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

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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

 

The Panic Room – LOOP

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

loop-optimised
LOOP originally started out as a popup game in London by a company called ClockWork Dog. I never had the pleasure of playing the original, but was excited when I heard The Panic Room had bought it and installed it in their newest location in Gravesend. I will try to keep this a spoiler free as I possibly can… as there is a lot about LOOP you shouldn’t know before you play it!

Theme:
“A game that totally redefines the meaning of ‘against the clock’.

Step into the laboratory of Frontier Engineering, a research company tackling the unknowns of science, one paradox at a time. They are seeking teams of 2-6 to undertake a one hour trial of a mysterious and powerful device they call ‘The Unit’. They won’t tell us what it does, but they assure us that it is completely safe.

In this weird science fiction adventure with strong undertones of Portal , you will be transported to impossible places and experience one of the craziest twists in escape room history. Seriously, this game will blow your minds!

Prepare to enter….The Loop!”

Theming starts before you’re even in the game, with the initial briefing video being held in the game-masters space, which was themed very well and had lots of little details that just added to the story of Frontier Engineering and even puts the gamehost into character and into the story.
Once in the room, the feeling is clinical yet almost like Frontier is a home grown research company and maybe not all is as it seems. The decor is as immersive as it can be, with white washed walls and nothing to distract or deter you. It’s a cool space, very fitting for the theme, and this continues on throughout the game
I can imagine the space being a little cramped with 6 player, but not uncomfortable. The lighting as you’d expect is bright.

Game Play:
An fairly open game that has some great puzzles and hidden tech, logic, observation, a small amount of searching and some aural puzzles make LOOP a stand out in its puzzles.
LOOP’s puzzle are clever, cerebral, challenging but all perfectly logical and all exemplary in their ah-ha moments. With some unique twists on the use of some everyday objects that work to give outstanding, clear results.
The flow was wonderful, and whilst we stalled at the beginning of the game and didn’t open ANYTHING until 20 minutes in, we weren’t really stalled as we had been unknowingly putting a lot of leg work in to get through a lot of puzzles in a short amount of time.
LOOP is very much a game of 2 halves, and the latter half of the game had us flabbergasted, amazed and under so much pressure.
I do try hard to not talk about our personal feeling and experiences in games and just outline the puzzles/flow/logic etc – but in LOOP it’s IMPOSSIBLE to not talk about how we felt, as I feel the point of LOOP is to create these exact feelings of amazement coupled with immense pressure! (Those who have played will know exactly what I mean!) Needless to say, this pressure put it on us and the later half of the game flowed wonderfully again with exceptionally logical, solvable puzzles with wicked twists on the norm!
Loop is nothing short of a masterpiece in gameplay & creativity!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a nifty handheld device!

Game Host:
Our game host was Laurence and he was fantastic, a true enthusiast. It’s wonderful when hosts are passionate about their games, as this bubbles over into their hosting and it’s always a pleasure to chat with them before/after! Laurence also delivered us hints (OK… we had 1 hint) but that hint was delivered with utter precision at the perfect time! Brilliant hosting!

Did we escape?
Yes in 42 minutes!

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

The Panic Room – RESURGENCY

The Panic Room – RESURGENCY. Game Date 17/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

resurgency

Theme:
“Brendan Last has escaped from prison and the rascal has setup in an abandoned factory but we found him! Sadly he knew we were coming and rigged up a bomb. He likes to play games and will give you a chance to defuse the bomb.

Can you defuse it in time? Find out now!”

Theming was excellent in Resurgency, with brick wall panels & gritty sheet steel giving an industrial feel to the space. The immersion was great, with the centre piece of the room being open to investigation from the start. The room does have some flashing lights and dim lighting at points, but nothing detrimental to the game play, and all for mood and immersion.
The room has a sense of humour and that is reflected in the soundtrack. The whole room pokes fun at the players in such a loveable way it’s hard to not be won over by this gentle teasing! You really get a sense of Brendan Last, and whilst the plot is just “defuse the bomb” the character and humour in this room really elevate it to a different level
The room is large enough for 4 people, which is the maximum

Game Play:
A fairly liner game, there are a few moments where a couple of things can be done at once but for the most part this game felt nice and linear. The puzzles were all exciting and unique. With logic, observation, searching, codebreaking and physical puzzles in the room, a real mix and something for everybody.
There was a lovely use of team co-ordination which was a joy to solve in such a unique way, with a lot of elements coming together throughout the game in such a fun way.
The puzzles all had nice ah-ha moments, and signposting for the main stay was good (one puzzle was a little less signposted but the owners are well aware and are working to make it crystal clear – which to be fair it was when we received a clue on it!)
The flow was wonderful, and the little audio devices used when a puzzle was solved, or a task completed was hilarious. It’s the little details that prevail in this room within the puzzles and flow that really mark it as a well designed, slick room.
Every puzzle was well on theme, logical and fun to solve!
I’d recommend enthusiasts taking a 2, and newbies taking on the room in a team of 4!

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

Game Host:
Mae was our game host, she was lovely delivered the room story well and only hinted us when we really, really needed it! Excellent hosting.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 54 minutes!

Website: https://www.thepanicroom.net
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £57
4 Players £70

Escape Plan LTD – Battle For Britain

Escape Plan LTD – Battle For Britain. Game Date 17/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

battleforbritain

Theme:
“The day is 18th August 1940 and the Luftwaffe have launched a resurgent attack on Britain, where your air base has been hit by the first wave of heavy bombing. As the only survivors, you must access the strategic ops room and mobilise the full force of the RAF to save Britain. But with a second attack imminent, can you also save yourselves?”

The room was beautifuly decorated, with the entrance being an unexpected highlight and a fun opening (and in hindsight set the game up for the twists and turns we were about to experience!)
The game starts off in a smallish room with plenty of style, and substance! There’s loads to look at but nothing out of place, the decoration being intergral to the game itself. Wonderful, with excellent attention to detail that we love, with lots of authentic props, and solid built items to interact with.
In the strategic ops room, the space is dominated by a massive set piece that serves as the fundamental base for the game. A really immersive idea that hides its tech and really throws you into the feeling that you HAVE TO SAVE BRITAIN. Coupled with a great soundtrack (With some Belladonna Brigade songs playing softly in the background) it really set the scene and mood for a great hour!
The room is really well lit, and more than big enough for the max team size of 7

Game Play:
A really unique and scalable game, as is in the title and story, your aim is to down as many plans as possible with the maximum being all 71. (as well as earning your freedom!) This is reflected in the sheer amount of puzzles there are to solve, to get your platoons ready to shoot down those planes.
An open game, especially once into the Ops room (The first being a little more linear)
The puzzles were incredibly varied, logic, codebreaking, physical & word (and one puzzle being especially suited to me personally!) being the mainstays but the execution was the key here, with excellent signposting leading to incredibly clear moments and utterly wonderful ah-ha moments.
The flow was fast & pacey, at times even when split up and doing our own things the our paths crossed more than once. An intricately designed and incredibly satisfying room.
There is an amazing amount of things to do in this room, and you will not stop for the entire hour. But rest assured you will be engaged, excited and exhilarated every step of the way.
The climactic & dramatic ending to this room only added to the journey and watching the final moments of the game was so tense, yet fun!
If you are a small group of enthusiasts wanting a challenge, keep your numbers down, a bigger group of enthusiasts will still have fun but it’s more of a satisfying result with less people.
Newbies I would take as many as possible, there are a LOT of puzzles in this room.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via intercom

Game Host:
Imogen was our game host and she was wonderful. No stranger to the 1940s (being a member of the Belladonna Brigade) she delivered a wonderful brief that was well in keeping with the theme and story! Her clue delivery was excellent!

Did we escape?
Yes! We downed all 71 planes with 5 minutes remaining!

Website: https://escapeplanltd.com/
Price:
£120 Peak
£89 Off Peak

Escape Plan LTD – The Adventure Begins

Escape Plan LTD – The Adventure Begins. Game Date 18/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“Set in the barracks of a P.O.W camp, you and your comrades quickly discover the legend of Bob Hails – the only prisoner to have successfully escaped the camp. And what’s more he’s left you his journal to help you and your team evade the enemy and make your own great escape. But do you have what it takes to earn your freedom?”

A beautifully decorated and well finished room that has just the right amount of decoration and theming that doesn’t impact on the game play but still gives plenty to look at and investigate. Subtle touches in the authentic props and set pieces only add the quality and immersion in this game, which was supplemented with a good sound-track that kept us moving and put on the pressure towards the latter stages.
A well lit, and fairly spacious room that would fit 7 players in with ease, maybe a slight squeeze at the beginning, but nothing too cramped or uncomfortable.

Game Play:
This is where “The Adventure Begins” shines, an open game with critical moments of linearity which brings the team together to experience the best moments in the room.
Puzzles were varied and  covered nearly all bases, observation, physical, maths, code-breaking, and logic. A stand out feature of this room was the signposting, it was exemplary with clear indication as to where you are to input your next code. This in turn made the flow of the room impeccable, with no qualms as to where to input your next code.
The logic in the room was precise, detailed and there were no logic leaps.
Each puzzle has wonderful ah-ha moments, and when there was a moment we needed a nudge, we were kicking ourselves for not seeing the answer that was clear and logically layed out in front of us!
An absolute joy to play, seamless puzzles that lead to concise answers and signposted in a unique but not intrusive way. Perfect for first times and enthusiasts alike!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via voice over

Game Host:
Carlos was our game host, and he was fantastic, friendly and clearly enjoys his job! He delivered hints and nudges will skill and excellent timing!

Did we escape?
Yes, in about 53 minutes (I may be wrong, will update when I find my time card!)

Website: https://escapeplanltd.com/
Price:
£120 Peak
£89 Off Peak

Escape Hunt – Our Finest Hour

Escape Hunt – Our Finest Hour. Game Date 13/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

finest-hour

Theme:
“WWII. As a team of British secret agents, you know only one thing can save your country from Nazi invasion: cooperation.”

A quite simple, classic story but one that was executed with finesse and style. A wonderfully decorated and fully immersive, every detail was “just so” and fitting to the theme.
The room was well lit, and spacious, with a good soundtrack that ramped up and put the pressure on certainly within the last moments of the game.
A slick, well designed set with character, immersion and detail that is just lovely.

Game Play:
A liner game that focused on code-breaking, logic, observation, and a small amount of searching. Each and every puzzle was beautifully on theme and integrated into the room perfectly. The tasks were very “real world” with the game having a singular padlock.
An excellently designed room, with good solid puzzles that were excellent in their logic, clear and with lovely engaging Ah-ha moments!
The flow was excellent, with clear signposting and conclusions leading you seamlessly from puzzle to puzzle.
On a personal level, I enjoyed the challenge of this room, it was different and there were moments where I said “I have no idea what were doing, but I love it”
I would recommend this to a small group of enthusiasts, a 2 or 3 and a bigger group if you’re inexperienced. The room is a wonderful, immersive journey.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered, in character by means of a telephone!

Game Host:
Olivia was our game host and she was amazing, so friendly, so passionate and she delivered clues and hints with perfection. She is everything a game host should be!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 56 minutes!

Website: https://escapehunt.com/uk/leeds/
Price:
£25pp flat fee

Game Over: Espionage

Game Over: Espionage. Game Date 13/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

svise-ta-kalodia

Theme:
“You are intentionally caught and put in the holding cells of the parliament building. You must first escape captivity by any means necessary. You must gain access to the mission objective, The TOP SECRET XJ7 missile Blueprints from inside the maximum security safe. Your mission is to escape from prison…retrieve your weapons…steal the blueprints…you have 1 hour to do it. to Succeed you will need to Act with speed, precision, and have nerves of steel. Good luck in your mission agents.”

Theming was sufficient here, with some impressive set pieces but the rest of the room being rather bare and minimal. Immersion was OK, and there was use of a soundtrack (which was a bit loud at times) Lighting on the whole was good but there was one section where the light levels were not low, but awkward in creating shadows and dark patches.
Overall the theming was good, but nothing over the top or fancy. The room was large enough for 6 players.

Game Play:
A linear game that consisted of physical, logic and codebreaking puzzles with a small amount of searching.
The puzzles for the main part were good, logical and had nice ah-ha moments. Unfortunately 1 technical aspect ran out of power, this didn’t impact our game too much as it was rectified quickly by our game host. There was one puzzle which, in my opinion should never be in an escape room (if you’ve played this room you’ll know) it involves something you wouldn’t want a child doing… without giving anything away it’s hard to describe but it just shouldn’t be included. There are better ways to deliver what the puzzle concluded to.
The flow of the room was good, granted there wasn’t masses of signposting, but there were no massive logic leaps either.
The conclusion of the room was tense, and I can imagine doing it with not much time on the clock would be exciting, and nerve-wracking!

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via voice over

Game Host:
Paige was our game host and was friendly and delivered hints well, and coped with the tech failure with ease.

Did we escape?
Yes, in 44 minutes

Website: http://www.escapegameover.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £42
3 Players £60
4 Players £72
5 Players £85
6 Players £90

Project Breakout – The Dollmaker

Project Breakout – The Dollmaker. Game Date – 02/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

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Theme:
“A serial killer is on the loose. Can you avoid becoming his next victim?

The police have nicknamed the killer ‘The Dollmaker’, due to the macabre way he displays his victims after their death, dressed in handmade garments reminiscent of another era, and clutching in their hand an exact replica doll of themselves.

You have read about him in the papers, even seen the items on the news, but it doesn’t really affect you right? Things like that only happen to other people, doesn’t it? You’re too busy concentrating on your night out to pay much attention anyway…

Fast forward 24 hours. You wake to find yourself and your friends in strange surroundings. The scene is reminiscent of a horror movie. Bloody handprints all over the walls, strange medical devices scattered around the room, and worst of all, The Dolls, So Many Dolls!! As fear begins to creep in you realise you are in the lair of ‘The Dollmaker’ himself. Who knows how long it will be until he returns? Have you got what it takes to escape his evil clutches before you become yet another showpiece in his sick and twisted collection?”

A large room that was very well decorated with lots of thought and detail presented in the decor, there are lovely subtle nods to doll making, with sewing kits, dolls around the place, and creepy pictures adorning the walls. The room also portrays the serial killer aspect well, with just the right amount of blood smearing and macabre details in the decor.
The room was lit well, but torches were still provided. The room is plenty large enough for the maximum team size.
Overall a really well detailed and suitably creepy, but not scary room that delivers layers of story and immersion within the decor.

Game Play:
A linear game, that encompassed plenty of unique puzzles. Logic, observation, physical being the focus of this game.
Each and every puzzle was beautifully constructed with clear logic and wonderful ah-ha moments.
The excellence in the puzzles was added to by the theming, each and every puzzle and resulting answer was perfectly in theme and delivered a little more depth and story. A really well thought out path through the puzzles gave insight into the character and deviousness of the Doll Maker.
The flow was wonderful, with puzzles leading to solutions, clear signposting and concise logical answers with no ambiguity as to which lock to input the code into. Slick, intelligent and quirky.
The puzzles were all so interesting as they really did continue the theme, story, with elements being available from the start, and by the time you came to use them the satisfaction was undeniable.
A brilliant game, one which will please enthusiasts with it’s quirks and unusual puzzles and slick gameplay.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a voice over

Game Host:
Benn was our game host and was wonderful, warm, friendly and ran our game to perfection!

Did we escape?
Yes in 44 minutes!

Website: https://www.projectbreakout.co.uk
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £54
4 Players £60
5 Players £70

Time Trapped – Prison Break

Time Trapped – Prison Break. Game Date 02/04/2018. Team: Amy & Ian

prison break tt

Theme:
“Once is an incident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern. Bradford has fallen prey to a string of gruesome murders and you just happen to have found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, three times in a row.

The police have no choice but to arrest you, and with every new murder, the cries for justice grow ever more shrill. Whether at the hands of the increasingly desperate Detective-in-Chief or the inmate whose brother you supposedly killed, it looks like the death penalty is coming your way.

Time is definitely not on your side. Follow the clues to break yourself out of prison before the guards return!”

A really light, clean and airy room, which is quite different from all the other “prison” type games we’ve played. The decor was simple, yet fitting and created a good level of immersion. Whilst still keeping a level of “puzzle room” about it. The room is large enough for the maximum team size and very well lit. Almost a modern take on a prison cell, and it would be a rather cushy cell to be locked up in!

Game Play:
A linear game with an interesting split start, which didn’t impede the game play (as it sometimes can) – the incarcerated played can see the other player, communicate and partake until they’re freed. A very nice start.
The game had lots of different styles of puzzles, logic, word, observation, skill. Whilst most puzzles were fairly standard escape room tropes, they were executed with skill and were fitting to the theme and story. There were a couple of unique puzzles that made the game interesting, one of which we’d not seen before, so it was a novel moment.
The puzzles all had lovely ah-ha moments, and the pieces came together seamlessly to create logical answers.
The flow was wonderful, slick, and it was obvious this room had been refined to it’s best version.
A really good room for newbies, and a room enthusiasts will find satisfying in the flow and execution of its puzzles.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen

Game Host:
Amir was our game host and was  friendly, welcoming and game us a good brief. His cluing was excellent, only nudging us when we really needed it!

Did we escape?
Yes, in 38 minutes!

Website: https://www.timetrapped.co.uk/
Price:
2 Players £40
3 Players £54
4 Players £68
5 Players £80