Archimedes Inspiration, London

Archimedes Inspiration – Leo’s path

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Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

(Review by Ster)

Archimedes Inspiration

We played this room the week before it closed, so it isn’t actually available to play anymore. Also, having read other reviews of this game, it has been modified significantly since it first opened. As we were one of the last teams through, I think this meant that we enjoyed the best possible experience, everything worked the way that it should and any issues that had arisen at the room’s opening were long since fixed.

Our host was very friendly and we spent quite a long time after playing discussing different escape rooms that we had played and what we had enjoyed about them, which really added to our enjoyment of this experience as our team can talk about escape rooms for a long time!

The Room

The theme of this room gave it a calm, relaxing feel and at no point in the game were we particularly stressed out. The puzzles were linear but there were no padlocks or codes, the whole room was fully automated which gave it a very unique and enjoyable feel.

I think my favourite part of this experience was how the puzzles involved the entire team. There were very few moments of everyone waiting for one person to finish, which does tend to happen in other linear rooms. I don’t think that it was a room that any of us found particularly challenging, each puzzle led on to the next and it never took us long to work out the solution, but it was a really enjoyable experience.

We escaped very quickly, setting a new record for the room, but I was really surprised when we were told our time as I felt as if I had been playing for much longer. I think the fact that we were following a story made the theme much more immersive and it didn’t really feel like a race against the clock which led to me completely losing track of time while we were in there, something that never happens in an escape room as I’ve always got one eye on the countdown!

Score

Overall I thought that this room was fantastic, the story and the relaxing feel made it a very unique experience and the fully automated room gave it an interesting twist. It’s a shame that this room isn’t available to play anymore as I think that it had managed to evolve into a really great experience with interesting puzzles with just the right amount of challenge. I’m really looking forward to seeing what replaces it!

Difficulty  3/5

Overall  4/5

 

London, Mission Breakout

Mission Breakout – Codebreakers

From missionbreakout.london

A mind blowing script based on the extraordinary true story of the very confidential Codebreakers!

Will you be able to decode the secret messages of the Nazis, escape the room and save the World ?

You will have only 60 minutes to complete the mission using your mind, good sense and teamwork!

mission breakout

Team: Simon, Stu, Mark, Jackie
Played: 24th October 2016

(Review by Simon)

Mission Breakout

This venue bills itself as being in a disused Underground station. I was initially a bit sceptical, and thought that it might just be in the building, but when you arrive, enter through the side door and descend the steps, it really does feel like you’re entering somewhere historic and forbidden.

At the bottom of the steps is a briefing room and a locked door, behind which lies the game. They have done a great job to create an atmosphere, putting up photos and posters from World War II, which gives the game its theme.

The Game

After a quick video briefing, given by ‘Winston Churchill’, you enter the room. I’m never quite sure how I feel about video briefings. I quite like having a staff member introduce things, but there’s only so many times you can listen to the same thing from different people!

The room is themed around a World War II command centre and uses technology well. The puzzles are varied and there is plenty to do. I do remember a couple of things being a bit obtuse and only solving some of the puzzles by trial and error, but that may have been the idea, as there aren’t many puzzles we’ve encountered that are solvable in this way.

One thing I do remember having discussions about both during and after the game are the sound effects. Sound and vision is used to great effect in this game, but at times it was a bit overwhelming and did make communication between us slightly difficult.

I found the final part of this game slightly frustrating. It was very well themed, consisting primarily of one large puzzle. For the first half of this puzzle, the whole team could be involved, however for the second half it became very limiting, involving two people at most. Coupled with a slightly temperamental piece of equipment, this puzzle took us longer than I thought it should have.

Score

Overall, did the final puzzle affect my enjoyment of the game? Slightly, but because of the equipment, not because of the puzzle. Would I recommend this game to others? Absolutely, it was very well themed, it had a variety of interesting puzzles and made great use of the space available. The venue added to the atmosphere and the rooms were very immersive, which was helped by the sound.

We were told that they are hoping to open another game and I am looking forward to going back to this great venue.

Difficulty: 3/5

Overall: 3/5 (slightly lowered by the frustration of the final puzzle)

Escape Entertainment, London

Escape Entertainment – Prohibition Pandemonium

From ldn.escape-entertainment.com

You’re in a Roaring Twenties speakeasy and the cops are banging on the front door. Do you have what it takes to find the secret back exit and escape the long arm of the law?

prohibition-image

Team – Ster, Simon, Stu, Ni, Ros, Tim, Liz, Naomi, Robin

(Review by Ster)

Escape Entertainment

There were a lot of other teams either getting ready to start or just finishing their rooms and while I appreciate that there was a lot going on, it did feel as if we were shown some seats and then just ignored and left to find our own entertainment for a while among the noise of other large groups also waiting around.

The room

This room can officially accommodate 10 people but we went in with 9 and I’m glad we didn’t fill the extra space as there definitely wasn’t enough for 9 people to do! The room was very sparse without much decoration and none of the puzzles required 10 people which meant that most of the group had to stand back and watch while a couple of people did the actual work.

I found that I spent quite a lot of the first half hour moving between areas of the room trying to spot something that had been missed but not really finding anything. The solutions to the puzzles weren’t very clear and we were never entirely sure if we had the correct combination or not, which took quite a lot out of the enjoyment of the room as there were no clear moments of success, more just a hopeful, well maybe…

I did enjoy the last few minutes when it because clear what we needed to do and could run around doing it but, again, there wasn’t enough work for 9 people so we still had team members just standing around not able to get involved. We escaped needing one clue, though I can’t say that the clue helped at all. We had the answer for the puzzle we just hadn’t managed to use the solution and instead of giving us any advice, we were just told the answer repeatedly over a crackly radio, which led to a lot of frustration.

Score

The members of our team who hadn’t played an escape room before enjoyed the experience but the rest of us left feeling pretty underwhelmed. I definitely wouldn’t recommend going with a full team, book out the room and only fill half the places and you might have a more enjoyable experience than we did.

Difficulty – 2/5

Overall – 2/5

Escape rooms, London

Escape Rooms – Pharaoh’s Chamber

From escaperooms.co.uk

You have successfully passed through all the 12 black hell gates. You are deep in the heart of pyramid – Pharaoh Khufu’s chamber. You are the 100th raider of this tomb; the 99 who have come before you are believed to have perished in the chamber though no bodies have been found. It has been rumoured that their souls have been sucked into Khufu’s tomb to act as his guards for eternity.

This chamber is cursed; all who remain in it after 60 minutes will die. You have 1-hour to find the treasure and escape; otherwise you will, as the others, be forced to remain at the Pharaoh’s side forever. Can you light the Flame of the Gods and escape?

pharoah

Team – Ster, Simon, Stu, Ni, Ros

(Review by Ster)

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms at London Bridge is pretty small. The room that you walk into has photos of previous teams all over the walls but the actual games are downstairs where there’s a bit more space but nowhere to sit and wait. The hosts were friendly and enthusiastic, though there wasn’t much setting up of the theme beforehand, just a run through of a rules.

The Room

This was my first experience of an escape room that didn’t just revolve around padlocks. We were quite new to escape rooms when we played this and when we first walked in we genuinely had no idea what to do! We got into the rhythm of it a bit more as the hour wore on, though we found that some of the puzzles weren’t very intuitive and at one point we were all sat on the floor just looking at each other in confusion! We needed a couple of hints to escape this room and one of the hints we received over and over again because we were just so stumped about how to use the information!

The room had a great atmosphere, it was quite an immersive experience and built a lot of tension which did eventually culminate in someone screaming! The puzzles weren’t linear, but we ended up solving most of them one at a time as a whole group rather than using the divide and conquer method which we usually favour.

Score

Pharaoh’s chamber was a great atmospheric room that offered a lot more than just searching for padlock codes. It required a completely different skill set to the other room at the London Bridge Escape Rooms location, which made it really interesting to play with the same team.

Difficulty – 4/5

Overall – 4/5

clueQuest, London

clueQuest – Plan 52

From clueQuest

PLAN52 is one of our top secret locations from where our spies run their covert operations. However, something terrible has happened: four of our agents who were stationed there have vanished without a trace. We have proof that this was the work of a double agent. Furthermore, Mr Q suspects that the evil Professor BlackSheep helped the double agent to cover his tracks.

It is up to you and your team to investigate this risky matter and learn the identity of the double agent. But be careful, Mr Q has confirmed that the traitor has managed to reset the security device of the facility! From the moment you set foot inside PLAN52 you will have just 60 Minutes to learn who the double agent was and deactivate the device before the entire facility detonates.

cluequest-unit-plan52

Team

Team 1 – Simon, Stu, Mark, Jackie

Team 2 – Ster, Ni, Fang, Tim, Mike

(Review by Ster)

clueQuest

clueQuest has a fairly large premises allowing for multiple teams to be briefed separately for different rooms. It’s always been pretty busy when I’ve visited but we’ve always been welcomed warmly and given our own briefing in a little nook by our room. There are also always little puzzles to play with while you’re waiting, though they’re quite frustrating to pick up as there is rarely enough time to complete them before starting the room!

The theme of the room was presented fairly tongue in cheek considering that the main characters in the story are an anthropomorphic mouse and a sheep, which gives clueQuest a fun playful feel from the start. ClueQuest also have 4 copies of this room, so it’s possible to divide a large group up and all play the same experience simultaneously.

The Room

There was a lot to do in this room! It definitely wasn’t linear and there were a few red herrings that we wasted some time on, adding to the tension and time pressure which I really enjoyed. There was a wide variety of puzzles inside and enough to do that we frequently split up and discovered things that no one else had noticed yet.

There were a few moments when I thought that we were lucky to be a team of 5 as larger puzzles drew us all back together and we needed to be in 2 places at once which meant that we could have 2 people at each location and a runner standing in the middle shouting at both pairs! These larger puzzles were very interesting, they took a good level of teamwork and were really fun to get stuck into! That isn’t all to say that the room wouldn’t be possible with 3, which is the minimum required, but I think you’d be pushed for time with fewer.

One member of our team was new to escape rooms and rather than tearing through the room like the rest of us pulling things open and picking up everything that moved, she kept the clipboard and pencil and made a of note of everything we found, which is a testament to just how much there was in this room as she always had something to write or read out to the rest of us and really enjoyed the experience despite not actually solving any of the puzzles herself!

Simon – We played this at the Liverpool Street venue, so things may have changed. It was also one of the first games we ever played. This game was a very enjoyable experience. I really liked the variety of puzzles and the different rooms. It was a great room for teamwork and communication. ‘The red box’ was slightly repetitive, but something memorable that I’ve not seen the like of since. I really enjoyed this game and, in the team I played with, we were quite close to the deadline. Overall, a fantastic game!

Score

Plan 52 was a lot of fun. It was a great mix of looking for padlock codes, physically having to move around and also using technology for some interesting puzzles. It also required more teamwork than the average escape room, which was a nice touch that encouraged a lot of heated discussion!

Difficulty

3/5

Overall

4/5

London, Time Run

Time Run – The Lance of Longinus

From time-run.com

Dive through a time portal, then voyage through forgotten and undiscovered worlds on a quest for an object of unfathomable power. Run through time, against clock, to track down the Lance of Longinus – before your 60 minutes are up.

 

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Team

Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu, Ros

(Review by Ster)

Time Run

The theme of this escape from beginning to end was the best I’ve encountered. The doors won’t open until the exact start of your time slot and they are opened in character to reveal an incredibly well themed room and a very entertaining introduction to the adventure. I can’t praise the set-up enough, it was incredible!

We were briefed with another team but we didn’t see them again. We considered hanging around to see if they emerged at the end of the hour but the outside of the location wasn’t a very inspiring place to wait so we left them to it!

The Room

When it says time run, it means it, this place was massive!  There was so much to do as we went around that I don’t actually know how we solved some puzzles, I would be working in one corner of the room and turn around to find other members of the team had found and solved a completely different puzzle and were on to the next. One thing that this adventure wasn’t was linear, we were all over the place!

The puzzles were challenging and very engaging, many of them were also different to puzzles that we had seen before which made them particularly exciting. One element of this room that I really enjoyed was the fact that some puzzles were big enough that they brought the whole team back together and we could do that without leaving anyone out to just watch as the rest of us got on with it, which is something that frequently happens in some escapes.

We made some ridiculous errors as well, which we were ridiculed for at the end by the helpful robot Babbage! But it was a very enjoyable experience involving excited running, interesting puzzles and a lot of yelling!

Simon – Great environment and good variety throughout the game. Great storyline and introduction (if a little long) and implemented really well. Nice variety of puzzles and fantastic use of technology, nothing too repetitive. Decent level of difficulty.

Ni – I loved this room escape! Very impressed by the enthusiasm of the host, which got the theme going from our first step through the door and they managed to maintain it until the moment we left. Every stage was fun and challenging, I hope they open more rooms!

Score

This room was simply incredible. From the decoration of the rooms, the immersive experience, the character of the hosts and the score card at the end, everything about this room was brilliantly done. It has been my favourite experience by far!

Difficulty

4/5

Overall

5/5

Brighton

Escape Game Brighton – Murder at the Pier: Revenge

From escapegamebrighton.com

The identity of the infamous Brighton Trunk Murderer has been discovered. But now the killer is coming after you! He has lured you to his private residence and trapped you inside. Can you escape? You have 60 minutes before the killer will take his revenge!

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Team

Ster, Ni, Lizzie, Jamie, Emma

(Review by Ster)

Escape Game Brighton

The room was easy fairly to find but we had a few Brighton natives showing us the way, not sure how close we would have got without them, especially as the room was actually underneath the main building!

The lobby was just about large enough for the whole team to squeeze into and there wasn’t a great deal of set-up before going into the room, a quick run through of the rules and a couple of sentences of story background.

The Room

The room was small and pretty dark which, while in keeping with the murderous theme, made it difficult to see at times! On first glance around the room we identified a few things which wouldn’t come into play for quite some time, which was frustrating while playing as we were looking for what would fit with these objects and so were distracted from what probably would have been helpful!

Most of the puzzles were quite simple, though that isn’t to say that we found them easy! And at the beginning they weren’t linear, which I really enjoy as it means that the team can split up around the room and everyone feels as if they’re doing something, even if it turns out that they’ve been concentrating on a red herring for 20 minutes!

There was one really interesting puzzle in this room which I haven’t seen before or since which made quite a small simple room a lot more enjoyable! The whole team really enjoyed gathering around, after a bit of tetris style re-organisation of ourselves so that we could all see and no one got in the way, though it was ultimately solved by the person with the piece of paper, the rest of us were just over sized decorations.

We escaped the room in about 40 minutes with one clue.

Score

The room was pretty simple and we did spend a bit of time standing around just passing the same things between ourselves with no real direction, which could be because we hadn’t played a room together before but after the initial exploration the puzzles dwindled to a linear structure which didn’t require 5 people to complete.

Difficulty

2/5

Overall

2/5

Locked in a room, London

Locked in a Room – Invisibility Gene

From Lockedinaroom.co.uk

An infamous colleague, Professor Scabworthy, has been acting even more suspicious recently in the lab. Whilst he is detained for questioning, thoroughly investigate his workshop with your team of investigators to discover and prevent the catastrophe he is attempting to unleash on Canary Wharf…

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Team

Ster, Simon, Stu, Ni

(Review by Ster)

Locked in a Room

This was our second visit to Locked in a Room but our first with our regular team. Our first visit was a bit of a birthday party, so our usual team members split into pairs and tackled Timelock with 6 other players, one group with a lot more success than the other! But more on that visit in another post.

On this visit, we were one of 3 teams starting at the same time and we all gathered in the white briefing room for a short spiel about what to expect. Thankfully, as all teams had played escape rooms before, the briefing was nice and short. A quick don’t break things, don’t climb on things and don’t dismantle that box on the ceiling which isn’t part of your game and we were done.

As Locked in a Room is built to accommodate 78 simultaneous players, instead of your team being escorted individually to the rooms, everyone heads into a long corridor and stands by their door to receive another quick briefing, this one focused on the theme of the games. It’s a different way to start and very efficient given the amount of people. It takes away a bit of the personal touch that some game hosts can provide, but as a group who tend to just want to get inside and get started, we weren’t going to complain!

The Room

Inside, the room was small and the sounds of the other teams getting into the spirit of their games bled through the walls quite a bit, which added some of tension during our last visit when we were surrounded by teams playing the same room, but on this occasion we were the only team playing Invisibility Gene so it was just a bit of background noise that we ignored!

There were a lot of padlocks in the room so we set about locking for codes. The puzzles were pretty linear and we were quite slow to get started. We were stuck on the first puzzle for longer than I think we’d like to admit. When Stu finally worked it out there was a lot of groaning and eye rolling and general cursing of our own stupidity.

After that point the game ran smoothly, we found things to be pretty intuitive and didn’t spend too much time standing around scratching our heads, which is always the mark of an entertaining game. The puzzles weren’t overly complicated and to be honest, I don’t think we found anything to be particularly difficult, but we did all enjoy ourselves and knowing that the solutions weren’t going to be overly contrived meant that we made a conscious effort not to twist ourselves in knots looking for some obscure solution with a very tenuous link to the original answer, which I think sped up our gameplay. Even Simon’s usual call of “write all the things in numerical order” didn’t make an appearance! (I will concede that this has been the solution on a single occasion in an escape room, but I still roll my eyes when he says it.)

It took us 34:54 to escape this room and, while we all felt as if we were making slow progress during, it turned out to be a new record for the room, so not quite as slow as we had thought! We escaped without needing any clues and were apparently the first team to have done so in this configuration, which has inspired the title and creation of this blog!

Simon – I like the room and the surprise. I thought the game was quite linear and the puzzles weren’t ground breaking. Overall it wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t very special either.

Stu – I thought the game was really good and would have been challenging for any beginners who are just getting into escape rooms. There were lots of puzzles in this room allowing different types of players to shine at different points.

Ni – I really enjoyed myself in this room, I liked that even though it was quite linear there always seemed to be something for each member of the team to do. Though the puzzles were simple the solutions weren’t always obvious and we had a lot of fun solving them.

Score

Entertaining enough, but there was nothing that marked the room out as particularly special other than the size of the venue. We all enjoyed ourselves (our enjoyment may have increased once we were told we’d broken the record) and we were still discussing a couple of the puzzles as we walked away.

Difficulty

2.5/5

Overall

3/5