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

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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

 

The Panic Room – LOOP

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

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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

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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