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

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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

 

 

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Enigma Quests, London

Enigma Quests – School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

From https://enigmaquests.london/

Ever wanted to have magical abilities? You now have a chance to graduate from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and prove everyone that you are a true witch or wizard!

This is not an easy task, and will require you to be focused as never before. Your team will face obstacles and tests requiring cooperation and some bravery. Remember, every minute counts!

On your quest to becoming a witch or wizard, you will learn new skills and gain knowledge to help you pass all exams and defeat the dark forces. Are you ready for the challenge?

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Team 1 – Ni, Rachel, Ben, Martin, Fiona

Played – September 2016

Team 2 – Ster, Simon, Stu, Ros

Played – 15/2/17

(Reviewed by Ster)

Enigma Quests

Enigma Quest isn’t housed in the prettiest of buildings, but they have a great waiting area with puzzles and table football to keep you entertained while you wait and there’s plenty of space for multiple teams to be hanging out there together without getting in each other’s way.

The Room

This room focused heavily on the theme. The room is brilliantly decorated and there was even a sand timer instead of a countdown clock, which I’ll admit was actually quite frustrating as we couldn’t accurately tell how much time had passed, but it added nicely to the wizard school atmosphere. There were robes in a corner of the room to allow wizard fans to really get into character and the premise of trying to pass different wizarding exams was a fun one.

We had 6 exams to complete, all in keeping with the wizard school theme with some wand work required for our charms exam and a dark cauldron bubbling away in the corner for our potions exam. I’ll admit that I didn’t take part in the defense against the dark arts exam and I’ll warn any arachnophobes now, it was because of the large model spider that I refused to go anywhere near!

At the completion of each exam we received a token of our success and once we had 6 tokens we had graduated from magic school. The story was great, and for fans of theme this room is a great experience. As slightly more experienced escapists though, the room did feel a little empty. 6 exams means 6 main puzzles and there were points where I felt that there wasn’t really a lot for me to do.

That being said, the fact that we were completing 6 different exams meant that we had a wide variety of puzzles to solve as each exam was on a different subject. There were quite a few search and find type puzzles, which I think suit the beginner escapee rather than a more experienced player, we rattled through it without any major hiccups.

Simon – The theming here was very well done, although there were a few props which were looking a bit worse for wear – always the downside of using paper items. The ‘lessons’ concept was executed well and added a good amount of variety to the room, however none of the puzzles felt particularly special or challenging. Not a bad room at all, however not one that’s going to live on as ‘one of the greats’. Worth going to, if you’re a fan of the theme though.

Stuart – Theming of the room was good but as I am not a big ‘Wizard and Witchcraft’ fan it was a little lost on me. The puzzles and lessons were a good way to make the room a little more unique. Unfortunately, once you have done a large number of rooms this one will become forgettable. If you are new to escape rooms or like the obvious ‘Wizard and Witchcraft’ film you will probably enjoy this a little more.

2016 Enigma Quest

2017 Enigma Quests - 15th Feb

Score

This would be a great room for beginners who enjoy the theme. The costumes, the exams and the experience of being a trainee wizard are all great fun! The puzzles themselves don’t really test an experienced player enough to make the room feel particularly challenging, so I think that the theme is the big draw here and it is implemented very well!

Difficulty

2/5

Overall

3/5

clueQuest, London

ClueQuest – Revenge of the Sheep

From https://cluequest.co.uk/

Professor BlackSheep is back again to destroy mankind as we know it by turning us all into sheep! And this time he is not alone – he’s got an evil side-kick and together they have built a dangerous device: the SheepMutator.

Mr Q believes that the new technology used by the Professor poses a serious threat: by mutating the human genome, the SheepMutator can turn anyone who is in the range on its evil rays into a placid sheep! To make matters worse, the Professor has managed to set up several such devices in key locations around the planet – one of them having been set up right here, in London.

Agents, you will have 60 Minutes to locate and find a way to deactivate these devices before they go online and it’s too late for mankind!

sheep

Teams

Team 1 – Simon, Stu, Mark, Jackie

Team 2 – Ster, Ni, Lizzie, Jamie

Played – 2/7/16

(Reviewed by Ster)

ClueQuest

I’ll be honest, ClueQuest is one of our favourite companies as a team. The rooms are always fun with a good degree of challenge and the hosts are always welcoming and friendly. Members of our team completed this room on two different occasions and everyone that went thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The Room

This is advertised as being the hardest room at ClueQuest and the level of challenge really did step up from our previous two plays here! There are fewer padlocks in this room, it’s a lot more technological with a few automated elements that were really fun to work out.

The puzzle type set up the room for fairly linear game play, something that worked particularly well with our second team which included members who were playing their first ever room – possibly not the best choice to start on but it still went fairly well! The puzzles all built up to a pretty impressive finale and while I don’t usually enjoy linear rooms, it really felt as if we were working towards something the entire time that we were in there which made the experience very enjoyable rather than restrictive, as linear games can sometimes feel.

There was some interesting use of augmented reality at one point in this room, which got a little frustrating but was also good fun and something that I haven’t experienced before. The technological puzzles continued with the use of a tablet which worked flawlessly – something that I am very impressed with because in most other rooms I’ve played that have relied on technology, the technology has broken at least once!

It was a challenge, but it was a really fun challenge! The atmosphere of the room was great and I really enjoyed how different it was from the other ClueQuest rooms with a selection of puzzles that were completely different and required a different way of thinking.

Ni – A nice variety of puzzles and great use of tech as well. Definitely felt as though my brain was having to work quite hard, but a very fun challenge, which ClueQuest always manage to provide.

Simon – Another great room from ClueQuest! This was the first of their games that I played at their Kings Cross location, and it was evident how much effort went in to the theming of the room compared to their previous location. The room itself is relatively small, but there are so many things to do in here that you’re always busy. It’s definitely one of the harder rooms I’ve played, but the puzzles all seemed well constructed and logical. A highly enjoyable game!

Stuart – One thing you can guarantee with ClueQuest is a good and challenging room – this was no different for this game. Good storyline, good puzzles and all round a solid escape room. Very enjoyable!

revenge of the sheep

Score

This room was great fun. The theming was brilliant and linear structure of the puzzles really enhanced that. The puzzles were great quality and there was a lot to get done, both teams escaped, but neither had much time left on the clock!

Difficulty

4/5

Overall

4/5

clueQuest, London

ClueQuest – Origenes

From https://cluequest.co.uk/

Professor BlackSheep seeks to recreate the original genetical experiment that turned him into a sheep. He has launched a cyber attack on our old mainframe in the hope of extracting secret data, along with the genetical research he’s missing.

In order to stop the Professor from breaching our firewall, you and your team will have to access Mr Q’s old base. The only way in, however, is to shrink down to the size of a mouse with the help of the Shrink’o’Mat.

Word of caution, agents: the technology you’ll be exposed to is…a bit unstable and still experimental. You’ll have only 60 minutes to counteract the cyber attack and secure the mainframe before the Shrink’o’Mat’s effect wears off and things get messy.

index

Team – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 29/9/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

ClueQuest

This visit to ClueQuest was a little different to our previous visits as we were playing this room as part of a competition and therefore played the room before it officially opened. There were 20 teams in the competition, all having won the chance to tackle Origenes by achieving a time in the top 5 for one of the other ClueQuest games over a month long period. Our team had already completed all of the ClueQuest missions, so we won entry by playing the outdoor mission that ClueQuest put on to allow teams in a similar position to have a chance at winning entry too, we were really grateful that ClueQuest put on the outdoor mission as we were very excited to have a go at Origenes!

On arrival, we were shown to the ClueQuest conference room to wait while the previous team completed their mission and we spent some time discussing the other ClueQuest missions that we had played. It was a very different experience to previous visits, particularly being interviewed before and after playing (I don’t think any of us managed to come off as particularly charismatic on camera and we struggled to think of anything interesting to say for quite a few of the questions – sorry to anyone who ends up watching those videos!) but it was very exciting to be getting a sneak preview! Our hosts were friendly and welcoming and we really enjoyed discussing Origenes and the other ClueQuest missions with them.

The Room

The first part of this room requires quite a bit of teamwork and I think involved a fair amount of, maybe not shouting, but possibly talking more loudly than usual as we worked out what was going on. I really enjoyed the first puzzle, it was different and frustrating but in an entertaining way rather than in a way that annoyed anyone. I didn’t think that it was overly complicated to work out but the solution required a bit of time and teamwork to complete, which was a great start to the room with everyone working together on one puzzle.

Once the first hurdle had been overcome, the real work began. Or, possibly not quite as we kept getting stuck! One aspect of this play that made our experience quite unique is that, due to it being a competition, we weren’t allowed any clues that would give us an advantage over other teams, this meant that when we got stuck, we really got stuck! We kept obsessing over a detail that meant absolutely nothing and spent a good long while just staring at each other not being able to work out what came next. In any other play of this game, one pretty simple clue would have pointed us in the right direction, but in our situation I think that we came the closest we have ever come to actually arguing during an escape as we were getting so frustrated!

That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy the puzzle, we were just really quite slow on the uptake! This room has some really interesting puzzles to work through that we all enjoyed getting stuck into, including a few things that we’ve never seen before and really impressed us. There were quite a few puzzles that required a high level of teamwork, something that we always enjoy in an escape.

This is a fairly linear room, so most of the time we were all focussed on one puzzle, which had both positives and negatives. There was one puzzle in particular that ended up taking all of our brainpower to solve, as we sat on the floor disagreeing on how best to describe a variety of strange symbols. That really highlighted the different ways in which we think and would probably have been easier if we’d actually been working in pairs as we would have understood each other better!

The theming and story of this room is great, I loved the way that the room has been decorated and the ways that the puzzles related to the story were brilliant. The final puzzle was quite frustrating, but once we’d worked out which team member was best suited for which role, we managed to solve it without too much difficultly after a pretty rocky start. It also fit really well with the theme, even though we were panicking at that point as we were running out of time!

Ni – I thought this was a great looking game as well as being a lot of fun to play. It’s definitely one of the harder rooms I’ve done and does require a lot of team work. The variety of puzzles – especially the physical aspects, were well thought out and very enjoyable.

Simon – It’s clear on entering the room that so much effort has gone into the scenery and setting, and this definitely pays off. There are some really clever uses of different props and items related to your size and this puts a unique spin on this game. The puzzles themselves were definitely difficult, so I wouldn’t recommend this game for first-timers. Generally there was a great variety of puzzles and these were enjoyable to solve, however two puzzles meant that I couldn’t give this room the 5 out of 5 that it almost deserves: One puzzle felt very much like a copy of another in the room. The other was great for the first time, but it required three ‘rounds’ and just felt a bit samey. Having said that, this was a fantastic room and I would highly recommend it.

Stu – Once again, another classic escape room from ClueQuest. As mentioned in the review we did this as part of the competition and therefore we weren’t able to have any clues. This did add a different element to the experience but unfortunately also a lot of frustration. The room was brilliantly themed and the puzzles were extremely challenging at times. I’m not sure it was my personal favourite of all the ClueQuest games but it was definitely a game that ranks highly overall.

IMG_0979

Escape time – 60:17 (Extra time was allowed for more accurate ranking of teams)

Score

This room was just great fun! The theme and the story were brilliant and the puzzles were enjoyable and challenging. I’d say it’s the hardest of ClueQuest’s rooms but probably my favourite due to the design and the variety of really interesting puzzles.

Difficulty

5/5

Overall

4/5

Adventox, London

Adventox – Escape From Alcatraz

From https://www.adventox.com/

Frisco, 1962. It feels like you have been locked up here forever, in Alcatraz, the most notorious of all maximum-security prisons. Never has anyone escaped from this prison alive. But with all preperations in place, tonight might be your chance. But beware: An opportunity does not automatically lead to success. Out in the bay, the tide is murderous and the sharks are hungry. You have to avoid the guards and keep a clear head to make your escape attempt a success.

Adventox.png

Team – Simon, Stu, Mark Jackie

Played – 29/5/17

(Reviewed by Simon)

Adventox

This is an interesting location for a game as it’s inside a shopping centre just opposite Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. The venue has plenty of room for waiting teams and the hosts were welcoming when we arrived. One thing that the staff were particularly good at was setting the scene – they built up the game and the scenario, escaping from Alcatraz, pretty well. Even to the extent of warning us that we should be careful as we escape – don’t let the guards catch us. This really elevated the tension of the game and kept us quite on edge when the staff would come and rattle the door!

The Room

This room started in a way that I always quite like – your team is separated into two and put into different cells. Although this can sometimes mean that one group has nothing to do whilst the others solve part of the game, it seemed to work fairly well in this game – both groups were kept busy for the majority of the time before escaping. The puzzles were fairly well done, making sense in a real world situation, which played to the strengths of our team fairly well.

Once we had escaped, the room opened up more, leading to our escape from the island. This was definitely the more difficult part of the room, requiring much more of a mental approach compared to the beginning of the game. I felt that this added interesting variety to the room, although it wasn’t to the taste of some of the members of the team.

We managed to escape, and our method of escape was a pleasant twist at the end of an interesting game.

Stuart – This was overall a good game, with challenging moments. The start was very original and made things interesting for sure and the way the atmosphere was created really made it feel like we were trying to escape. I would highly recommend this room and look forward to doing more games with Adventox.

Score

Overall, this was definitely a tense game and this tension added to my enjoyment of the room. The room was a good challenge and was themed well. There were some brain-burning bits towards the end of the game, by which point some of our team were flagging, but I don’t think it hurt the gameplay of the room.

Difficulty

4/5

Overall

4/5

 

Escape rooms, London

Escape Rooms – Project D.I.V.A

From http://www.escaperooms.co.uk/angel.html

The Year is 2038 and our civilisation is slowly conquering the solar system. The use of Artificial Intelligence is essential in paving our path to other planets and has even enabled us to begin terraforming Mars.

However a few nights ago ER-27, one of our defence and research stations that is orbiting Mars, went totally silent. D.I.V.A (Defence Interactive Virtual Assistant) the stations A.I. sent us a cryptic message with depictions of death and soon after the station started falling into lower orbit. If it keeps descending at this rate it will impact the surface, destroying all our our research and the station itself, both of which are vital to our future colonisation efforts, we cannot afford to lose them.

As our finest agents, we are sending you on a mission to intercept ER-27, get on board and destroy D.I.V.A and regain control of the station. You will need to infiltrate her core and remove her 4 hard drives to disable her then use them to reboot the system. The future of humanity depends on you.

Are you Ready?

Project_DIVA

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 14/8/17

(Reviewed by Ster)

Escape Rooms

This was our first visit to Escape Room’s Angel location and it was fairly easy to find. There was plenty of waiting space for two separate teams, though we were the only team there when we arrived.

The Room

The room was brilliantly themed and pretty big, which was fun as we started to explore and move through the space. There is a lot of information for this game given over an electronic device which is used to scan QR codes to access more information. While I really like the idea of this and it seems a great way to both find and store details throughout the game, the devices were slow which led to a lot of frustration and we seemed to get one piece of information far ahead of time which slowed us down as we tried to use something that hadn’t actually come into play yet.

The first puzzles in this room were good fun, the room was pretty dark and there was a lot of peering into the gloom trying to search for the puzzles we needed to complete next, which set up the rogue AI taking control of the ship theme quite nicely.

The middle section of the game was very different. 2 members of the team have to enter a different section of the room and solve puzzles by themselves there, which left 2 people just standing around waiting for them. Following that, there was a large puzzle that only really needed one person to complete. While I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the puzzles I felt like there could have been a few extra little things going on the keep the rest of the team occupied, especially as those involved in solving these aspects of the game seemed to really enjoy them.

The final section of the room was a little underwhelming to be honest, but there was some really nice theming at the end which did a great job of wrapping up the story.

Ni – Having done the London Bridge rooms, I was quite surprised that this room had very few puzzles to solve, and at quite a few points most of the team were watching just one person complete a physical puzzle. There were some good puzzles at the start, but I felt they faded away to an impressive set without much to do. That being said, it was definitely memorable!

Simon – I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek, so a game on a space station was something I was definitely looking forward to. The game is constructed really well and uses the space of the room in a clever way. The darkness of the room was slightly frustrating, but it did fit the theme well. The gameplay was interesting and the part where we were split up did feel interesting. While I did enjoy the game and the gameplay, the downsides of this room were the iPod Touch that we were given, which wasn’t as responsive as it could have been and did slow us down; and the music in the background, which was quite loud and made it more difficult to communicate as a team! Not a bad game though, with great use of scenery and technology.

Photo 14-08-2017, 5 17 44 pm_preview

Score

This room was definitely different and had some very interesting elements to it, but it didn’t quite live up to the quality of Escape Room’s other games at the London Bridge location. There was some frustrating elements and the handheld devices seemed to slow the experience down rather than enhance it. That being said, this is the perfect room for players who enjoy a more physical type of puzzle.

Difficulty

3/5

Overall

2.5/5

Escape rooms, London

Escape Rooms – Dark side of the moon

From http://www.escaperooms.co.uk/angel.html

In the 1960’s both the USSR and the USA made groundbreaking discoveries on their famous lunar missions. The Americans were the first to step foot on the Moon and the Russians Luna 3 space probe captured and released the first photographs ever taken of the Moon.

However both the Soviet and US governments kept some dark secrets from their missions. Declassified images revealed human activity on the dark side of the moon – the wreckage of a secret Nazi base. Since this new information came to light our own lunar telescopes have monitored the site and shown no activity…… until now. A few days ago, at an abandoned radio station in Berlin, we intercepted a cipher message which was traced back to the secret moon base. It read only one word, “bereit” meaning “ready”.

So today you, as our brightest agents, will ascend to the Moon. You need to find the enemy base and destroy what is left of it and anyone you find there. Our intelligence suggests an attack is imminent, you must complete your mission before time runs out.

Dark_side_of_the_moon

Team- Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 14/8/17

(Reviewed by Ster)

Escape Rooms

Escape Room’s London Bridge location has two fantastic games that we really enjoyed playing, so we were excited to get going at their new location. The hosts were welcoming and there was plenty of space to sit and grab a drink before our game began.

The Room

Dark Side of the Moon has a unique theming, with the mission being to infiltrate a secret Nazi base hidden away in space. The first section of the room does really well in highlighting this theme and setting up the premise, but the immersiveness fell away a bit as we played as the story didn’t really progress and the décor became quite generic as we continued.

This was a very different game to other escape experiences that we’ve played before. There was a fair amount of running and some puzzles that required a good degree of movement, which could be a barrier for some players. That being said, once we became accustomed to the style of game play, I really enjoyed searching for where we would be going next and the anticipation of what we would discover. The space felt so big, due to the truly impressive layout, and I really enjoyed exploring so many different areas as we progressed through the game.

As an escape room experience, this felt a bit more like a story led game of laser tag that an actual escape! There weren’t many puzzles to solve and those that we did encounter weren’t overly taxing. That being said, we were in no way bored or left without anything to do due to the lack of puzzles, it was just a very different experience.

The finale was an interesting end to the game but to be honest, we were mainly confused and one member of our team was left bleeding and we had to detour to find some first aid supplies on our way home!

Ni – This was definitely not a traditional room escape, there were very few puzzles and instead a lot of running around to new areas. I did enjoy always being surprised at what was round the next corner, but did miss having to use my brain to get out. It was enjoyable, but not a favourite.

Simon – The premise of this game is definitely an interesting one, although fairly implausible. Like the other game on this site, the space is used really well in here and this definitely feels like an adventure. While there were puzzle elements in this room, the focus tended to be more on the physical and running aspects. This is an incredibly well themed room with impressive moments, however, like the other game on this site, it suffers from the mobile devices not being as responsive as they could be and background soundtrack sometimes being too loud. A very different game, but still enjoyable.

Dark side of the moon 14 July 2017

Score

This was great fun, mainly due to the fact that it was such a unique experience! As I ran through the game I found myself constantly amazed by how well the space had been utilised to make the room feel absolutely massive. The games at Escape Room’s Angel location focus a lot more on technology and this room is more like a live action video game than an escape. If that had been what we were expecting when we started then I think we would have enjoyed the experience a lot more as it was really good fun, but as a team that turned up looking to solve puzzles and really get our brains working, we did leave feeling a little underwhelemed.

Difficulty

2/5

Overall

3/5

Escape London, London

Escape London –Witchcraft and Wizardry

From escape-london.co.uk

With wands in hands, potions poised and spells spoken; find ways to crack codes and decipher puzzles and within 60 minutes and pass the final test of the school year.

Will you be a graduate of the World of Wizardry?

escape+rooms+london+(10)

Team  – Ster, Ni, Simon, Stu

Played – 7/7/18

(Reviewed by Ster)

Escape London

We played this room immediately after Escape the Seven Seas and the hosts were great! I think we were out of the first room and into this room in less than five minutes even though it wasn’t yet our allocated start time. And within those five minutes we managed to take pictures with props and also grab a drink!

The Room

As with Escape the Seven Seas, the theming of this room was fantastic! I think it looked the most impressive out of all of the wizardry school themed games that I’ve played and it was definitely the most enjoyable.

There was a lot to do in this room and also a bit of going back on ourselves for some solutions, which I think could trip up some inexperienced players but which we really enjoyed. I think it’s one of the very few rooms that I’ve played where, whenever we got stuck on a puzzle, someone always had an idea of where to look for an alternative solution – even if it wasn’t right!

It was more brightly lit than the other room that we played at Escape London, but we still needed to do a bit of lantern passing to ensure that we could see everything that we needed clearly! The puzzles were varied and I really enjoyed the range of little tricks and puzzles that the solutions were hidden in, it really made us think outside the box as we were playing.

There was plenty for everyone to do in this room, particularly in the first section, and the variety of puzzles and solutions made it a really enjoyable experience.

Stu – Before going into this room I was sceptical as I am not the biggest ‘Wizard’ fan so my magical knowledge isn’t that great. This didn’t factor in to taking part in this game or the enjoyment from this game. Challenging puzzles and good theming allowed us to really enjoy this game and we completely become immersed in what we were doing.

Ni – Great theming in this room, and not too wrapped around the world’s most famous wizarding school, so it felt as though anyone could get immersed without needing outside wizarding knowledge. I enjoyed that our first solutions were rarely the right ones, which kept us on our toes looking for different ways to solve thing. Very enjoyable.

Simon – I have to admit to being a bit sceptical at ‘Witchcraft and Wizardry’ themed rooms, because they have to be very careful with some of the language they use. The puzzles in this game were interesting, and generally we were kept busy in here. An interesting room with something for everyone.

2018 Escape London (1)

Escape time – 30:00

Score

We got out of this room fairly quickly, beating the previous record by about 8 minutes but it never felt easy or simple. There was a lot to do and I felt busy for most of the time that we were in there. I’d definitely say that this is the best school of wizardry themed game that I’ve played, there was plenty to keep an escape room enthusiast occupied as well as including a lot for fans of the wizard school genre.

Difficulty

3/5

Overall

3.5/5