Can You Escape York Review | The Force Four superheroes have been captured by the mastermind Möbius! Hermes, Oculo, Torus, and Badger are being held in an unknown location and there is limited time before they are gone forever. The superhero recruitment organisation, H.E.R.O., are looking for the next super squad to help locate the heroes and return them to York before it’s too late. Gather your own squad and see if you’ve got what it takes to save Force Four!
Date Played: 18th December 2021
Time Taken: 52 minutes
Number of Players: 3
Ever watched a superhero film and thought “Hey, I could do that!”?
No… Me neither. But somehow playing Operation H.E.R.O. at Can You Escape York makes being a superhero seem easy. In this quirky escape room, four heroes have been captured by the evil mastermind Mobius. But, before the super-computer lets us in to help track the heroes down, we need to prove that we’re worthy successors.
In a series of challenges, our team of three got to prove our strength, our speed, and our intelligence before we could tackle the big finale and save the world! All in a day’s work, eh?
Honey, Where Is My Super Suit?!
One of the coolest things about Operation H.E.R.O. is the space you’re greeted with when you first walk into the room. We’d been given a briefing by our games master in the adjacent room (which has been lightly decorated to fit the theme), but instructed not to touch anything in the room until the briefing voiceover was complete. This turned out to be a tantalising instruction as this small space is absolutely packed with interesting looking puzzles under the dim neon lights. We couldn’t help but ogle at buttons, switches, mazes and more.
As soon as our timer began, we were off to a flying start! This escape room, unlike most other traditional rooms requires a varied balance of skills. Each superhero you’re ‘up against’ has a specific skill you need to match – there’s strength, speed, brains, and so on. We enjoyed this a lot and it provided each of our different team members a chance to flex their particular skills. Most of those skills are not ones you’d use in a typical escape room! In fact, most escape rooms discourage you to use strength.
It’s also a very straightforward room. Few rooms have we walked in and immediately understood exactly what to do – but Operation H.E.R.O.’s puzzles are all on display from the moment you walk through the door. What’s more, they’re numbered! Each superhero has 3 puzzles to complete, helpfully numbered 1 – 3. This culminates in one big ending puzzle which combines the skills of all superheros you’ve encountered so far. This too, although not immediately available to play, was fairly obvious from the beginning.
Because of our group size, we tackled each puzzle together and only separated once or twice for a brief moment to look around. A larger or more experienced group could likely cut their room time down to a third by playing each of the different superhero challenges in parallel – but hey, where would the fun in that be?!
For Escape Room Beginners, or Enthusiasts?
We took on the escape room in a team of three made up mostly of beginners (minus myself). In our annual Christmas trip to see family in York, I’d finally convinced my relatives to try one out. Of all the rooms in York, Operation H.E.R.O. got consistently good reviews and with a few personal recommendations from enthusiasts I trust, we booked right in!
In hindsight, possibly because that was those were the people I played with, I found Operation H.E.R.O. to be a perfect room for beginners. It’s not exactly a traditional escape room experience, but the structured series of fairly recognisable puzzles made it feel very accessible and provide a lot of ‘quick wins’ to players throughout the game. Often I spotted a puzzle (and it’s solution) early on, but encouraged the youngest of our group to try it out, cheering them along. In other places, the puzzle involved strength or skill, and it was a joy to see everyone get hands-on trying to complete the challenges.
We didn’t escape with the best time – a respectable 52 minutes which incredibly still afforded us a leader board spot for December – but everyone came out of the room with a big smile. That’s a huge win for me!
As a final note, Can You Escape York does not allow dogs on the premise. There’s no reason it should do, but since we had a dog in our holiday party and asked, I figure it’s worth mentioning to any prospective future bookers.
Operation H.E.R.O. is an escape room with buckets of charm, and we had a great time playing it. It’s a great room for enthusiasts looking for a different challenge, or absolute beginners who may benefit from a little handholding, with a fun story to boot. It was definitely the right choice of room to try on our trip to York, and if our visit weren’t so short I’d have booked in to play their second room right away! So far I’ve personally played around half of all the escape rooms available in York, and Operation H.E.R.O. is my favourite.
Operation H.E.R.O. can be booked on Can You Escape York’s website here.