Lockdown Escape – Asylum

Lockdown Escape – Asylum. Game Date 08/05/2018. Team: Amy, Ian & Michael

asylum

Theme:
“You are TRAPPED in a MENTAL ASYLUM trying to prove your sanity and challenge your mind to outwit DR DEATH and escape before he straps you to his surgical table for experiments…”

Asylum puts you in what appears to be an abandoned mental asylum, theming was good if not a little bare, but this fitted the theme well. It was quite dim, and creepy but again this wasn’t used to make the game harder, it was used for effect & torches are provided. The immersion was OK, with a good soundscape to compliment the room.
The space was overall large, yet split up into different sections that constricted the space somewhat.
A nicely done room that gives the feeling of being in situ. I can imagine younger or more nervous guests getting a couple of frights in this room.

Game Play:
A strictly linear game that compromised mainly of observational puzzles, with a small amount of searching & maths. The puzzles all led to 4 digit lock, yet there was never an abundance of locks to try codes on.
The puzzles were nice, it’s billed as Lockdown’s easiest room and it was slightly easier than Lost Souls and Death Row. There wasn’t masses of ambiguity in the puzzles, yet we did get a couple of different answers to a couple of the puzzles from solving them in a different way than was intended.
The flow was good, simple but good. There were no massive logic leaps, a couple of small ones, but this could maybe be described as having to look at things in a different way to how we initially thought.
Even though there wasn’t a great deal of signposting, there was enough to keep us moving forward throughout the game
A good game for less experienced players, enthusiasts may find this one a little on the easy side.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a mobile phone

Game Host:
Craig was our game host and as usual was chatty, friendly and ran our game well. Delivering hints and nudges exactly when we needed them

Did we escape?
Yes, in 43 minutes! (we were in no rush!)

Website: http://www.lockdownescapeeg.co.uk/
Price:
2 players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £72
5 Players £85
6 Players £96

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Breakout Manchester – Infiltrate

Breakout Manchester – Infiltrate. Game Date: 08/05/2018. Team: Amy, Ian & Michael

infiltrate

Theme:
“One of your friends has been wrongfully imprisoned, can you infiltrate the prison and help them break free? You have one hour before the warden comes back off his lunch break. Find his swipe card and escape or you will all be incarcerated”

A simple story, backed up by simple decor, there was nothing outstanding in this room, but it was finished to a good standard. Prison’s are never the most “eye candy” of themes and this was a good example of a well finished yet simple room.
The room was more than large enough to accommodate the maximum number and the light was excellent due to the large window to the outside world (i’m not sure whether I like this or not)

Game Play:
A fairly linear game with a split start, with one member of the team being Handcuffed, but don’t worry, you can still see and communicate with each other freely.
Puzzles were varied, logic, observation, maths, searching and code breaking making a nice mix.
Puzzles were surprisingly logical, and save for a couple of red herrings, the game flowed well, with pacey moments.
Signposting wasn’t 100% clear, and you were left to you’re own devices to make the connections, which were logical but sometimes quite unrelated in terms of bringing a puzzle together. That being said, once you made those connections, the Ah-ha moments were nice and fulfilling.
A classic game that scratches the itch, and would be a very good first room. Not much more to say as there was nothing that wowed us, yet nothing that was frustrating or foreboding. (Apart from those few, unneeded red herrings)
It is a 2 star on Breakout’s scale, which means it’s one of their easier games… and I think this is somewhat true, it’s comparable to The Heist at Liverpool in terms of difficulty. But then, difficulty is truly subjective!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Jess M was our game host and she was wonderful, chatty, friendly and clearly enjoys playing escape rooms! She ran our game with precision only nudging us when we really needed it (i.e. search fails…) Excellent Game hosting!

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 44 minutes! (we had either 16 or 19 minutes remaining so I’m airing on the side of caution!)

Website: https://breakoutmanchester.com
Price:
OFF PEAK/PEAK
2 Players £36.00/£40.00
3 Players £48.00/£54.00
4 Players £60.00/£68.00 
5 Players £70.00/£80.00 

 

Exit The Room: Murder

Exit The Room: Murder. Game Date: 26/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“In this part of the world, Spooky Town is not mentioned on any of the well-known travel sites. The one and only hotel is not only run-down and shabby but has become infamous over the last few months as many of its guests have disappeared without a trace. As unsolved cases continue to pile up at the police station, the locals whisper rumours of possible murders at the hotel. So far no bodies have been found and until they are no investigation will take place. Your mission is to enter Room Number 9 where the murders are rumoured to have taken place. This is your most important case yet. Your team has one mission: Explore and expose the secrets of Room Number 9.”

A large, sparsely decorated room that didn’t scream “hotel” as you delve further into the room theme got darker (figuratively and literally) and the space got smaller and tighter.
Theme was cleanly done, with no red- herrings but there was a lot of empty, bare space.
The room was big enough to accommodate the max group. There was little immersion.

Game Play:
A strictly linear game with mostly logic based puzzles, observation, searching and busy work.
The puzzles ranged from simple to having massive logic leaps with ambiguity that could possibly make your head hurt.
The puzzles were loosely on theme (as loose as possible) and were very “puzzle for puzzle’s sake” and there was little story development throughout.
A couple of the puzzles would have been a lot better had they not been such a “process” puzzle, doing the same thing fairly long winded mechanic over and over for each digit of a code…
The ah-ha moments were there for a few puzzles, and when they happened they were good!
The flow was sticky, as is the problem with linear games, when you hit a block there is nowhere else to turn, short bursts of activity compounded with long times of head banging.
This room will surely suit some teams, more brains to spot the logic leaps… we sure would have benefited from an extra brain or 2!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a walkie talkie, and you have to ask (which I am NOT a fan of!)
We did have a problem with the Walkie fading in and out a lot so couldn’t hear hints sometimes.

Game Host:
Jessica was our game host and was fantastic, for it being her 2nd shift, she was great! friendly, cheery and always on hand when we asked for hints. She was astute and obviously has an interest in escape games and the groups that she hosts.

Did we escape?
Yes, with less than a minute to go, it was a close one!

Website: http://www.exittheroom.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £39
3 Players £54
4 Players £68
5 Players £79
6 Players £89

Co-Decode – Professor Dunstan and the Search for the Ancient Statuette

Co-Decode – Professor Dunstan and the Search for the Ancient Statuette. Game Date – 19/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian
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Theme:
“Despite travelling the world over to lead excavations, Oldervik usually finds time to keep in touch. However, it is has been almost six months since you received his last letter.

Strangely, after enquiring at the Ministry it appears that nobody knows of Oldervik’s current whereabouts. All you can find out is that he had been tasked with locating and excavating the tomb of an ancient ruler. According to legend, the burial chamber contains priceless artefacts including a mysterious statuette, which the Ministry is keen to acquire.

When a letter from Oldervik finally arrives it is unusually short and to the point, requesting that you attend his study to look after his cats. As far as you know, Oldervik does not have any cats; something is definitely wrong.

And so it is that you venture to Oldervik’s private residence in search of answers…”

An greatly detailed story, which is only delved into further during the brief and the game, the continuity of character and story is one that is delightful and so immersive.
Inside the room is absolutely beautiful, hand crafted but finished to such a high standard, for complete, total immersion.
The room really captures the adventures the Oldervik went on and the amount of stuff to look at is immense, yet never distracting from the game. Perfection.
The attention to detail in the room is outstanding, and it’s clear from the build quality that Alex is passionate and a perfectionist. There wasn’t anything out of place.
The interaction with the room was excellent, and it almost felt as the room came alive during the game.
There’s just one word to describe this room… Perfection.

Game Play:
A linear game (at times with branching paths), which has a unique element. You’re able to play this game in levels! There are 6 levels, which increases the content of puzzles and makes the game slightly harder. Alex is very good in recommending which level to choose dependent on team size and experience. We chose level 4 (matching the same level as Ken from The Logic Escapes Me and S2+Dean from Escape Review)
The puzzles in Professor Dunstan were plentiful and varied, word, maths, logic, physical, codebreaking, pattern matching. There really was something for everyone and in most teams, every person will find their time to solve & shine.
The execution of the puzzles is sublime, with new takes on the usual which left us wowed at many, many points in the game. Each and every single puzzle was flawless in its logic, and the solutions were clear and concise and CLEVER. Alex by trade is an archaeologist and this shows through in the puzzle design and room story.
The flow was impeccable, with some of the most subtle, yet clear, yet unobtrusive signposting I’ve ever seen in the game. It was a delight to play.
All the puzzles were perfectly in theme to the story and implemented perfectly to the room and space, interacting with certain elements in the room in novel ways, bringing the puzzles into the room and the room into the puzzles.
I would play this with your regular team and let Alex choose a level. A must play, we came out of this room on a massive high and didn’t stop talking about it all the way home!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Alex was our game host and was lovely, friendly and very welcoming. He is clearly so passionate about his game and has such humility too. He ran our game extremely well, only delivering clues when we really needed them (I think we only had 1 or 2 nudges)

Did we escape?
Yes, in 48 Minutes!

Website: https://co-decode.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £60
4 Players £76
5 Players £85
6 Players £90

Incarcerated – Conspiracy, Agenda 21

Incarcerated – Conspiracy, Agenda 21. Game Date 19/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Our plans on Thursday had been to go to Thorpe Park for the day, before heading to Swindon to play Co-Decode. Well, those plans were thwarted when I gave myself whip-lash, so was suffering immensely throughout Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games! Ibuprofen helped a lot… anyway, change of plans and we ended up going to Chessington World of Adventures… and it was dead, no lines, no people, bliss! We got all the rides done and dusted by about 2pm, which left us to be 2 hours ahead of schedule… leaving us a nice gap to slot another game in! A quick phone call to incarcerated and we were booked in! (Please bear in mind that Conspiracy is normally a 3 player minimum)

Theme:
“After seeing a story online about a YouTube Conspiracy Theorist who has concerns about a UN research facility, you have been following the story and his updates. One night you see a live feed on his Facebook account which leads you to believe he has been captured. Ever since the live feed there has been no updates to any of his accounts. Was it all a hoax? Is there something more sinister going on?

Roll on 6 months, you and your friends no longer speak of the YouTuber and life goes on as normal. One morning you all receive individual letters from the Supreme Court asking you to report for “Jury Service” at The Old Bailey. The letter states you must not tell anyone that you have been called in, the case you have been assigned to is extremely serious and the person on trial is a huge threat to national security. The letter also states that all Jury candidates are required to attend by law and any leak of information will lead to prosecution.

Further instructions ask you to arrive at the ‘UN Research Facility Northwood’ as secure transport will be provided to ensure all Jury members are kept safe on the way to the trial.”

A full story that was delivered to us in the brief, and further continued before the game started, which really set the scene and reminded me a bit of “Terminator 2: 3D” – y’know the kind of dystopian video proclaiming how the future is bright because of said company then it all goes to pot… the storytelling here was very good!
The room itself started off fairly small, and dim, but soon opened up into a good sized room. The latter stages of the game were a lot better lit and require some crawling from at least one player.
The theme continued through the room, and there was good attention to detail, yet nothing that could be misconstrued as a red-herring or misdirection.

Game Play:
A linear game, with some really neat puzzles. Logic, observation, physical, science based (no spoilers but a really cool puzzle!) with a little bit of searching.
All the puzzles were straightforward in their logic, with clear answers and conclusions. All being lovely to solve, the Ah-ha moments were nice, and whilst (for an experienced team) there wasn’t anything off the hook, all the puzzles were on theme, interesting and engaging.
The flow was very good, with dicta-phones placed in strategic places, which gave more insight to the story, and provided clear signposting. This was a novel and much appreciated touch.
A room that for enthusiasts will flow and almost play itself (I would suggest playing in as small a team as possible) and for newbies, I think 4 would be a perfect number!

Clue System:
Clues are delivered via a walkie-talkie

Game Host:
Simon was our game host, and he delivered a good brief and we enjoyed chatting to him before and after our game! We used no hints within the game.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 30:31, setting the room record!

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Website: http://www.incarcerated.co.uk
Price:
3 Players £57
4 Players £72
5 Players £85
6 Players £90
7 Players £105

Escape From The Room – Cabin in the Woods

Escape From The Room – Cabin in the Woods. Game Date 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian.

cabin in the woods

Cabin in the Woods, like Old Maid Milly can be played in either a 60 or 90 minute version… We chose the 90 minute version to play!

Theme:
“Ben Young was investigating a number of reported supernatural sightings when he went missing. Tracking his last known whereabouts, you find yourself locked in a cabin in the woods. But all is not as it seems. Ben Young has left you an encrypted message that might just explain what has happened to him. Search the cabin, follow the clues and crack the code to solve the mystery – ultimately leading to your escape.”

Cabin in the Woods takes place in an actual Cabin, not so much in the woods, but tucked away at the bottom of the garden, giving a feeling of isolation. Theming is top notch, and whilst it’s another slightly scary story with unnerving undertones, the room is well lit and welcoming. With solid wood furniture and even a big comfy couch (should you need a nap or sit down during play!)
This cabin is by no means small, and the game area expands dramatically through the game, with a wonderful surprise near the end of the game!
Immersion is top notch, with a introduction video and soundtrack that only serves to aid immersion. The story is well thought out, and weaves its way through the room and the puzzles.

Game Play:
A fairly open game, that became more linear towards the end. Puzzles were a real mix, with something for everyone… word, maths, physical, code breaking, translation, searching, logic… almost every single puzzle type was covered.
Puzzles came thick and fast, and we didn’t stop for the entire time! This pace was astounding and hard, but incredibly fun work!
Each and every puzzle had a fantastic Ah-ha moment, and they were all clear and concise in their logic. There were some unusual puzzles we had not seen before as well as some more familiar puzzles so moments of being taxed were complimented by some puzzles we got instantly and flew through!
The flow was excellent, with clear signposting and it seamlessly moving from puzzle to solution, to the next puzzle.
Puzzles were mainly in theme with the story, and the bonus puzzles delivered a deeper story and satisfying conclusion to the game.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via an iPhone.

Game Host:
Nathen was our game host and was truly wonderful, so passionate and a true enthusiast! We loved chatting to him and he delivered hints with precision timing!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 83 minutes!

Website: https://www.escapefromtheroom.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £60
3 Players £70
4 Players £70
5 Players £80
6 Players £80

An extra 30 minutes can be added to your game for £30.

Escape From The Room – The Curse of old Maid Milly

Escape From The Room – The Curse of old Maid Milly. Game Date: 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

Vintage spooky doll
You may be reading this thinking… Amy.. this is familiar, I’m sure you’ve already reviewed this game… well, yes, and no. Nathen has written a book version of the game, which I reviewed a few months ago (here) and whilst there are some similarities in terms of story, and a couple of puzzles, the physical game is very different!

Theme:
“60 minutes locked in the room where Milly mysteriously died after living the life of a recluse for many years. Something is stopping Milly’s soul resting in peace – search the room, find the clues and unravel the mystery that will ultimately set you free – all the while wondering whether Milly is still in the room with you.”

Escape From The Room is unusual in its location being in a house, this sets the room up really well and allows for a very immersive atmosphere a typical bedroom that contains all the secrets of the tale of Old Maid Milly.
Whilst the website professes Old Maid Milly to be quite dark and scary, it isn’t. There are a couple of jump scares and moments but on the whole the story of Milly is a good old fashioned ghost story in a immersive setting.
Milly really delivers on story, this is given in the pre-game videos and interspersed through the room, and woven into the puzzle, and comes to a wonderful conclusion.

Game Play:
A game which swung between linear and open, using this to draw the team together at pivotal points within the story.
The puzzles were an excellent mix of logic, word, observation, searching, physical, critical and analytical thinking. All very clever and logical.
The puzzles all had wonderful ah-ha moments and were a joy to solve! Pitched at a good difficulty level, with a couple of harder moments in the bonus section of the game.
The flow was excellent, with good signposting and clear indication as to where our next move was.
The most impressive thing about Milly was the subtle storytelling, this was evident in the book version, but it really translates to the room itself and it was lovely, and heartbreaking to find the conclusion and draw the story to the end within the bonus puzzles.
A wonderfully designed room that is clearly built with passion, dedication and love and this just shines through in the puzzles and game flow.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via an iPad in the room

Game Host:
Nathen was our game host and was truly wonderful, so passionate and a true enthusiast! We loved chatting to him and he delivered hints with precision timing!

Did we escape?
Yes! We got the key in 43 minutes and stayed a little while longer to complete the bonus game!

Website: https://www.escapefromtheroom.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £55
3 Players £65
4 Players £65
5 Players £75
6 Players £75

You can add on an extra 30 minutes at Escape From the Room for £30

The Panic Room – The Witch House

The Panic Room – The Witch House. Game Date 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“Our next mystery begins with a student who rents a room inside an old house with a long and dark history.
His dreams are haunted by those of a Witch from the town’s legend. During the witch trials of 1692 she disappeared never to be seen again.

It’s 11pm and your team has been sent to help the poor student uncover the mystery that lies within the room.

What happened to the witch? Can you break the curse before the clock strikes midnight?”

A really nicely decorated room, the theme of the witches house carries through with the upside down crucifixes giving a satanic touch. The atmosphere is creepy, yet never scary and the ambient lighting lends itself to this creepy, immersive atmosphere (although, there is a switch for the main lights should you need it) The attention to detail is lovely throughout and really gives glimpses into the Witch’s life and what she has left in the room.
A spacious room, 8 people may find they occasionally rub shoulders, but shouldn’t have any problems fitting in.

Game Play:
A fairly linear game. Puzzles were varied and consisted of logic, observation, aural, searching, word & critical thinking.
The puzzles were on theme, and all had really nice ah-ha moments. There were a couple of small logic leaps, but nothing that couldn’t be spotted by some real tight observation and careful thinking, and they made perfect logical sense in the end, almost more of a “why didn’t we spot that, – duh”!
The flow was good, and I can imagine it to be excellent with a little bit more direction and urgency in the clue giving (this could be a failing of our own as we asked to “not ask” for clues… we are not fans of self cluing as a general rule of thumb)
All in all it’s a really good game, plenty to do, with some unique puzzles, some really cool searching and the puzzles fit into the story and theme seamlessly!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Matthew was our game host, he delivered our brief and story well. Clues were delivered, maybe a little too slowly for our personal preference.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 55 minutes!

Website: https://www.thepanicroomharlow.com
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £70
5 Players £80
6 Players £87.50
7 Players £95
8 Players £100

The Panic Room – The Tomb

The Panic Room – The Tomb. Game Date 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“This epic immersive adventure will blow you away! Ever wanted to be like Indiana Jones and be in your own movie? This is your shot!

Your mission will be breaking into an ancient Egyptian tomb to try and make a massive discovery. The situation takes a turn for the worse, you are trapped inside so you will need to work together to escape or become part of history.

So explorers, can you escape The Tomb? Just remember…Don’t Panic!”

Theming was good, if a little tired within the Tomb (but rest assured, Harlow are getting several new rooms in the near future, with the Tomb being replaced by something which I am sure will be excellent!) The entrance was met with a long crawl down a rather dark tunnel, (but don’t worry, there is an alternate entrance for less able-bodied players)
The theme inside was immersive and dark, you’re provided with a good light source, which believe me you’ll want to keep with you at all times!
A good soundtrack, and lack of screen create a good level of immersion and we found ourselves having a bit of in character “banter” with our game host during the game!
Don’t go into the tomb wearing your Sunday best, as it’s sandy and you’ll be doing plenty of crawling, it’s a very hands on room! The space is big enough for 8 players (if playing with THAT many people is your thing!)

Game Play:
The tomb is a linear game that is heavily a search based room, there is not masses in true puzzling content, there is just enough to keep engaged, but searching is most definitely  the mainstay.
This gives the room an excellent flow (if you’re a good team of searchers you’ll sail through this) or, if like us you suck at searching you’ll hit walls where you know exactly what you need but just can’t find it (totally our incompetence there)
The Tomb is more of an experience, and it delivers in that aspect and getting all the pieces bit by bit leads to a clear end goal and a lot of fun!
A good room for newbies wanting to dip their toes into the escape room waters!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a walkie talkie

Game Host:
Brad was our game host, he delivered an excellent brief and was personable and fun! He ran our game well, giving us nudges along the way and when we asked

Did we escape?
Yes, in 44 Minutes

Website: https://www.thepanicroomharlow.com
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £70
5 Players £80
6 Players £87.50
7 Players £95
8 Players £100

The Panic Room – Enigma

The Panic Room – Enigma. Game Date 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“A small group of cryptographers have been stationed within Bletchley under orders to uphold National Defence through intercepting and deciphering intelligence. This department became the “Bletchley National Defence Cybersecurity Unit” in 2010.

Just recently, one of the cryptographers uncovered a threat to the Government network and was horrified to realise the traitor was in the team!

Your commander narrowed the suspects down to five people, but has now mysteriously disappeared!

Can you work out who the traitor is and escape in time?”

Theming in Engima was a fairly typical, yet large office space, with decoration that was fitting to the theme and not just for show. Every part of the space was used within the game. Cleanly decorated and finished to a high standard. Whilst the room won’t “wow” with its furnishing, it is a nice space to spend and hour in. The room is large, 8 people may find it slightly crowded but the way the space works doesn’t make this crowded aspect a problem. The lighting is excellent throughout!

Game Play:
A game the felt quite open but had distinct  linear moments.
Puzzles were in the main part, observation, logic, codebreaking, deduction. All very logical, and solvable with excellent ah-ha moments.
The main focus of the game, finding the traitor was enjoyable, puzzles lead to snippet and clues that narrowed down the information to pin on one person. When we had made our assumption it was time to nail the traitor… if we got this wrong it was game over so this was quite tense and nail-biting stuff!
The flow of the game was great, with excellent signposting throughout, however in some aspects the game makes you work for those in game nudges and to make connections!
A fairly typical deduction type game, enjoyable, playable… at some points information overload, but making sense of that and coming to conclusions is a lot of fun!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Ash was our game-host (she also hosted us for Million Dollar Date Night) it was lovely to see her again, and I think had we not had other rooms to get to, we could have stayed and chatted for all eternity, as she’s an utter enthusiast and as such ran our game perfectly! Nudging us right at the perfect moments. Top notch!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 44 minutes!

Website: https://www.thepanicroom.net
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £70
5 Players £80
6 Players £87.50
7 Players £95
8 Players £100