us a bit of time to figure out, in between our torch arguments! They fit well with the theme of the room and required us to pause for a moment and think them over. We always enjoy rooms that require a bit of teamwork, and this was no exception.

Ni – The lack of light was frustrating, it definitely showed us our lack of patience with one another! The room (when we could see it!) was well themed and had a nice variety of puzzles to keep us occupied, lots of team work and pairing up, which I always appreciate. I also enjoyed how the room kept forcing us to go back on ourselves to go forwards, which made playing the room feel like watching the Lord of the Rings movies, you kept thinking you’d made it to the end…

Simon – I sometimes feel that the Egyptian theme has been overdone, but actually I think the darkness works in this room’s favour, as it means that the theming can be basic but still realistic. Ok, the lack of torches was a bit frustrating, but we managed. The puzzles in here fitted the theme well, although there was another annoying dexterity puzzle which I’m absolutely useless at. Apart from one other puzzle, I thought the level of difficulty was about right. I liked the way this room kept opening up and it pretty much felt like there was always something to do.

Break escape 29.10.18

Escape time – 42:31

Score

This room was pretty good fun, the fact that the only light inside was what we took in with us really added to the theme and the puzzles were interesting to complete. I think that there could have been a few more puzzles inside just to make it that little bit more challenging, but overall it was an enjoyable experience with well themed puzzles and a great escape at the end.

Difficulty

3/5

Overall

3.5/5

Hour escape, Loughborough

Hour Escape – Escape The Gallery

From http://hourescape.co.uk/

You and your team have been caught stealing a priceless work of art.
Security are holding you until the police arrive in 60 minutes.
Do you have what it takes to escape the gallery in time?

escape-the-gallery-v4

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/10/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Hour Escape

We were a bit late arriving to Hour Escape, having had a slow moving journey down from Manchester, so I was a bit surprised that the room wasn’t ready when we turned up. It hadn’t been reset properly and our poor host was running around looking for a vital piece of the room that was missing, she was on the phone to a colleague when we arrived trying to track it down, so we sat in the waiting area for a few minutes.

It’s not the biggest place to wait, and on the day we went it was very cold which made us anxious to get going! There was quite a long introduction as the game has a secondary objective as well as escaping and we were tasked with finding money, gems, gold bars and rings while inside which would add up to time taken from our score if we brought them out at the end.

The Room

Inside, I really enjoyed the first puzzle, it could have become tedious but it was kept to a sensible length and we progressed to the next part fairly quickly. Once in the room proper, we were confronted with a room full of shelves and bookcases which were jam packed with the notes and gems that we needed to collect. It was easy to get caught up in finding these items rather than looking for puzzles but the team split quite naturally into treasure hunters and puzzle solvers so we didn’t waste too much time.

There were a few puzzles to work through in this room but there wasn’t anything that we got stuck on, meaning that we moved through it all quite quickly. After the initial treasure hunt, the next stage involved a puzzle which required all of us to solve as it would have taken a long time if one person worked through it alone. It wasn’t a complicated puzzle, it just took a bit of time to complete and was a nice way of bringing the team back together after the mad dash of finding treasure.

The final puzzle was maths orientated, which meant that Simon was in his element, and I busied myself solving a puzzle which we’d already worked out was a red herring, but I was having fun with so continued anyway! I definitely think that a team of beginners could struggle in here, especially with the distraction of the bank notes everywhere, but we didn’t feel particularly stretched and we burst out of the door a good 10 minutes ahead of the previous record.

Ni – This was definitely a tear everything apart room! It was actually quite light on puzzles and while the treasure hunting aspect was a good filler for when we hadn’t found the next puzzle, I did begin to get fed up with just finding things, rather than finding puzzles to solve. Probably a good beginner game, but not that much to stretch any seasoned escapers.

Simon – An interesting concept for a room. Ni is right when she says it’s a ‘tear everything apart’ room, and the focus did seem to be on the treasure hunting at times. This did mean that everyone was busy for most of the room, which can be quite unusual. The puzzles in here were ok – there was nothing that we’d not seen before, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them. Overall, this was an enjoyable room. Although I can see why the finding aspect might put hardcore escapers off, this was a light-hearted room which could be enjoyed by most teams.

Stuart – I really enjoyed this room and particularly the element of collecting things while trying to break out. This made the room unique and it’s easy to see why people might get distracted, which adds another element to the game. As said above we were running late and it was really appreciated that they held the room for us and put our mind at ease. The host herself was lovely and very friendly. The room itself had loads to do in it and loads of places to search and look, which is great for bigger teams. The theming was good and the puzzles in places were challenging and some we had never seen before. For our team the room was a little too simple and didn’t have that one big challenge we often find. It was a nice and enjoyable game and perfect for new teams.

Hour escape the gallery 29.10.18

Escape time – 25:31

Score

This room was enjoyable, but not particularly difficult, though the treasure hunt provided an extra element to keep us all entertained as we blitzed through. I’d recommend the room to beginners who haven’t played a lot of games as the gems were fun and I liked that the second stage brought the whole team in together.

Difficulty

2.5/5

Overall

3/5

Breakin', London

Breakin’ Escape – Heist Plan

From https://breakinescaperooms.co.uk/

You are part of a gang of street racers planning a major heist in New York City. Your goal is to hit the 5 major banks in Manhattan in one night, under the cover of an illegal street race where you will be participating with two of your tuned up cars.

Everything was set for tonight but all your plans went haywire when one of your rival gangs broke into your garage, stole one of your cars and wrecked the other one.

Now you have only one hour to fix the engine of your broken car, find the car park where they have taken you second car and steal it back and then make it in time to the race and finish the job. Do you think your crew has what it takes?

heist plan

Team 1 – Simon, Stu, Mark, Jackie

Played – 11/8/18

Team 2 – Ster, Ni, Rachel, Ben, Anna

Played – 8/11/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Breakin’

Breakin was easy to find, just a few minutes walk from Highbury and Islington station and we were all really impressed with their waiting area, lots of seating and well decorated too. The doors to the rooms in this place are all really well themed and we were picking the room that we wanted to try next based on their door decorations!

There isn’t a great deal of interaction with the hosts here, a cheery hello when we arrived and a quick briefing before we went in followed by a quick photo opportunity on our way out and then we were left to our own devices on the sofas. We really liked this approach as our team was full of Londoners who were all heading off in different directions, so it was nice to have somewhere to chat afterwards without the pressure of needing to be out of the way for the next team as space really isn’t an issue here! The first team of Simon, Stu, Mark and Jackie found it a bit impersonal and would rather have had a bit more input from the host, so I guess it depends what you’re looking for!

The Room

This room was really well decorated and the puzzles were interesting and different, with some physical aspects that we had a great deal of fun with! We did get something stuck and have to call someone in to unstick us during a puzzle very early on, but it was just the nature of the equipment and it didn’t really slow us down as once we’d seen it be unstuck we could unstick ourselves the next time, and we were having quite a lot of fun with it!

The clues are given via a tablet mounted near the door and need to be requested via the walkie talkie. We only asked for a clue once so we didn’t really have much of an opinion of the system – it worked fine the one time we used it! The first team didn’t get on with it so well and found it a little frustrating. When a clue is requested a code is sent through that will unlock a clue on the tablet. Each puzzle has a number of clues and they seem to be given in a pre-set order, so team 1 were given 2 clues that didn’t help them at all before finally receiving enough information to continue which was quite frustrating for them.

The puzzles in this room are pretty linear, though we managed a couple out of order as we played through. While I’m not usually a fan of linear rooms, I did enjoy the story of this one and it was easy to get everyone involved with the different puzzles so it didn’t feel as restrictive as some linear gameplay can do. The story was also building to a conclusion, which wouldn’t have worked if the puzzles had been completed in a different order so the set up did work pretty well.

The penultimate puzzle was an interesting one, and I can see why the first team were frustrated by it (as always, their comments are below) but while I agree that it has its flaws – it’s fiddly, slightly repetitive and could probably be improved by higher quality equipment – I really enjoyed the way that, even in a team of 5, everyone found a role to fill. We ended up with 2 up front, 2 in the back and a communicator in between yelling instructions between the pairs and it worked really well. Admittedly, not everyone was necessarily playing a key role, but in a puzzle that took a little bit of time to complete, it was nice that everyone felt involved in some way and it fit really well with the theme of the room as a final task in the linear structure of the game. It was also pretty entertaining and it made us all smile when we discovered it, everyone falling to their different roles quite naturally depending on what they thought was part of their skill set.

The final puzzle was a bit of an anti-climax to be honest. I liked that it tied up the last part of the story, but it was a solo puzzle that 4 of us just watched which wasn’t the greatest ending to a room, but we really enjoyed the previous elements and it was an interesting way of finishing up the story of the game that did have us all smiling and laughing, even if it wasn’t challenging all of our minds as we did it!

Ni – I had a great time in this room! The majority of the puzzles are physical puzzles, which I am fond of, and meant they were things we don’t often see. It definitely isn’t a taxing room for keen escapers, but we did all have a real laugh as we played through, and we came out smiling, which always impresses me!

Simon – There were some interesting ideas and puzzles in this room and we quite enjoyed the first half of the game. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, we had major problems with the penultimate puzzle – the equipment was not as accurate or as reliable as it should have been, causing us to need to call members of the team into the room to fix this multiple times, breaking our immersion in the game. Had this part of the game been shorter, I don’t think we’d have had an issue, however we spent about a third of our time on this section. Unfortunately, for our team, this experience soured the game overall.

Stuart – This room started off so well. The puzzles were enjoyable and we saw a couple of puzzles we had never seen before. As a team who don’t like to ask for hints, getting 2 hints for things we’d already done was frustrating and time wasting. The puzzle mentioned above in the review was the most annoying part of an escape game we have ever done. It was a nice idea but relied too heavily on equipment working well (which it wasn’t) and the players doing things in a certain way (which was too easy not to do!). Hosting was poor and not engaging, the constant interruptions to fix the broken puzzle ruined the game and the ending was anti-climactic and disappointing.

2018 Breakin Escape 2 - 10th Aug

Team 1 escape time – about 50 minutes

IMG_2178.JPG

Team 2 escape time – 38:03

Score

As a team, we have pretty divided opinions of this room! The second team really enjoyed it and had a great time, the puzzles were different and good fun and the room worked really well with the new players that we’d taken along – we’re looking forward to going back in the future! The first team thought that the theming was great and enjoyed the majority of the game, but really hated the ending.

Due to our different opinions and experiences, we’re giving this room 2 different scores as we can’t agree, you’ll have to visit and decide for yourselves!

Team 1 scores                        Team 2 scores

Difficulty                                 Difficulty

2.5/5                                           3/5

Overall                                     Overall

2/5                                              3.5/5

 

 

 

 

 

Disley, Extremescape

Extremescape – Lost Tomb

From https://extremescape.co.uk/

Your team of adventurers & archeologists, enter an abandoned gold mine in the heart of the Mexican mountains, your mission is to find the hidden gold.

Legend says that the holder of the hidden gold of El Narangel will find the Lost Tomb.

The miners left subtle clues & hints, if you use all your skills you may find the hidden gold and ultimately the Lost Tomb but be careful they the miners won’t give up their gold easily.

lost tomb

Team  – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/10/2018

(Reviewed by Ster)

Extremescape

Extremescape is in a pretty unique location and we did start doubting if we were heading in the right direction before we saw the signs leading us down a fairly narrow trackway to a car park with an amazing view of the surrounding hills!

When we arrived our host was very friendly and welcoming and we had a few minutes to chat about our favourite escapes as every member of our team wanted to go to the toilet before we started – one of the downsides of a 90 minute room!

The Room

This room is brilliantly themed and decorated, first starting in an abandoned gold mine and then moving on to a Mayan tomb through an amazing puzzle which had us all excited as we yelled at each other in a pretty confined space and laughed at the practicality of starting in the middle instead of somewhere slightly more logical! The entryway to this escape houses a fantastic puzzle and our hosts even took us back through to show us what would have happened if we’d got it wrong, and I think it’s worth getting it wrong to experience what happens, it’s just brilliantly done.

After the first puzzle we were searching through an abandoned gold mine, which had two puzzles in particular that wowed us all, even if Stu did keep complaining about getting wet (he wouldn’t stand back)! If we started down the wrong path, or attempted a particularly ridiculous solution to a puzzle, we were chastised by a voice that echoed around the room and gently mocked us, which we all found pretty entertaining. Actual clues were delivered via a screen that also showed our time. At one point we took a turn for the particularly stupid, despite Ni’s best efforts to stop us, and the clue that flashed up just told us that we were all doomed now, which made us laugh a lot considering how ridiculous our mistake was, though we were told at the end that 90% of teams make the same mistake so we didn’t feel quite so bad about it!

The gold mine was a lot of fun, we did have a few moments of everybody standing still and wondering what we were supposed to be doing, but those moments were also spent marvelling at how well themed and decorated this place is. The automation is also absolutely brilliant, everything worked perfectly and any room that begins with every member of the team saying something along the lines of; that was bloody brilliant, is off to a pretty good start!

The Mayan tomb had some great puzzles in it too, as well as some more wonderfully engineered automation, even if I did spend the entire time in there creeping around very cautiously because our friendly hint giver had told us that there would be spiders inside! We came across one puzzle which really played to our team’s most serious weakness – describing things in a way that the others understand. After a few minutes of looking at each other in complete confusion, we had to resort to everyone running around looking at everything themselves because, as we’ve discovered in previous escapes, we have very different ways of describing the same things!

We burst out of this room thinking that there were more puzzles to solve because even the room for the debrief is brilliantly themed! Our hosts were as fantastic at the end as they had been at the beginning and very efficient in printing off a new leaderboard so that we could include it in our team picture and also had one to take home with us.

Simon – This is a room that definitely has the wow factor. From beginning to end this game impressed at every turn, with amazing theming, fantastic automation and great variety of puzzles. This is a game that I would highly recommend and I am definitely looking forward to making a return trip for their other (by the time we make it) two games.

Stuart – This room is located in a very unique location. As we drove down the long driveway, I did start to wonder to myself what type of room we would find at the end? The answer was a game that amazes and surprises from the word go and easily ranks in the top 3 games we have played to date! The theming is spot on, the puzzle and searching elements balance perfectly and the hosts were lovely and welcoming! I look forward to returning.

Lost Tomb 29.10.18

Escape time – 58:22

Score

As we walked away from this room we were already planning a return visit to play Pirate Ship, the scale and the level of theming in this place are pretty much unmatched in any other escape that we have played and the puzzles were great fun to get stuck in to. It definitely ranks firmly in our top 3 games and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store here!

Difficulty

4/5

Overall

5/5