Breakout – OutBreak

Breakout – OutBreak
Location: Liverpool
Game Date: 12/02/2019
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“A virus has been steadily infecting the population of the United Kingdom, turning them into Zombies. You have not been infected and are on the run from the walking dead. You come across an abandoned shop thinking it would be the perfect place to stock up on water and food only to find out you’re trapped inside when a group of infected souls start banging on the door. You barricade the door and need to look for an alternate escape before the infected horde breaks down the door in 60 minutes!”

A well-decorated room that really looked like an abandoned shop, from the ransacked shelves to the bloodstained and graffitied walls, Breakout have really upped their game with the theming efforts creating an immersive set.
The story was good and continued through the room, with snippets of information delivered that set to develop the zombie-infested world even further.
The room was large, with enough space for the max team of 5, and lighting was atmospheric. It was dark, but we were provided with excellent torches to light the way.
Breakout have really been improving their games and the newer designs have been very good, we hope to see this continue into the future with all the branches new rooms!

Game Play:
A linear game that compromised of searching, observational, logic, math and word puzzles. There was a good mix of puzzles which will ensure that most people will solve something!
The puzzles were all on theme and interesting, with a couple being quite unique. All had great logic behind them and were perfectly solvable on their own.
The flow was good, with the only sticking points being at our own misgivings and we could tell at the time of play that this was the case, with a more observant team, the flow would be smoother. Once at the puzzles, the flow picked up. For us the game played quite sporadically with a burst of puzzle solving then moments of “what is next”
Signposting was as minimal as it could have been, with almost all the connections being left to the player to figure out, of course it was there, but at times it was so so subtle it could easily be missed (This is what makes it a harder game IMHO!)
All in all a fun little game, and definitely one of the better ones at Liverpool’s branch, perfectly pitched for inexperienced players looking to move up a level, yet interesting enough to keep enthusiasts engaged.
Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Danni was our game host and she was great, delivering well timed clues throughout the game.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 51 minutes!

Website: https://breakoutliverpool.com
Price:
Off Peak
2 Players £36
3 Players £45
4 Players £56
5 Players £60

Peak
2 Players £40
3 Players £51
4 Players £64
5 Players £75

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Compendium – The Lab

Compendium – The Lab
Location: Bury
Game Date: 01/02/2019
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“You and your friends have been trusted by your uncle a retired medical professor to find and steal the Laboratory’s well-kept secret remedy needed to cure his wife Isabel. You have been you have been entrusted with all the information you need to gain entry to the lab but no idea how to find the antidote undetected and once inside you find yourselves trapped by the auto lock doors. Do you have what it takes to save a life and escape the lab with the antidote?”

The lab looked great (and the fact that Compendium have built the entire room themselves, in about 3 weeks is amazing) a real feeling of aged sterility and abandoned decay, but not years of it… You could have imagined this to have been a real working  Lab just a short time ago.
The themeing was 360, and nothing had been overlooked, there was enough to look at and digest without going overboard.
The space was large, and lighting was atmospheric and never impacted on game play at all.

Game Play:
An open game, with some nice linear moments at crucial times. Puzzles came in all styles.
Word, math, logic, skill, observation & physical. All bases were covered with plenty of variety and interest in the game.
Content heavy, with lots of puzzles to solve there was never a dull moment!
The centre piece of the game ran right around the room, and was a lot of fun to use, it was nice learning how to “use” it correctly which in turn made the subsequent uses easier, slicker and even more fun!
Each and every puzzle was perfectly logical, with excellent ah-ha moments (one stand out puzzle that came together slowly through the game was excellent, a real meta-puzzle which at the moment it came together was just wonderful)
The flow was excellent, and never stopped moving (seriously, if you’re not solving in this room, you’re doing it wrong) as the majority of the puzzles were quick, solvable fun puzzles which all aided in the bigger picture of that “centre piece”
Signposting was subtle, concise and well thought out, giving enough indication to solve, without handholding or too much steering.
A great room, which will work for any group size and will please most due to the varied and interesting content!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a voice over in the room.

Game Host:
Alex & Jennifer were our game hosts and were fantastic, friendly and welcoming. Alex delivered a great brief, and perfect clues throughout the game. They’re both enthusiasts themselves, and this shines through in the design of the game and they’re brilliant attitude and attentive hosting.

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 53 minutes

Website: https://compendiumbury.co.uk/
2 Players £40
3 Players £54
4 Players £70
5 Players £82.50
6 Players £90

Breakout – Madchester

Breakout – Madchester
Location: Manchester
Game Date: 22/01/2019
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“Zack is a passionate collector of anything Manchester related. As a group of thieves, you wondered in his bedroom and find yourselves trapped. You have 60 minutes to steal Zack’s valuable collectables and escape before he comes back. ”

A HUGE room, Zack really lucked out in his bedroom, as the space is massive and decorated very well, with bold brash murals adorning the walls and all the marks of a Manchester mad teen. The room was well lit.
The theme didn’t go on more than “Manchester” and there wasn’t a great deal of story delivered via the room, think of it a Manchester themed escape room and it hits the spot perfectly. There is plenty of detail in the set dressing, and decoration and a great soundtrack of (loosely) Manchester music that really captured that 1990s Britpop scene.
Not massively immersive, but a good, colourful and loving “Manchester” room!

Game Play:
An open game for the most part, that compromised of searching, observation, logic, maths & word puzzles.
The game, whilst an old, old game (I believe it’s 4 or so years old) was actually refreshing and interesting in its design and this keeps in current and unique.
The game centered around a bank of 25 or so pictures, with all puzzles leading to the deduction of which of these pictures lead to the exit code. This lead to a notion of our steady progress, and deducing those puzzles and eliminating pictures in succession was incredibly satisfying.
The puzzles themselves were logical, and typical “breakout” style. They all had lovely ah-ha moments and several times we were surprised by the execution of the puzzles.
The flow was good, due to the open nature of the room, there is a good amount to bounce around on and it’s highly unlikely you’re going to get burnt out on a specific puzzle.
Signposting was minimal (breakout definitely like you to make each and ever connection yourself) but it WAS there and was just enough to guide to each puzzle.
A room with plenty to do, it could be very overwhelming as a first game so I’d get a bit of experience before attempting Madchester!
Those with experience, take a small team and rise to the challenge!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen.

Game Host:
Hannah was our game host, and we had something in common, she’s from my hometown! Which of course made us instant friends! She gave us a good brief, She was friendly and enthusiastic, and delivered us excellent well-timed hints.

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 52 minutes

Website:
Price:
Monday 10am – Friday 5pm is off-peak. Friday 5pm – Sunday 10pm is peak time.

Off Peak
2 Players £36
3 Players £48
4 Players £60
5 Players £70

Peak
2 Players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £72
5 Players £80

Escape Reality – Tortuga Pirates

Escape Reality – Tortuga Pirates
Location: Manchester
Game Date: 22/01/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
What a MASSIVE step up for Escape Reality. We have come to expect a barely decorated room with some semblance of theme and a few maglocked boxes on the walls.
Tortuga had gone all out, with great theming that captured the feel of a pirate ship very, very well, from starting in the brig to going out onto the deck and beyond, theming was kept at a level that encourages immersion and was very pretty too look at. The room was distinctly lacking a soundtrack and this was made even more obvious when it came on and off throughout our game. A good soundscape would have only served to elevate this room even more.

Game Play:
A linear game that consisted of a good variety of puzzles, from word, codebreaking and physicality to logic and searching.
The puzzles all had nice ah-ha moments but nothing outstanding, they were more often than not typical escape room fayre (and totally solvable with no clues)
The puzzles were all in theme and nicely constructed, with a good amount if interactivity within the room.
The signposting was subtle, and at some points completely lacking, which gave rise to what could become major sticking points throughout the room. That being said, when the game was in motion the flow was good, and fairly clear.
A game that enthusiasts will find light on puzzles, but it is obvious that this game is not designed with enthusiasts in mind. Oh the whole though, it’s an enjoyable game and the slight change in hinting (see below) has certainly improved the playability of this room.
A great game for novice players too.

Clue System:
Hand Held iPad, which you scan the code around the room to give you help on the puzzles. This isn’t the best method of hint delivery, but at least ER Manchester have taken away the time penalties and the scan codes were symbols, not numbers so you couldn’t tell which order to do the room in.

Game Host:
Jamie again was our game host and delivered a thorough brief.

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 39 minutes

Website: https://www.escapereality.com/escape-rooms-uk/manchester/
Price:
2 Players £44
3 Players £60
4 Players £72
5 Players £85
6 Players £96

 

Escape Reality VR

Escape Reality VR
Location: Manchester
Game Date: 22/01/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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We were invited along to the Printworks, by their media rep Sarah, to give Escape Reality’s new VR “Portal” a test drive.
As you may, (or may not know) myself and Ian are big into gaming, so we were incredibly excited to be invited to try some top of the range VR kit, and some games we don’t already have (Ian has a PSVR so we’re comfortable in VR already!)

We arrived to a warm welcome from the staff at Escape Reality, the new lobby is incredible, with a full bar and a cool “backstage” vibe (with the Escape Rooms being movie sets”) Soon Sarah had arrived and our Host, Jamie took us through to the VR “Portal”

The VR is obviously not themed, but is set in a spacious room, which is kept quite dark and there are seats around the side for you and your friends to sit and watch whilst one person plays the VR. This makes it a communal and fun shared experience.

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The VR is state of the art Alienware, NVIDIA RTX 2080 and HTC Vive wireless headset. This is a great choice, as well as delivering excellent graphics the wireless aspect made the VR feel much more free, with the tracking being more than capable and there was no chance of getting all tangled up in erroneous wires (which happened to me at ERIC!)

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The VR experience is entirely dictated by you, with a big catalog of over 30 games (that will expand) there is plenty of choice as to what style of game you want to play.
Some stand out games are “Beat Saber” “Keep talking and nobody explodes” (that one would be fab in a group!) “I expect you to die” and “Arizona Sunshine” – The range of games is vast, from Puzzle to Shooters and everything in between.

The experience lasts 75 mins and there is a full brief before you start so you understand how the VR works, with the headset and controls, then each games’ controls are explained before you start (as each game is slightly different) so you’re always fully prepared for each game!

The experience is unique to you and is basically a VR free-play, I would reccomend if you have VR, to try new games, harder games….ones you don’t have (as clearly to play games you already have would be a waste) – the selection is vast but the game host will be able to guide you in making your decision!

The set up is very slick and professional yet intimate and friendly. It works great as an introduction to VR, a social thing to do with friends (especially with the addition of the bar outside) and a full on hardcore gaming session, if you’re that way inclined.

Whilst it’s not in the same style as the escape room, it will run quite nicely along side, as something a bit different to do!

Website: https://escaperealityvr.com/
Price:
1 Players £34
2 Players £36
3 Players £42
4 Players £52

Escape Hunt – Blackbeard’s Treasure

Escape Hunt – Blackbeard’s Treasure
Location: Liverpool
Game Date: 08/01/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“Step onto a pirate galleon in the middle of a battle for control of the High Seas. Your captain, the terrifying Blackbeard, has just been killed and his ship is shot to pieces and sinking fast.

With no chance of victory, you and your scurvy shipmates decide to jump ship – after helping yourself to the contents of Blackbeard’s legendary treasure chest.

You’ve broken into his cabin to grab all you can, but now the door has jammed shut and you’ve just 60 minutes to escape; any longer and you’ll drown – if the sharks don’t get you first.”

The room looked great, with a lot of detail going into the set, giving a real feeling of immersion. The room was large enough for 6 players, and had a good sense of discovery. Lighting was adequate if not a little dim in places, but this did add to the atmopshere of the game and didn’t impact game play.

Game Play:
A linear game that was quite search heavy in the first part of the game, giving way to some super puzzling later in the game.
Puzzles were varied and included Searching, teamwork, skill, chance, observation, smell, logic and sound.
All the puzzles were very hands on and all came from within the room, nothing was out of place or forced, the puzzles felt like a natural extention of the story and theme.
The puzzles were all logical and fair, with lovely clear ah-ha moments.
The flow was excellent, with us never feeling lost, stuck or slowed down by the room itself, Signposting was good, if not subtle but all within the paramaters of the room and not too much as to spoonfeed or baby-step you through the room.
An excellent game for newbie teams as there is plenty to do without it being utterly overwhelming or brain-busting.
For experienced teams, it is a very good piratey romp with some nice moments and quirky touches!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a microphone in the room.

Game Host:
Jenny was our game host and she was great, friendly yet professional and delivered nudges with perfect timing!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 33 minutes… top of the leaderboard… for now!

Website: https://escapehunt.com/uk/liverpool/
Price:
2 Players £50
3 Players £75
4 Players £80
5 Players £100
6 Players £120

X-It Games – Afterlife

X-It Games – Afterlife
Location: Shipley (Near Bradford)
Game Date: 27/12/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“As a mortal, to enter your afterlife, you must first die.  How you die is your choice but all must enter through the void of transcendence.

Only the brave will follow the light, crawl out of the grave and go to hell and back. Logical thinking and teamwork is what you need to ensure that when your hour is up your name is found in the Book of life.

Will you escape and be granted your life back, or will you be left to wander the afterlife for eternity?”

Afterlife looked great, from the understated beginning we were treated to a immersive reveal that led to a room that could have been from the set of Beetlejuice! Fully themed and with great attention to detail, whether in the graveyard, hell or others… each area had its surprises and was delightful in its theming and distinct styles. A creepy soundtrack with humourus interjections from the devil himself set a dark-humoured tone to the game.
This room is not massive, but the main area is more than big enough to fit 5 players in, and all parts of the game can eventually be observed from the main area, so no worries there!
The beginning of the game is very dark, eventually this gives way to well lit, but ambient lighting later in the game. Excellent choices that only serve to tell the story perfectly.
A very, very well designed and excecuted set and the level of detail is stunning!

Game Play:
A game that weaved beautifully from linear to open and back again, with  almost every puzzle type imaginable… Logic, word, riddles, sound, observation, maths, skill, dexteritity, searching, critical thinking, outside the box thinking… I could go on and on. The range of puzzles was excellent and always kept us on our toes, and I even enjoyed the jigsaw!
Each and every puzzle was clear and concise in its logic, which ultimatley led to many a great “ah-ha” moment throughout the game. There was only one puzzle which felt a little clunky in its ambiguity, but with a handy failsafe to clarify things,  X-it have it covered that they will never let frustration set in! That being said, it was a lovely, well excecuted puzzle that some teams will certainly acheive easily and requires great logic and teamwork skills.
The flow of the room was superb, with the main section being open it was nice to be able to bounce around and work on different things and chop and change tactics, we never once got stuck or confounded on a puzzle. A game which was just a delight to play.
Signposting was clear and never left us in the dark this just added to the logical smooth nature of the game and made for a chilled experience in the room!
A really great game that just has masses of excellent quality content, which is as pleasing asthetically as it is cerebral.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Clare was our game host (ably assisted by Mitch) and her hosting was great, sending us clues at precise times, and never letting us get frustrated. She is clearly very passionate about escaping, having played quite a few, this passion flows through into her game.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 53 Minutes!

Website: https://x-itgames.co.uk/
Price:
3 Players £60
4 Players £76
5 Players £90

Enigma Rooms – Seance

Enigma Rooms – Seance
Location: Wakefield
Game Date: 27/12/2018
Team: Amy & Ian
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Theme:
“Tabitha was a sickly child, but her mother would do anything to protect her, anything to save her but the deal she made did not work out as planned and now Tabitha is lost.”

Seance looks great, and the atmosphere created is perfect, from the moment the pre-game story is told to the moment we escaped the world was truely realised in an 100% immersive environment.
The story is detailed and continues through the game and puzzles. This IS a scary room and you can expect plenty of creepy interactions, scares and surprises! It is just the right amount of scary and that serves to push the story on but never impedes on puzzle solving.
The room is dimly lit, and has moments of darkness. But there was always enough mood lighting for us to see what we were doing.
The room was plenty large enough for the max number of players!

Game Play:
A linear game that consisted of some really smart puzzles that were all perfectly in keeping with the theme of the room, and only served to delve deeper into the world of Tabitha.
Logic, word, physical, team work and some light satanic ritual were what made up Seance and the puzzles did not disappoint.
Each and every puzzle was delightful and excellent in their logic, with lovely clear ah-ha moments and brilliant interactivity within the room.
The flow was wonderful and the scares came at perfect timing, never when we were solving but in the times when we were in between puzzles, and even used to great effect for signposting!
The signposting in the game was excellent, subtle yet clear and never imposing.
There was an excellent moment of team work to conclude the game and this was again, perfectly in theme with the game.
This is a game that is mostly an experience, with task-based puzzles that further the story, add to that some GREAT scares (my disappearing coke bottle was a highlight) it all combined to give a realistic, immersive journey. An incredibly enjoyable game that is one to really be experienced and one to throw yourself into wholeheartedly!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen in the room

Game Host:
Keiran was our game host and provided us with an excellent scary experience delivering scares and hints with perfect timing.

Did we escape?
Yes, in around 45 minutes

Website:
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £51
4 Players £64
5 Players £70
6 Players £78

Enigma Rooms – Christmas Catasrophe

Enigma Rooms – Christmas Catastrophe
Location: Wakefield
Game Date: 27/12/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

xmasUnfortunately Christmas Catastrophe won’t be around for ever, as it’s a seasonal room but it’s still bookable for the time being so go play before it goes!

Theme:
“It’s Christmas Eve and Santa has gone home to sit by the fire after a busy night and switched his phone off.

The Elves are in a panic as Santa has missed one family off his list, Christmas is ruined unless you can deliver the right presents before Christmas morning.”

A beautiful and charming room that captured the Christmas spirit perfectly, whilst not being gaudy or tacky! A lovely christmas soundtrack set the tone and compliment the setting.
The room has a lovely sense of wonder and exploration and used the space really nicely. The room was well lit and spacious enough for the max team size of 5

Game Play:
A lovely linear game that was perfectly pitched to a family market, with accessible puzzles of every type. Logic, word, math, observation, physical, skill.
A game that is flawless in it’s logic which makes its charm and accessability even better.
Each and every puzzle was solveable and had lovely ah-ha moments and there were plently of puzzles that children would really enjoy and get their teeth into.
Even as adults we really enjoyed the clarity in the puzzles.
The flow was excellent and the sense of exploration and wonder was never ending, continuing to the very last moments of the game.
The story was compassionate and continued through the game, weaved through the puzzles which were all perfectly in theme.
A lovely room, which I hope returns next christmas so more families can enjoy it!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via sending a message via “messenger” to your elfy friends!

Game Host:
Keiran was our game host and was a great game host, friendly and welcoming! He clearly has a passion for escaping!

Did we escape?
Yes! In about 24 minutes (in a 45 min room)

Website: https://enigmarooms.co.uk/wakefield/
Price:
2 Players £30
3 Players £39
4 Players £48
5 Players £55

The Escaporium – Crux Codecillus

The Escaporium – Crux Codecillus
Location: Halifax
Game Date: 27/12/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“Every member of The Illuminati has gathered for its Annual General Meeting. Locked away in the Board Room, the higher order had just wrapped up the meeting when the lights suddenly dropped, and one of them killed the King of the Illuminati, otherwise known as Plato!

As junior members of The Illuminati, you and your team will have to gather any evidence from within the Board Room to find out who the killer was, how he or she did it, and where they have scarpered to! However, there may be a sting in the tail of this case which means you will need to be out within the hour, or it will be curtains for everybody!”

The room looked great, with an impressive set that was befitting of being the board room. Very immersive, with plenty to look at and admire. There was plenty of attention to detail and quality in the set design and this continued right through to the end of the game.
A large space, which is more than big enough for the max amount of players. Well lit and with plenty of space to sit down and get the weight off your feet if needed!
A beautiful game that is perfectly themed and incredibly classy.

Game Play:
A linear game with some open moments, compromising of a good mix of puzzles. Logic, observation, word, physical, searching. The game leans towards logic and word, however, with some great puzzles that will really whet your whistle if you’re that way inclined!
Each and every puzzle was excellent in its logic, with no ambiguity at all and truely brilliant ah-ha moments, and with the speed that puzzles are delivered, these ah-ha moments come thick and fast.
The flow was second to none, and the game kept moving fluidly and smoothly until the moment we unlocked the exit door.
There were some excellent and very unique puzzles in the room, along side some well-tested standards (but even these were turned on their head and used in a unique way!)
The signposting in the room as perfect, whist not being intrusive or handholding it gave just enough to guide and leave you to make your own connections within the game.
A great, skillfully designed game, with enough to keep both large teams and smaller teams working and entertained.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Angela was our host and was perfect from the moment we stepped through the doors, a true enthusiast herself with over 150 games under her belt, she was friendly and welcoming! She delivered clues with precision timing, whilst still allowing us ample time to solve puzzles on our own.

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 55 minutes or so!

Website: https://www.theescaporium.com/
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £54
4 Players £68
5 Players £80
6 Players £90