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

London, The Riddle Within

The Riddle Within – Flight 338

Scores

Variety of puzzles 2/5                                                 Originality of puzzles 2.5/5

Pre-game atmosphere 5/5                                         Difficulty 3/5

Overall 3.5/5

Overview – The world’s first escape room on a plane! The theming of this game was obviously fantastic and our host was amazing in his role of over the top security, creating a great buzz as we started. The concept of having to open different areas of the plane to find and solve puzzles really made this game enjoyable and I can’t wait to find out what the team come up with next – they’ve promised a more challenging game in the future and I’ll definitely be signing up as soon as it’s available!

From https://www.riddlewithin.com/

After years on the straight and narrow, your past has finally come back to haunt you.

Once one of the most feared gangs in the USA, responsible for some of the most audacious and daring robberies in the country’s history, time has mellowed your crew and retirement has been pretty uneventful.

That is until a shadowy figure from your ‘less law abiding days’ reappears to take revenge.

You have been framed, found guilty, sentenced and, given your shady past, that sentence is a tough one. Life to be exact. Life in one of the world’s highest security prisons.

So now you find yourselves thrust back together with the old faces. Faces you last saw obscured by balaclavas and in the midst of a high speed pursuit many years ago… faces that bring back memories of the old ways. Old ways you will need more than ever if you are to escape into the sunset and finally disappear.
You are being readied for transportation on board prisoner shipping plane: Flight 338, but there is one member of the gang they didn’t find. He has caused disruption at the airstrip and left some things on board which you might just find useful, but is everything quite as it seems?

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Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu, Tim

(Reviewed by Ster)

The Riddle Within

The Riddle Within team were really friendly and clearly very passionate, a member of staff had experienced some travel issues on the morning that we played and so we were greeted by one of the mangers who had rushed over to be there and it was great to chat to him about The Riddle Within’s future plans and some of the changes that Flight 338 had been through as it was developed. The concept of this escape is great, the plane looks brilliant and was bigger than we expected with loads of seats and space inside.

Flight 338

The game begins with a prison guard leading the team into the plane and he played his role absolutely brilliantly. We were simultaneously trying not to laugh while also doing everything that we could to do what he said and not get into trouble! We all decided to start the game in handcuffs, though this is optional for all players, but we enjoyed the extra challenge that it added.

The game was pretty linear, with the whole group solving a puzzle before moving on to another, though we were finding props that linked with various puzzles all the time as we went along. Getting out of the handcuffs was a fun challenge as we could only move so far while attached to our seats and we also had to open a surprising amount of doors during the game considering that we were confined to a plane!

The guard’s return visit halfway through playing was a big highlight as we all scrambled to be back in our seats and looking innocent before he opened the door, even with suitcases strewn all over the floor, a challenge made a little more difficult by the fact that one member of the team couldn’t find her handcuffs and was then hilariously chastised while trying to locate them.

The final two puzzles were completed almost simultaneously as the cockpit puzzle isn’t really designed for everyone to do at once and we really wanted to find the evidence that proved our innocence! Overall, it was a great experience, not overly challenging and so suitable for beginners as well as experienced players and we’re really looking forward to The Riddle Within’s next offering, especially their next plane game as it sounds like they’re really going to up the difficulty level for that one!

Photo 18-01-2020, 17 21 32

Escape time – 30:29

 

 

 

clueQuest, London

ClueQuest – Escape the Lost Pyramid

Scores

Variety of puzzles 3.5/5                                              Originality of puzzles 4/5

Pre-game atmosphere 3/5                                         Difficulty 2/5

Overall 4/5

Overview – This was a really fun experience! The puzzles weren’t challenging in the usual sense but they were definitely different and very enjoyable. I loved the way that our actions linked together and we all left feeling very excited and looking forward to the next VR game that ClueQuest has to offer!

From cluequest.co.uk

Welcome to the Animus. February 1928.

An expedition led by Sir Beldon Frye disappears somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. A team of four and a dozen local porters were looking for the Lost Pyramid of Nebka… Or more precisely, “something” that should have been there. They were never seen again. Using the simulation reconstructed from their DNA memory, your team will put themselves in the shoes of the explorers. Find out what happened to the expedition. And more importantly, locate what they were looking for.

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Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played 4/5/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

ClueQuest

The ClueQuest team were as friendly and welcoming as always and we had a great chat about our most and least favourite escapes on our way out. ClueQuest has a great premises with a really roomy waiting area and so many other rooms that the place looks a bit like a maze!

Escape the Lost Pyramid

This obviously wasn’t an escape room in the classic sense.  For a start it took place in an empty room. The headsets are suspended from the ceiling and everyone has their own square of carpet to stand on which makes it very easy to tell if you’ve stepped a little too far in one direction even though you can’t see your actual surroundings.

The game is set inside an ancient pyramid and it was great fun to see everyone’s characters in different areas of the game. Everyone starts in the same room and we messed about trying on different hats and headdresses while we waited for one headset to be reset.

The puzzles were pretty linear, it’s about the journey up through the pyramid rather than exploring, so nothing can be completed out of order.  It was, above everything else, just really good fun. We shot sharp arrows from virtual bows, scaled great heights, hanging on with just our fingertips and rotated massive cogs into place without actually needing the physical strength to do so!

We had a couple of minor technical issues as we began and we were probably half way through before we realised that one issue hadn’t been fully resolved and someone’s headphones weren’t working properly. This made it very difficult for them to communicate with the rest of us and led to a bit of frustration, so I’d recommend doing thorough checks before starting out! We also had a slight glitch when one team member ‘fell’ from a great height to an earlier puzzle and then had no way of getting back as that section had already been completing, causing our host to have to step in and rescue him!

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clueQuest, London

ClueQuest – Plan 52 (Kings Cross)

Scores

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

Pre-game atmosphere 3/5                                           Difficulty 3/5

Overall 4/5

Overview – I’m really glad that we played this room again! Enough time had passed since our original play that we couldn’t remember anything about the solutions to the puzzles and the room definitely looked a lot different. The aesthetics of the room have really been improved and while it’s not the most innovative of games, it’s very enjoyable to play and a great starting point for the ClueQuest story. Having recently played their newest room, OriGENES, it’s clear to see how their rooms have evolved since the beginning and Plan 52 really is just a lot of fun!

https://cluequest.co.uk/

PLAN52 is one of our top secret locations and a fortress for highly classified archives and data. However, something terrible has happened: four of our agents who were stationed there have vanished without a trace. We now have proof that this was the work of Professor BlackSheep who had help from a clueQuest insider.

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.

plan-52

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu, Ros

Played – 13/1/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

ClueQuest

This was our 5th visit to ClueQuest and it’s always a pleasure to play here. The entrance is spacious with plenty of seating areas and the hosts are always welcoming and enthusiastic. Plan 52 was actually the very first escape room we ever played, albeit separately and back in ClueQuest’s previous premises and it was so long ago that none of us could remember much about it! Bearing that in mind, when we were given a voucher code due to technical difficulties during a different play, we decided to give the room another go to see how it had changed.

The Room

The first thing that struck us all when we walked inside the room was how different it looked from 2014. While the basic premise is the same, the look of the room is much sleeker than it started out. Between the 4 of us that had played the room before, the only thing that we could all remember was that somewhere in the room was a red box. I knew that I’d found a laptop at some point but couldn’t remember what I’d done with it and Ni remembered no one listening to her during the final puzzle. So, armed with that wealth of information,  we ploughed straight in.

This is a bit of a traditional codes and padlocks kind of game, though there is a good variety of puzzles to keep the game interesting. There are some potential red herrings in here, but not enough to completely derail your play, just enough to distract you from something more important for a little while! One of my main memories from my first play was how much we managed to split up to do different things and that was much less of the case on this play. I’m sure not if that’s because the props have been streamlined or because we just worked more efficiently as a team, but I enjoyed the fact that I didn’t miss any of the big puzzles this time around.

Due to the variety of different codes and padlocks, the room doesn’t have a linear structure, but there is a natural order to things that I don’t think we followed exactly! Overall, the game flowed really well and there was an intuitiveness to the solutions which I really enjoyed. We struggled a bit on 2 different puzzles due to our own observational skills, at one point completely overlooking a key that we needed to move forwards, but on the whole we found our journey through the game really smooth.

There are a couple of puzzles in here which really stood out from the rest. The first being the infamous Red Box puzzle, which requires a bit of teamwork and is a really fun idea. The final exit puzzle was also great fun, with a bit of frantic running around the gather all of the information that we needed. It was a fantastic puzzle to end on, creating a bit of excitement for the final escape and easily involving all members of the team.

Stuart – ClueQuest never fail to deliver a good game. They always get it spot on and it’s the reason that whenever anyone asks us for recommendations their name is always top of that list. I was worried we may remember too much doing it again but the updates that had been done plus the time that had passed meant I didn’t have anything to worry about. The game itself is very good with some interesting and stand out puzzles. Highly recommend this room to anyone.

13.1.19 Plan 52

Escape time – 40:49

 

Hint Hunt, London

Hint Hunt – The Safe

Scores

Variety of puzzles 2.5/5                                  Originality of puzzles    2/5

Pre-game atmosphere   2/5                            Difficulty    2/5

Overall  2/5

Overview – Not a particularly difficult room, with quite a sparse scattering of puzzles, but our host was pretty friendly and there were some interesting elements to enjoy.

From https://hinthunt.co.uk/

You are in a room in London with your friends and family but the funds are in danger. Any hints how to escape this crisis? Detective JM has done his best and already identified whom to interrogate but is still puzzled. The most important details are locked in a safe and it is up to you to open it on time. Get active and immerse yourself in the experience of this live game – you only have an hour before we all go bankrupt.

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Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played 4/5/19

(Reviewed by Ster)

Hint Hunt

The waiting area at Hint Hunt is quite cramped but our host was friendly enough. It’s a bit strange being able to hear so many sounds from other rooms as you play but it didn’t interfere with our game in any way, it was just a bit odd!

The Safe

The decoration in the room is pretty basic, there wasn’t loads to look at and the space was small enough that our team of 4 seemed slightly too big. There was quite a bit of noise bleed from the adjacent room as well and there seemed to be more objects that weren’t part of the game than there were objects that were useful!

The Hint Hunt website lists this room as having a difficulty level of 4.6/5 which I am very surprised by. While there were definitely some fun puzzles in here, I wouldn’t class them as difficult, just enjoyable. The only thing we had trouble with was the listening puzzle because two of the sounds were so similar that we could barely distinguish between them and had to resort to trial and error in the end.

Even though the ideal number of players according to Hint Hunt is 3-5, I’d say it would definitely be doable with 2 and 5 experienced players would find themselves in a too many cooks situation. I did enjoy this room, but it wasn’t a big challenge. The puzzles were fairly standard and didn’t take long to complete. I think we spent more time standing around shrugging at each other because we’d run out of puzzles than actually doing anything!

Stuart – It was fine. Sounds like a fairly bland opinion from me but the room was pretty much the same – bland. There were some half decent puzzles but definitely nothing unique giving it the excitement we are looking for now that there are so many escape games available. Probably a good one for any teams new to the escape game scene and looking to build up some experience.

2019 hint hunt the safe

Escape time – 27:33

 

 

Enigma Escape, London

Enigma Escape – The Killer

Overview – This room is designed with the really interesting idea of being a realistic scenario, however the level of puzzle that it offered was a bit of a let down. I’d guess that it would be more enjoyable with a smaller group to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be more involved, but overall I don’t think I’d recommend it to escape enthusiasts who enjoy the puzzles solving element of escaping.

From https://enigmaescape.co.uk/

You have been invited to watch tonight’s premiere THE KILLER. It’s not a coincidence that you’re the only ones in the cinema.

 Please note that this game is of an eerie nature and is not for the faint-hearted. This game requires keen eyes, logical thinking and an instinct for survival. Will you discover the mystery behind Visionary Cinemas before time’s up?

best-escape-room-game-london-killer

Minimum age 10

Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stuart

Played – July 2015

(Reviewed by Ster)

Enigma Escape

The briefing for this room was fantastic, we were taken into a small room with a TV made up to look like a mini cinema screen and the intro was given via video. It was an interesting and engaging start with a high production value that we were all impressed with, though the video did require a bit of explanation afterwards.

The Room

This was a very different type of escape than we’ve played before. Our host told us that we needed to think about how we would actually get out of this situation rather than searching for puzzles, which meant that when we looked around for something to do, there really wasn’t a lot there. It took us a little while to get our heads around this style of game play and the first puzzle took us an embarrassingly long time to figure out, but once we had overcome the first hurdle the room did flow together really well.

As a story driven experience with a focus on ‘real’ solutions, the game was very linear. It felt a lot more like an actual escape from a kidnapping rather than a game of solving puzzles to open an exit door. For me, the thing that let the room down was the fact that it just didn’t require 4 people to solve. Due to the linear puzzles, there was never something for all of us to do at the same time, which meant that there were always members of our team who were just watching rather than getting involved.

The last section of the room delivered a scenario worthy of the name The Killer and involved a puzzle a little bit meatier than those we had encountered previously. There was also a moment that successfully made us all jump, me in particular!

Simon – This was definitely the first escape room of its type that we tried, where the focus shifted from puzzles to real life. Initially, as Ster mentioned, it was tricky to get into the mindset initially and I think that did result in the room feeling a little more sparse than we were used to. In fact, in one instance the only solution to a puzzle was to ‘brute force’ the code, something which we are totally not used to. However, I thought that this room was interesting and the real life aspect made this an good challenge.

Stuart – When we played this game it was very different to other escape games we’ve played. If you like puzzle solving then this isn’t one that you’d enjoy as much. However if you like problem solving in a ‘real life’ situation then this is a great first room to do. The concept was good and the ending was definitely memorable.

 

 

 

 

Hint Hunt, London

Hint Hunt – Zen room

Difficulty  2.5/5

Overall  3/5

Overview – Overall, this was a fun room to escape. The puzzles were engaging and enjoyable and I particularly liked the Sudoku puzzle element as it was something that we could complete together, though I’m sure that this has the potential to truly frustrate players who don’t solve these outside of escape rooms – plenty of opportunities for mistakes here! It was definitely more enjoyable than Hint Hunt’s first offering and I’m excited to try their new games to see how they’ve continued to develop their puzzles.

From https://hinthunt.com/locations/london

A journey to the heart of Tokyo, you and your team alongside private investigator James Murdock have been contacted by Miss Miharu about a robbery that has taken place in one of her many properties. A cruel and spiteful uncle that has torn her family apart is at the center of the mystery. Locked inside, you will have to home into all of your investigational skills to unfold the secrets, solve the crime and escape out of the locked room all in one hour!

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Team 1 – Simon, Stuart, Mark, Jackie

Played 2016

Team 2 – Ster, Heather

Played 1/10/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Hint Hunt

We pretty much arrived and were led straight into our room, so I can’t really comment on any of the facilities here as we didn’t see them! The entrance to Zen Room was down some outside stairs so while I’m sure they have an area for teams to wait when they arrive, we didn’t need to go in there. Our host was friendly and took us through the short briefing outside the room before leading us in.

The Room

This room looks great inside, lots of authentic looking Japanese props and decorations which were incorporated into the gameplay in various ways. I think this room requires a keen eye as some items were well hidden, particularly in the first section where we needed some assistance to find something small that we hadn’t noticed.

I found the puzzles enjoyable and the game was not as linear as JM’s office which meant that we did split up a couple of times though, as I played this room in a pair with an escape room newbie, we mostly stuck together to work on solutions and there was lots to keep us busy for a full 50 minutes. I don’t think we had any big moments of getting truly stuck, we were pointed in the right direction when we hadn’t found something important and it was hinted that we should focus on a particular part of the room at one point, but overall the game flowed smoothly and the puzzles were pretty intuitive.

There were a couple of more technology based moments that we definitely enjoyed. The first caused some giggles and the second was incorporated into a larger puzzle that we messed up a couple of times due to terrible counting skills!

Stuart – The first game we ever played was the John Monroe room and had set the bar of what we now expected. The zen room did exactly what it needed to and raise that bar slightly further up. It was very simplistic compared to the games we play these days but it was enjoyably simple rather than boring simple. It would definitely be a good game for new players and teams.

 

 

London, Puzzlehunt

Puzzlehunt – Dreamcatcher

From https://dreamcatcherpuzzle.xyz/

The machine thinks. We trained it using huge volumes of data, taken from scans of normal brain activity. But it’s too predictable, too rational; it lacks imagination, capriciousness, soul. For that we need data from a different, much more subtle source.

Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Ellie

(Reviewed by Ster)

download

Puzzlehunt

Full disclosure – We were given 4 complimentary tickets to play this game, though we’ve tried not to let this influence our opinion of the experience. 

As the game was a weekend long pop-up style event, we met our host at Torriano Meeting House in Kentish Town, which had some decoration, but the theme was mainly carried by our in-character host who greeted us enthusiastically and set up the story of the suspicious death of a professor running the AI dream experiment in which we were signed up be participants. After about a 15 minute introduction, we were given our first clues and sent on our way.

Dreamcatcher

The puzzle was a treasure hunt style game, facilitated by a variety of QR codes and a unique website log-in where we could enter our team’s answers as we progressed. There were 10 main puzzles, each located on the streets around Kentish town and marked by a laminated dreamcatcher logo, some on lampposts, some in shop windows and others attached to fences.

The variety of different puzzles in this game was great! The first puzzle that we encountered was a number puzzle that created a scannable QR code. It wasn’t overly difficult, more like a pen and paper version of minesweeper, but I did really enjoy that the solution created a QR code that we then used to progress the game. There was also a bit of VR, some word puzzles, a bit of chess knowledge and a little rope weaving quiz puzzle which was our favourite of the day.

It’s worth noting that the pre-game information warned of around 2 miles of walking but we logged over 5 miles across 2 hours! There was a lot of back and forth, we’d walk a mile in one direction and then have to walk all the way back for the next puzzle, which may just have been down to the random order in which we did things, but covering the same ground repeatedly did start to become a little irritating by the last few puzzles. We did appreciate the chance to refill water bottles after the fifth puzzle when we met another in-character host who set up the next section of the story, and also the fact that one puzzle was in an ice cream shop so we could stop and cool off for a few minutes as it was a very hot day!

Ellie – A fun but different adventure and a great way of exploring parts of London. Interesting puzzles which were be a little tricky at times.

Ni – A good variety of puzzles and a creative way of including the area we were walking through. I did enjoy the game but I do think the 2 mile route was a little optimistic! The unexpected extra miles and also going back over the same ground a number of times, did make the experience drag towards the end.

Score

Overall, we really enjoyed this experience! The variety of puzzles was great and the theme was well set-up by our enthusiastic hosts. A couple of the puzzles seemed overly long and we found ourselves doing a lot of unnecessary walking around, but I’d definitely be interested to see what this team come up with next as we did have a lot of fun.

Pre-game atmosphere

3/5

Difficulty

2.5/5

Variety of puzzles

4/5

Originality of puzzles

4/5

Overall

3/5

 

 

London, Secret Studio

Escape In Time – Secret Studio

From https://www.escapeintime.co.uk/secretstudiolondon/

Beneath the dark streets of London Town lies an old film studio, lost in time, waiting for you to release its secrets.

Once locked inside Secret Studio you’ll have just 60 minutes to solve its fiendish puzzles and escape. Stay calm, keep your wits about you and you might just escape the cutting room floor!

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Team 1 – Simon, Stu, Jenny, Jackie

Played – 18/8/2017

Team 2 – Ster, Ni, Tim, Dave

Played – 16/6/2018

(Reviewed by Ster)

Escape in time

Escape in Time has a large entrance area with plenty of seating and our host was friendly and welcoming and also assured us that it wouldn’t be too terrifying, as I’m really not a fan of being scared! The company do offer a joker card that allows your team to avoid the scary bits in some way, we didn’t use it so I’m not sure exactly what it changes, but if you scare easily it might be something to consider – the room does contain a few jumps!

The Room

This room was brilliantly themed and decorated and the story was really well done, progressing as we played to a fantastic conclusion. The production value here is very high and a creepy atmosphere was created from the offset, something which only increased as the game went on.

The puzzles were interesting and suitably challenging with some great uses of technology as well and we found a lot to keep us busy, particularly in the first stage of the experience. The puzzle that I think we spent the most time on was a puzzle that really shouldn’t have taken very long at all and, though we were growing a little frustrated with it by the end, that was completely down to user error as we’d actually found the solution in another part of the room and failed to realise what it referred to!

The atmosphere definitely deepened as we played and there was one section of the room where the others were playing as a 3 as I was stood with my back to the wall, waiting for a terrifying jump that never actually came! The others had fun laughing at me but I think it was definitely a sign of a brilliantly executed story that I was genuinely scared.

I really enjoyed the penultimate section of the room, the puzzle led us to a great reveal which had us enthusiastically blundering our way straight into a big surprise which no one saw coming, another example of the fantastic storytelling in this escape. The final twist of this room is just fantastic, enough to make anyone jump and I’m sure that the hosts have a great time watching groups play through, though in our game Dave calmly breezed through the moment without so much as a whimper!

Simon – I thoroughly enjoyed this game! It was really immersive, with great use of equipment that really fitted the theme well, however we did have issues with one of these pieces, which meant we needed outside intervention in order to be able to proceed. This was a bit of a shame, but we used the equipment correctly, so our enjoyment wasn’t hampered in any way. The team have gone to great lengths to build a creepy atmosphere, and this was evident throughout the game, which definitely made us feel on edge, but I felt that they straddled the boundary between creepy and scary well. A fantastic game, which I’d highly recommend.

2017 Secret Studio - 18th Aug

Team 1

2018 Secret Studio

Team 2 escape time – 43:31

Score

The quality of this room is brilliant, with fantastic a fantastic design and a story that ran throughout our escape. It contains some jumps, but we all left smiling albeit with slightly elevated heart rates. The puzzles had a good degree of challenge but the main appeal here is the theme and the story, which made it stand out quite a way from the average run of the mill escape.

Difficulty

3.5/5

Overall

4.5/5

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