Escape Yellow Sub

Escape Yellow Sub
Location: Liverpool
Game Date: 11/11/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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After a little bit of digging (after our game host mentioned that Escape Yellow Sub used to have a home in Edinburgh) I found out that the game was called “Blue November” and was designed by the team behind “Can You Escape” – which is possibly why I found it very similar to “Operation Odyssey” (I said this to Ian a fair few times during the game!)
A rebrand, along with a few tweaks and simplifications have brought this game down to a 50-minute experience and a maximum of 5 players (it used to be 60 mins and 6 players)

Theme:
“Pepperland is under seige. The Blue Meanies have sabotaged the Yellow Submarine and you are trapped as the countdown to missile launch begins. Only you can stop nuclear war!”

Theming was great, with the yellow sub being quite immersive and funky, and there was nice Beatles references, but not too much to deal with and the Beatles references were nicely woven into the fabric of the room.
The finish was good, and the use of technology was excellent and not overbearing or glitchy
The space was well lit, and large enough for 5 people. There was a fun little moment which could cause lots of hilarity between groups (and also a few fights)

Game Play:
A fairly open game that had so many puzzles and variety! Teamwork, Observation, searching, logic, word, decoding, physical, skill. The variations in the puzzles were excellent and they were all clear in their logic and execution.
Ah-ha moments came thick and fast, with there being absolutely no ambiguity in the answers to the puzzles.
The finale puzzle was tense and exciting, and really piled the pressure on in the final moments of the game, a good design choice and something that wasn’t too hard, but under time pressure became intense!
The flow was wonderful, and each puzzle lead seamlessly through the game, and at the linear point gave excellent direction as to where to go next.
Signposting was stellar, with everything being signposted subtly, giving good direction to each and every puzzle from the start to the end of the game.
A really enjoyable game, that with the Beatles overlay makes for a lovely addition to the Liverpool Escape Room Scene.

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

Game Host:
Alex was our game host and gave us a good brief and really got into character throughout the game.

Did we escape?
Yes, with 34 seconds left!

Website: http://escapeyellowsub.com
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £55
4 Players £60
5 Players £70

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Adventure Vault – The Scandal

Adventure Vault – The Scandal
Location: Shrewsbury
Game Date: 19/10/2018
Team: Amy & Ian
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Theme:
“You have been hired by the eccentric Lord Talbot to track down his missing wife who has run off with the family heirlooms including a rare giant diamond. Only Detective Reid has any clues to the whereabouts of Lady Talbot and the missing diamond.”

Theming was standard, a typical office environment with not too much to put you off the scent of the game, it was finished to a good standard. Not the most immersive of sets, but then I feel this is more to do with the theme and not the theming… it’s hard for an office to be an interesting and immersive place!
The latter half of the game was more interesting, with Lord Talbots collection making more of an appearance, that gave the theme some diversity.
Lighting was excellent, there was never a worry about being able to see, and the room was large enough for the maximum number of players.

Game Play:
A fairly linear game, which leaned more towards word skills, with some searching, observation and maths thrown in. A good mix of puzzles that will test newbies, but enthusiasts are unlikely to find anything they’ve not seen before.
Flow was good, and there was a good story woven into the puzzles. There was one moment that could have been entirely skipped (and as it happened we opened it early) but we still backtracked and completed the puzzle we skipped (although I don’t think we truly needed to) – this was purely a case of experience allowing us to solve something without all the pieces. Whilst not a major issue, it is something that experienced players should be aware of!
Signposting was ok, not in your face but enough to guide you through the game.
The puzzles were fun and had good ah-ha moments and good logic behind them.
An overall good game that is well pitched to provide a solid, good experience for new teams.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Tom was our game host (who was also the owner) and he was friendly and had enthusiasm for escaping! He delivered clues (I think we had 1) with excellent timing!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 39 minutes

Website: https://adventurevault.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £44
3 Players £63
4 Players £76
5 Players £85
6 Players £90

Komnata – Saint Angelo’s Castle

Komnata – Saint Angelo’s Castle
Location: London
Game Date: 02/10/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“The Dungeon of St. Angelo’s Castle is a place of great horror. Thousands of innocent victims of the Great Inquisition have spent their last hour in this very dungeon. Every prisoner sentenced to capital punishment was given the chance to save their own life. They were each locked in this dungeon filled with puzzles and mystical secrets for one hour. If they were unable to make it out, they were killed in the most horrible ways. Historians say that only one person managed to escape this gloomy place. He was a sculptor that reached the heights of the jewel craft. No one else has been able to make it out. The spirits of St. Angelo’s Dungeon now await your arrival. Escape within the hour or your soul will forever walk among them.”

St Angelo looks great, a fully immersive game that throws you into the bowels of the dungeons, with a great finish and again a high level of detail. (cloaks were given to wear too, which did set the scene well!) The space is large and has plenty to explore, covering a variety of different settings, all befitting of a dungeon and monk’s chapel.
The room is more than large enough for the maximum number.
Unfortunately, it is again, very, very dark and this is used (especially in the early stages) to increase difficulty within the game (granted I was struggling more with darkness due to my lack of glasses) but a decent in theme torch would have been a welcome respite to the continual low light level. That being said, the room looked beautiful.

Game Play:
A linear game that consisted of a variety of puzzles, logic, observation (heavy) physical, skill, word.
Puzzles were all in theme and presented in the context of the theme.
The interaction with the room was excellent, with puzzles being intrinsic to the theme and not just arbitrarily placed.
Ah-ha moments were excellent for the most part and there were no logic leaps, although there was a sense of ambiguity in one of the puzzles, and the lack of anything to write on hampered progress throughout the room.
Flow was ok, with a couple of sticking spots (mainly in the ambiguity of that one puzzle) and signposting was (like Dr Frankenstien) quite lacking and it was mainly up to the players to make connections and figure out in which direction the game went.
The game overall was enjoyable and challenging for 2 players, with some frustrating moments and some really nice ones.

Clue System:
Clues were given via a voice over

Game Host:
Our game host was good, his brief was short, but clues were delivered in a timely manner

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 55 minutes

Website: https://komnata.co.uk/london
Price:
2 Players £64
3 Players £96
4 Players £108
5 Players £135
6 Players £162

 

Komnata – Dr. Frankenstien

Komnata – Dr. Frankenstien
Location: London
Game Date: 02/10/2018
Team: Amy, Ian & Benn

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Theme:
“Some say that the inspiration for the character of doctor Frankenstein came from Johann Conrad Dippel, a German scientist, who was born in the Frankenstein castle. Could they be right? In the mystical world of steam machines and airships you have only one hour to revitalize a homunculus and unravel Frankenstein’s mystery. You will follow in the mad scientist’s footsteps to complete his final experiment and attempt to reanimate the body of Frankenstein’s Creature!”

The room looked great, with a real steam punk vibe that echoed the era very well. Quite immersive, with a good finish and attention to detail. There was a lot of detail and props to look at, but nothing that was outwardly confusing as a red herring.
A great space to spend an hour in, with plenty of discovery and interest throughout the game.
The space is large and lighting, unfortunately was quite dim. A little bit more atmospheric light would have helped tremendously.

Game Play:
A linear game that had a great mix of puzzles, logic, word, physical, observation.
The puzzles were all wonderfully on theme and perfectly logical and solvable with no logic leaps.
The ah-ha moments were good and once found, soloutions came freely and easily.
One puzzle in particular was a lot of fun to solve and interacted with the room in a unique way.
The flow was good, once we got going the first puzzle stumped us but this was mainly due to the low light levels (and my lack of working eyes – I forgot my glasses)
Signposting was very subtle with a lot of the connections being left to the players.
Overall a nice game that isn’t going to disappoint, but still has the feel and game play of a big franchise.

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

Game Host:
Our game host was good, his brief was short, but clues were delivered in a timely manner

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 50 minutes

Website: https://komnata.co.uk/london
Price:
2 Players £64
3 Players £96
4 Players £108
5 Players £135
6 Players £162

Escape Rooms London Bridge – Pharaoh’s Chamber – A Cursed Tomb

Escape Rooms London Bridge – Pharaoh’s Chamber – A Cursed Tomb
Location: London
Game Date: 02/10/2018
Team: Amy, Ian & Benn

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Theme:
“You have successfully passed through all 12 of the black hell gates and are deep in the heart of Egypt’s oldest pyramid in Pharaoh Khufu’s Chamber. Legend has it this Chamber is cursed and all who remain in it longer than 60 minutes will have their souls removed from their bodies and be destined to guard the Pharaoh’s tomb and his treasure for all eternity.

You are the 100th raider of this tomb; the 99 that have come before you are believed to have perished in the chamber though no bodies have ever been found. You have 1 hour to find his treasure and light all the flames of the gods in order to escape; otherwise you will, as those before you, be forced to remain at the Pharaoh’s side forever.”

The themeing in the room was quite simple but finished to a good standard, with plenty of exploration in a one room setting. It wasn’t the most immersive room and it was dark, which inhibited game play in some puzzles, but it didn’t stay dark for the entire hour.
A large room that would easily accomodate the max number of players.

Game Play:
An open game that was quite basic in it’s game play, consiting of searching, word, phyiscal, logic and observational puzzles.
The puzzles were logical, aside from one which required a leap of logic to come to conclusions. The open nature of the game meant that ah-ha moments weren’t forthcoming, but the puzzles were solvable for the most part.
The flow was a bit stop-start, and signposting was at an absoloute minimum, which lead to a few messy solves and contributed to the sticky flow.
Overall though the room was enjoyable.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a walkie-talkie upon request.

Game Host:
Our game host was attentive, and delivered us hints and nudges when needed, along with a good brief.

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 55 minutes.

Website: http://www.escaperooms.co.uk/londonBridge.html
Price:
3 Players £75.60
4 Players £96
5 Players £114
6 Players £129.60
7 Players £142.80

Archimedes Inspiration – Kill Mad

Archimedes Inspiration – Kill Mad
Location: London
Game Date: 30/09/2018
Team: Amy, Ian, Benn & Jane

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Theme:
“Strange things are happening in the Sally Star King Hospital. The centre has been vacated for years, yet screams and noises can still be heard inside at night. Does your team have what it takes to investigate and expose the secrets inside? If you are looking for a narrative puzzle game with a psychological twist, this is your room. Be cautious and enter at your own risk.”

A simple, yet immersive space that served the narrative very well. The decoration was suitably creepy but never scary. A good representation of a hospital that was tastefully done and treated the subject matter of mental health with the utmost respect. This game takes you on a journey, and as you piece together the evidence and discover the nature of what is happening the game takes on a sinister, yet thought-provoking twist. This, in turn, leads to a final decision that will split groups and cause much debate, and it is WORTH debating and thinking about those decisions.
The room was large enough for the max team size of 6 and had appropriate, atmospheric lighting throughout

Game Play:
A linear game that was heavily narrative driven. The puzzles were varied with physical, touch, observation, skill, logic and sequencing all playing a part. The finale “puzzle” was excellent and could end up being quite a talking… or arguing point for a lot of teams. It ties the game together and gives a satisfying conclusion no matter what the outcome.
The game delivers on good puzzles, logical and fair with excellent ah-ha moments that demand good, solid teamwork. One puzzle, in particular, tested that teamwork to the max and it was a joy to solve!
The flow was remarkable and the subtle signposting and exposition in the narrative really drove the game along and made sure you took notice of everything.
An excellent game that will really take anyone who plays on a journey, from newbie to experienced. Kill mad provokes critical thinking and empathy and for this, I applaud it for treating a subject that is easily appropriated with grace and tactfulness.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via mobile phone

Game Host:
Kou was our game host and he was wonderful, setting the scene and creating a great atmosphere before entering the room. He was clearly watching us very closely as clues came with perfect timing and precision and we had a full debrief after the game too.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 45 minutes

Website:
Price:
3 Players £90
4 Players £110
5 Players £130
6 Players £150

Breakout Chester – Dark Magic

Breakout Chester – Dark Magic
Location: Chester
Game Date: 18/10/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“You and your fellow wizarding students are wandering the out-of-bounds corridors on the third floor when you discover a secret passage into a long forgotten room. You edge inside and instantly sense the spine chilling presence of Dark Magic! Your wizardry skills will be put to the test if you choose to relinquish the evil that lies within…”

Dark Magic looked great, with an impressive first impression that wowed us. It’s certainly a step up in Breakout’s usual standard of theming, it’s great that they’re creating fully realised environments.
A really well-finished room, that captured the feel of a wizard’s study, with just the right amount of “stuff” to look at and yet nothing out of place or that could be misconstrued as a red herring.
The room was well lit, with ambient lighting  giving a good sense of atmosphere and immersion (torches are provided too)
The space was large enough for the maximum of 5 players.

Game Play:
A multi- linear room that consisted of logic, observation, searching, physical puzzles, all perfectly in theme and interactive with the room.
The puzzles all had great ah-ha moments and were clear and sound in their logic. There was one stand out puzzle that was a unique take on a typical puzzle and that required team work, skill and dexterity, which made it a fun puzzle to complete.
The flow was wonderful, and we were kept moving through the room with some lovely sign-posting, a clear end goal and good story throughout
A very enjoyable game that will please enthusiasts for the attention to detail in the set and finish, and logical puzzles. Newbies will enjoy the atmosphere and puzzles.
I would keep enthusiast groups small, you will get maximum enjoyment if you can participate in every puzzle presented in the room!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Micheala was our game host, and she was wonderful. Full of energy, friendly and enthusiastic about escaping! She delivered nudges with precision timing but still left us to our own devices. Excellent hosting.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 47 Minutes

Website:
Price:
Off Peak
2 Players £34
3 Players £42
4 Players £52
5 Players £60

Peak:
2 Players £36
3 Players £51
4 Players £64
5 Players £75

Clue Adventures – The Book of Secrets

Clue Adventures – The Book of Secrets
Location: London
Game Date: 30/09/2018
Team: Amy & Ian
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Theme:
“A 60 minute escape room game full of magical secrets and intrigue. On New Years Eve 1999 top magician and magic inventor Alistair Wilson vanished from a glass box, never to be seen again. No-one knows why or even how he vanished. You and your team have one hour to solve the mystery and to find his famous Book of Secrets before his former home is demolished.”

Themin was done to a high standard, but kept clean and tidy, with only things that were instrumental to the game being included, this created a good sense of immersion. The space developed and became more interesting and unique as the game went on, delving more into the magician aspect of Alistair and encountering some of his best magic trick. The room was full of suprises and tricks that wowed us a few times throughout the game.
The space is large enough for 7 players, and well lit throughout.

Game Play:
An open game that has so many puzzles type, magic, word, math, observation, skill, code-breaking… there was so many different puzzle types, every single person is going to find somethign they click with and excell at. The puzzles all took and idea and ran with it, often excecuting a seemingly simple and standard puzzle in an exciting new way.
There was moments of brilliance in the room when we performed real magic tricks to get items, which was a lovely touch!
Each puzzle had wonderful ah-ha moments, that really entertained and amused throughout, with impeccible logic there was a great sense of progression throughout the room.
The flow was fast paced and fun – this is certainly a game where if you’re not solving a puzzle, you are doing something wrong as the game is jam-packed with them, and they fire at you quickly and without hesitation.
Signposting was excellent, with good logical reasons for all signposting in the room, which lead us from puzzle to puzzle with ease.
A brilliant game, which delivers layers of story interwoven with excellent puzzling in a fast-paced, challenging game.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Peter was our host and he was excellent, delivering a great brief and story and REALLY taking care of us in the game, offering clues with prescision timing. Perfect hosting.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 55 mins

Website: http://www.clueadventures.com
Price:
2 Players £70
3 Players £96
4 Players £120
5 Players £140
6 Players £156
7 Players £168

Breakin’ – Blackwing’s Cave

Breakin’ – Blackwing’s Cave
Location: London
Game Date: 30/09/2019
Team: Amy, Ian, Jak & Tom

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Theme:
“Knightsbane city is under attack. Dr. Drakker, the evil genius has escaped from prison and has sworn vengeance on his nemesis, the city’s hero, Blackwing. He has released all of the other prisoners from Alistair Penitentiary and has tracked down the location of Blackwing’s secret cave. Using his engineering skills he has set numerous traps for the hero by planting various devices in his cave only to be entertained by his torment.

The fallen hero of Knightsbane city must now face his greatest challenge yet by defeating Dr. Drakker once more and bringing him to justice. As Blackwing’s sidekicks you will need to help him throughout all the mad puzzles prepared by his arch nemesis and escape the cave before the time runs out!”

Batman… although there are quite clear disclaimers in the brief this room screams Batman… The decor was quite sterile and plain with nothing that really created immersion but nothing really out of place. The space was large (more than large enough for 6) and very, very dark. At times this impacted on game play, and wasn’t necessarily atmopsheric but I don’t feel it was soley done to increase difficulty levels like some other brands.

Game Play:
A linear game that consisted of teamwork, observation, logic and math puzzles. (A lot of math, much to my chagrin)
Puzzles were logical, and had nice ah-ha moments but at times were techy for techs sake and didn’t really gel with the premise of the room.
The teamwork puzzles were good, and really created a sense of progression through the room, as a critical eye and strong communitcation were the foundation of these puzzles.
Flow was good, signposting was lacking and there were a lot of connections that were made which had no signposting whatsoever – leaving a few “how did that happen” moments in the game.
Overall, this is a decent game with a couple of really nice puzzles that would please Batman fans with its nods to the franchise.
A dramatic ending adds to the fun of this room!

Clue System:
Clues were a strange system… You were given a walkie talkie and then to get a clue you radio through to the host and ask… then they radio back a 4 digit code, which you then put into a digital keypad on the wall which then gives you a clue.
Talk about long winded….

Game Host:
Our game host was fun, attentive and delivered a great brief and story.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 42 Minutes!

Website: https://breakinescaperooms.co.uk/
Price:

Peak
3 Players £87
4 Players £112
5 Players £135
6 Players £156

Off Peak
3 Players £66
4 Players £84
5 Players £100
6 Players £114

Clue HQ – Hellevator

Clue HQ – Hellevator
Location: Birmingham
Game Date: 20/09/2018
Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“As reality shows dominate your televisions, Clue HQ have decided to team up with Clue Tube to bring you the latest Escape Room, but with a twist. Face trials concocted by the genius minds of Professor Errol Tepet and Dr. Psik as you compete for the prize of your life! Can your team reach Floor 13 before time runs out? Come on down and see for yourself! You could be the next reality television star. That is, if you can make it out in one piece. Sign up now to take part in the pilot episode of The Hellevator!”

Hellevator looks cool, dim and dingy and like… well.. an elevator, but it’s more maintenance service than a posh glass one!
Industrial and gritty, cluehq have done a great job with theming, immersion and creating a great story with some sinister characters, I just wish we saw more of them throughout the game, the scope was there!
A room with lots of flair and dramatics, with smoke, lazers and even motion. Hellevator really delivers from a theatrical standpoint
A very large space, that will fit 6 people with ease. At times lighting is dim but it never impacted game play.

Game Play:
A linear game that had many different types of puzzles. Logic, word, math, observation, physical, skill… all bases were firmly covered ensuring there was plenty for the whole team, and boy was there plenty! Hellevator is jammed full of puzzles and it’s amazing to see the room unfold and wonder where everything came from!
The puzzles were at times easy and at time frustrating, but this was created for us by a small technical failure (due to us being a team of 2) which lead to us opening something WAY earlier than we should have done and confusing us for about a third of the game, unfortunate but it was dealt with in an incredibly professional manner at the end of the game, and the flow was explained to us thoroughly.
Ah-ha moments came with gusto, and once settled, there was no discrepancy in the answers (although there were a fair few locks to pop them into!)
The flow was frantic, with each floor getting more and more fast-paced in its design, and piling the pressure on as cluehq seems to do in their own inimitable way!
A game that is a unique and bold design, which will please enthusiasts in its sheer amount of puzzles and great atmosphere.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Leah was our gamehost, she was friendly and polite and delivered clues well.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 55 minutes

Website: https://cluehq.co.uk/birmingham

Off-Peak:
2 Players – £44 per person
3 Players – £63 per person
4 Players – £76 per person
5 Players – £85 per person
6 Players – £90 per person

Peak:
2 Players – £50 per person
3 Players – £69 per person
4 Players – £84 per person
5 Players – £90 per person
6 Players – £96 per person