Escapologic Leicester: Reactorvate | Review

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Escapologic: Reactorvate Review | Your Great Uncle was once a leading scientist known for developing state of the art nuclear technology. In central Europe, during the late 1970’s, one of his experimental reactors went into meltdown as soon as it was activated, causing one of the most catastrophic disasters in modern history...

Your only option is to break into an abandoned power plant located in rural Russia, find a second inactive reactor and start it up. If it is fully functional then you may just have the evidence to free an innocent man. If your Great Uncle is lying, then you may need to run for your life!

Completion Time: 31:27
Date Played: 11th September 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Medium

First up on our long awaited road trip was to take a step into an abandoned nuclear reactor. Our mission was to find out what REALLY happened all those years ago in the 1970s… A totally normal activity for the first time Mairi, our friend Tasha and ourselves were all in person together, right?

We were very much looking forward to seeing how our team functioned in real life. After a long lockdown of playing countless digital escape games together, would the addition of a third dimension to our normally 2D team throw us off? Would being able to see how tall our team members actually are be too big a distraction..?!

Read on to find out…

WOW – Are we actually in the 1970s?

The first thing you notice stepping into this room (well, any of the Escapologic rooms to be fair) is their impeccable attention to detail. We entered a very realistic looking ‘reactor’, complete with the classic 1970s computer vibes, colourful lights and even featuring an on theme chilly room temperature!

Those first few puzzles we encountered in the room were great at introducing us both to the game and to each other. As an introduction space to Reactorvate, it had a fantastic flow. After initially hitting a bit of a hurdle with one of the beginning puzzles, we started to get out stride as we moved into the second space on offer. From here, we split up into two teams of two to tackle the wide range of challenges on offer.

We did have one quite hefty obstacle to get around first though…

Guys, is that your hand touching me? Where are the WALLS?

Before we entered this room, our games master Courtney warned us that at one point we would be in complete darkness. And that point came quite quickly into the game and they weren’t kidding – boy was it dark!

It was the sort of dark where you can’t see your own hand in front of you, and naturally we were all quite unnerved by this. We were quietly hoping that the evil spirit, Mr Moon, who haunts Escapologic’s other game (The Gateway) had not found their way into our room!!! Thankfully no ghosts, which just left the task in hand. Once we figured out where the four corners of the space were that we were in we were on a roll. But first, where the heck is the light switch?!

Science! We’re doing SCIENCE

The technology Reactorvate uses is great. You get to do physical puzzles, mental puzzle, observation puzzles…and you get to DO so much. We love a room that offers players the opportunity to really feel as though you are ‘doing’ the puzzling, rather than simply solving notes scribbled on a page. The whole thing had such a tactile feel as we lifted heavy objects and manipulated strange contraptions we’re all too young to know the true purpose of.

There was one particular stand out element of the room that provided just the right amount of shock value it’s still seared into our memory today. Although, we still can’t figure out if it was triggered by the Games Master, by our actions, or if the course we followed was inevitable – but that’s all good theatre!

We had a great time moving around and discovering this space. It was an impressive room and one we clicked with quite well.

Overall…

We really did have a great time in our first ever in-person escape room altogether. We are glad we chose such a vibrant, exciting and impressive room to play together for the first time.

Escapologic is great too in what it offers players after they’ve (hopefully) successfully escaped – there is a HUGE wall of tags signed by 100s of teams who have made their way through one of the four games on offer. It was a lot of fun looking through these and finding recognisable names, or even finding our own one from playing Chronos what feels like a loooonggg time ago.

Reactorvate can be booked at Escapologic Leicester by heading to their website here.

Ratings

clueQuest: Revenge of the Sheep | Review

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Revenge of the Sheep Review | Professor BlackSheep is back again to destroy mankind as we know it, and this time he is not alone – he’s got an evil side-kick and together they have built a dangerous device: the SheepMutator. By mutating the human genome, the SheepMutator can turn anyone who is in the range of its evil rays into a placid sheep!

To make matters worse, the Professor has managed to set up several such devices in key locations around the planet – and one of them is here in London! You have 60 Minutes to locate and deactivate them all before they go online and it’s too late for mankind!

Completion Time: 55:23
Date Played: 5th November 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Medium

From the moment you step into clueQuest HQ you’re greeted with a large, open seating area with an impressive mural as the centrepiece. Gender neutral toilets are at the bottom of the stairs, and all areas are fully accessible with a stair lift. This inclusive, welcoming space set us up wonderfully for our first game – Revenge of the Sheep.

Everything Could be a Clue…

Our Game Master, Georgie, enthusiastically introduced us to the story behind the room. You don’t have to have played any other rooms in the series to understand and enjoy this experience, all the information you need is there for you to dive straight in.

The room itself is cleverly designed, with every inch requiring a meticulous search to find hidden clues. Don’t let the initial small space fool you, it’s jam packed with puzzles which will lead to an exciting reveal once solved. The props and artwork ensure you are immersed in your surroundings, with plenty of sheep related elements to keep you amused.

One of the things I loved about Revenge of the Sheep was that clues we discovered at the very beginning became relevant as the game progressed. It meant you were always thinking about the bigger picture rather than just tunneling in on one puzzle at a time which noticeably increased the difficulty level for us.

These clues lead to a lot of multi-step puzzles, meaning a lot of “Yes, we’ve solved it!” moments are followed by “Ohhh we now need to use this answer somewhere else” I personally love these puzzles because it feels like a huge achievement when you finally reach the end.

There was a great mix of puzzles you could go off and explore individually and some where teamwork was essential. I particularly loved the postbox puzzles for this reason, they required a mix of different skills along with good communication and I’ve not come across anything quite like it before.

Similarly, the use of a tablet for actual puzzle solving was a completely new experience for me. To be honest, I think the team at Clue HQ could tell as I required some technical pointers to fully appreciate what I was doing. Once I figured it out, it was a brilliant addition to the traditional lock route.

The hint system was flawless, using a TV screen with text when they felt you perhaps needed a bit of guidance, and a walkie talkie for anything you wanted to talk through. Josiah was our help at the end of the radio, and gave helpful, reassuring hints when required.

Time is Running Out!

The end of the game was exhilarating. We didn’t have much time left, and the lighting and dramatic music really heightened the mood in the room. Our frantic brains kept getting it wrong, and it took a few seconds of stepping back to realise the solution.

I have to say that this really is a special ending. When we initially walked into the room, we didn’t know what to expect but it certainly wasn’t what transpired! Feel free to jump around with excitement like us, but don’t forget what could happen if the clock reaches zero…

Revenge of the Sheep can be booked at clueQuest’s website here.

Ratings

Escape Kent: Prison Island Maidstone | Review

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Prison Island Maidstone Review | Gather your friends, form a team and solve exciting logic or physical challenges in themed prison cells. Play amongst yourselves or choose to compete against other teams, the choice is yours – all that matters, is that you can escape the island.

Date Played: August 2019
Time Taken: 1 Hour
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Easy

So you think you can beat the bars?

Based on Maidstone High Street, Prison Island is a huge experience and is a combination of escape room and the Crystal Maze!

The first thing that hits you as you walk through the door is the sheer attention to detail, with even the welcome desk being designed to look like its in a prison! We were politely greeted and advised about the set up of the game. From there, we were escorted to a briefing room, provided with our room key and then set to work on the epic hour long experience.

Prison Island Maidstone Exterior

This isn’t a traditional escape room – its basically a Crystal Maze style adventure where you have 1 hour to score as many points as you can within the 25 different cells. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team is key, as you don’t wan to get bogged down in rooms and waste your time!

Each room is brilliantly themed and the tasks range from physical, mental and technical. WE quickly found out that the mental rooms weren’t our strong suit so we set to work on the more physical challenges.

I would hate to spoil some of the surprises so wont go into detail about what’s inside the rooms, but some real highlights for escape room fans would be Burglar, The Joker and The Prison, so be sure to try those within your allotted time!

An experience that I will never forget and certainly one you could do over and over again – in fact we are putting the team together for another try here very soon! (Update – we returned a few months later and had just as much fun the second time around!)

Nick & Team Escaping!

Would I recommend this room?

Yes, for sure. An adrenaline fuelled, exciting adventure you will never forget. 

Who would I recommend it to? 

Everyone! Groups of friends, families and work outings! 

How many players would I recommend?

3 players is perfect – we did it as a 2 which proved tricky in some rooms. When we returned as a four, this 1 person too many!

Suitable for Children?

Yes. Over 5’s would be fine. Some of the challenges would still be tricky for young members of the team, however you can always leave them rooms if you want! 

Image (c) Prison Island

Ratings

Hysteria Escape Rooms: Aftermath | Review

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Hysteria Escape Rooms: Aftermath Review | In a world where the infected kill & eat the living, how much time does anyone really have? In a secret facility a team is working on a cure to the zombie virus but communications are down and we need to send in a response team… CAN YOU AVOID INFECTION & HELP SAVE HUMANITY?

Completion Time: 54 Mins 55 Secs
Date Played: 30 June 2019
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Medium

This is the first room that was designed by the guys at Hysteria and they really hit the ground running – This is an awesome, well paced experience which is an exceptional challenge.

Based on the fact that you need to find an antidote and escape from the clutches of a zombie apocalypse, this is one of those rooms where the pressure certainly builds. Another room where the the point is to ESCAPE!, this hit a home run with me and the team.

Good use of props, some well timed surprises, a simple yet exciting plot,  as well as some really well put together puzzles (many of which I hadn’t seen before!), this certainly puts this room up their with our personal favourites. The sense of tension within this adds to the atmosphere.

Would I recommend this room?

Yes, certainly. Great room, great atmosphere and hugely enjoyable. You will not be dissapointed! 

Who would I recommend it to? 

There are handful of trickier puzzles which may fox the most experience escapist, so maybe players that have a few games under their belt however if you want a challenge, this would be a great benchmark game for beginners.  

How many players would I recommend?

3-4 would be a great number in this room. Although not huge in size, the puzzles often need more than 1 brain! Communication is certainly key in this room. 

Suitable for Children?

Not young children! Hysteria suggest 12+ which I would agree with with.

Ratings

Hysteria Escape Rooms: Motel California | Review

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Hysteria Escape Rooms: Motel California Review | The year is 1963. In a motel room on Route 66 there has been a murder. Word has it that a large sum of money is hidden in the room… WILL YOU BE THE ONE TO FIND IT?

Completion Time: 56 Mins 18 Secs
Date Played: Aug 2019
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Medium

A murder mystery room with a twist. You enter the Motel California after word has got out that there is a large sum of money hidden within it. In the year 1963, the police had tracked down a band of bank robbers – It is your job to find their loot. 

Welcome to the Hotel California… Such a lovely place

This room really packs a punch and is hugely enjoyable. The mix of murder mystery and loot finding is a great combination. Some rooms of this style can get a little similar however this certainly breaks the mould.

There is a lot to solve and you are really hit when you first walk in by literally knowing where to start. Its quite easy to see what you have got to do, however doing it is a different matter! A real great mix of short punchy puzzles and longer fact finding missions make this a great challenge, which is not only well themed, but also fast paced.   

Photo (c) Hysteria Escape Rooms

Would I recommend this room?

Yes, certainly. The variation of challenges, the pace of the game and the theme add up to a great experience.

Who would I recommend it to? 

Anyone! Although the room would be challenging for newcomers, everything is achievable if you set your mind to it.

How many players would I recommend?

4 would be a great number in this room.

Although not huge in size, the puzzles often need more than 1 brain!

Suitable for Children?

Yes.. Although I would suggest slightly older children as the puzzles can be taxing!

Ratings

Enigma Quests: The Million Pound Heist | Review

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The Million Pound Heist Review | Your team is breaking into the safehouse of London’s most notorious criminal gang. You will have to analyse highly confidential information, navigate your way through top level security and all this before you can even attempt to enter the vault. Of course there is money involved, but the challenges along the way will be tough and efficient teamwork will be absolutely essential to get you anywhere. Only the top scoring teams will make it to the leaderboard. Do you have what it takes to make the top ten?

Completion Time: 40 minutes
Date Played: 3rd October 2021
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Medium

If the name The Million Pound Heist evokes images of a similarly named TV show from a decade ago… You’re not alone! But there’s something so exciting about knowing there’s a whole million pounds (that’s $1,362,345 USD for our American readers) up for grabs and you’ve got 1 hour to get out with as much as you possibly can.

Bring on the challenge!

About The Million Pound Heist

The aim of The Million Pound Heist isn’t to escape in the fastest time, it’s to escape with the most money. This is for the best, as we actually missed a vital clue at the end of our game, and walked out of the room thinking we’d finished with a whopping 35 minutes left on the clock. Our Games Master came rushing out to tell us we’d missed something and that we could go back in if we wanted and try to get some more money with our remaining 35 minutes… Oops!

This seems to be a recurring theme with Enigma Quests, as the only other game we’ve played (so far) was Witchcraft and Wizardry, in which the aim of the game wasn’t to escape the fastest, but to pass all your magical tests.

Since a friend I used to escape with frequently was back in down for one day (and one day only), of course we had to book ourselves in for old time’s sake. For this reason, we found ourselves on a bright and sunny Sunday morning locking ourselves in a safehouse and scrambling to get as much cash in a briefcase as possible. Typical Sunday, eh?

We set off ALL the alarms…

One of the things I loved the most about the Million Pound Heist was the decor. For a Heist room, it’s pretty good! When you first open the door you’ll be greeted by a pretty cosy looking safe room. If I were a super thief, I’d want to hang out here too… But no time to sit down! We were immediately on our toes rummaging around trying to open cupboards and look behind plant pots figuring out what to do.

The game gets off to a slow-ish start with some paper-based puzzles, but we found there was just enough to do for our little team of 3 to keep us all busy and occupied in that first space before the exciting part of the game begun: Breaking into the vault!

The second (and third, and fourth) spaces in the escape room are the exciting part. It’s not too much of a giveaway to mention that there’s an exciting laser maze. By this point, I feel like it’s a given in a heist room, but Enigma Quest does theirs pretty well.

Unfortunately, we barrelled straight through the laser maze setting off all the alarms… Oops!

But more than your standard laser maze room, what I enjoyed even more was a very creative pressure plate puzzle that forced us into a hilarious gymnastic-like round of Twister! Good job we’d had our morning coffees.

How fast can you count money?

In terms of puzzles, there’s an interesting mix of puzzles that ranged from the “we loved it” to “ehhh, not a fan”. So really… The puzzles were like marmite! Some we loved and some we didn’t like at all. As mentioned, one of the first puzzles players will encounter takes place over a piece of paper which is a little hard for a bigger group to crowd around. Similarly, the last puzzle which, if you choose not to bypass it, quickly reveals itself to be a repetitive exercise which could (and did) take a team a very long time to complete. There was a lot of maths, and counting, and looking for things which are so cleverly hidden we had to search and re-search spaces several times to find them.

Thankfully we had a maths graduate, an accountant, and someone who is quite short and doesn’t mind crawling around looking for things (me!), so it worked out alright.

By contrast, there was a delightful number of very tactile puzzles that involved moving, stepping, jumping, pushing, pulling, and sliding around the room. Any room that makes me jump around like a headless chicken with a big grin on my face is a double thumbs up.

We didn’t ask for any clues as none of the puzzles were particularly difficult, so I can’t comment on the clue system. However I will mention that every clue you ask for will deduct 10% of your total earnings from your ending. This means that if you ask for 10 clues or more, you’ll walk away with nothing.

Crack the Safe, Bag the Loot!

We scored £620,535 in winnings out of a possible £1,000,000. Apparently, this is above average. Our GM informed us that most teams escape with around £250,000, and because we escaped with no clues we also all took home wristbands to proudly show off our success. It was a really nice touch, and it was enough to get us a spot on the leader board!

Overall, its a really fun room with some nice, unique heist mechanics. It wasn’t always clear what to do and the fact we did walk out of the room accidentally early thinking the game was over, only to be told to go back in was a bit of a hiccup in an otherwise fun experience – but on the other hand I suppose it’s our fault for not noticing some small details which may have hinted that no… The game was far from over!

The Million Pound Heist can be booked at Enigma Quest by heading to their website here.

Ratings

Hysteria Escape Rooms: The Forgotten Realm | Review

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Hysteria Escape Rooms: The Forgotten Realm Review | Arvior the wizard is once again in need of your help. He has been left in a powerless state after an evil curse was placed over the castle, trapping him inside a painting. Now the curse has been broken and the sorcerer who placed it seeks revenge . We call on the brave and noble to embark on a dangerous journey and help protect the realm.

Completion Time: 47 Mins 22 Secs
Date Played: 18 Nov 2018
Party Size: 6
Difficulty: Medium

Interested in the world of magic, mystery, witches and wizards?! This is certainly the room for you.  The Forgotten Realm is based on the fact that the room has been cursed and it is your job to find the spell and lift the curse.

The real thing that makes this escape room stand out above others is its theme. Although certainly not a large escape room, when walking through the door you will be hit by the sheer attention to detail. All games stick strictly to the theme of magic and wizardry and there are some great surprises in the hour that follow. 

When carrying out the puzzles within the room it is easy to be distracted by the numerous items within the room, plus a little surprise from time to time so concentration is key! Many of the puzzles are riddle-based and, although some can be tricky, all are achievable. The finale of the room is different to anything you are likely to experience in any other room! 

Would I recommend this room?

In short, yes. The mix of a real solid theme, brilliantly decorated room, some use of technology, a handful of surprises, plus some challenging puzzles, mean I would certainly recommend it. 

Who would I recommend it to? 

Players that have played a few rooms before however aren’t hugely experienced

How many players would I recommend?

Around 4-5, taking into consideration the size of the room and number of puzzles inside

Suitable for Children?

Yes, however I would suggest being accompanied by adults as some of the puzzles are more complex.

Unfortunately The Forgotten Realm is now retired but you can support Hysteria Escape Rooms here.

Ratings

Escape Hub: The Laughing Lair | Review

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Escape Hub: The Laughing Lair Review | Locked away in ‘The Laughing Lair’, you have been given the chance to escape, but you will have to work together to get out before he changes his mind. Can you escape this villain’s lair?

Completion Time: 52 minutes
Date Played: 2018
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Medium

Escape Hub is located within the Royal Star Arcade on Maidstone High Street. Conveniently situated in the town centre, easy to get to yet a real hidden gem.

Occupying much of the upper floor of the shopping arcade, Escape Hub’s large glass frontage gives a great first impression. It comfortable seating area and friendly staff put you right at ease. For the competitive escape room players among you, the reception area also sports a leader board for each of the room – so time to get your competitive juices flowing before the game!

Photo (c) Escape Hub

We’ve always found that all members of the Escape Hub team are very welcoming, and it’s clearly evident that they care a lot about their customer’s needs. Players will be escorted to the entrance of their room, and from here the friendly host will give you a quick briefing on what is about to begin.

In our case that was…

Creepy Clowns & Funfair Lights!

I can fully understand people’s worry when I say it’s a “clown and funfair” themed escape room – I know a lot of people who suffer from coulrophobia (phobias of clowns). By contrast, one of the many joys of The Laughing Lair escape room is that you don’t need to worry about them!

The theme of The Laughing Lair is that you and your team have been captured by a clown-like villain, but after waiting in it’s lair long enough, you finally see an opportunity to escape. The villain will be returning to it’s lair within an hour… Giving you and your team just 60 minutes to solve all the puzzles and escape!

Clues are delivered via a speaker system by your Games Master, who is on hand for any hints should you need them!

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

I would suggest that my overriding hint for this whole room for all players would be “TEAM WORK”. Particularly at the start of the game team work and communication are vital. It’s worth mentioning that The Laughing Lair is a room that starts unlike any other and it’s brilliant!

Overall, a hugely enjoyable room and every moment of your experience sticks to the funfair theme. Players can expect a combination of fast-paced puzzles, logic riddles, and physical challenges, all mixed together to form this masterpiece of a room! Fans of padlocks will also be pleasantly surprised in this experience, as there was quite a few to be grappled with. Players will be provided with a torch to get them started, but from there it’s all up to you to escape with your wits!

The sense of tension, brought on by such a strong theme *shudders*, is fantastic. It all adds up to a very eerie feel.

This room is a must for all!

The Laughing Lair can be booked at Escape Hub by heading to their website here.

Escape Reading: Kidnapped | Review

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Escape Reading Kidnapped Review | You wake up in a small darkened room. Nobody can clearly remember it all seems so blurry. You realise you have been Kidnapped.

Completion Time: 55 minutes
Date Played: 29th August 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Hard

Ask any escape room enthusiast and they’ll tell you Reading is absolutely packed with escape rooms. Since were in town to play Escape the Chop, we couldn’t resist booking as many more as we could fit in the day. Not quite ready to take on their terrifying, 16+ The Vampire Slayers room, we opted to start our Escape Reading adventure with Kidnapped!

About Escape Reading

Escape Reading has two locations around Reading town centre, which is worth keeping in mind when you make your booking. The largest of the two sites in Queens Walk houses Kidnapped, The Vampire Slayers, and Blown Away. The smaller of the two sites is over in Audley Street and is home to Ram Raid.

Since Queens Walk is a stone’s throw from the canal (a great spot to grab a meal and a celebratory drink once you’ve escaped!), we easily found it and got to spent a little time in the company’s excellently furnished lobby! Before any game, your briefing is given by a video explaining what to do and what not to do in the room. It was a light-hearted and funny video full of instructions that prompted us to be like “wow what happened in this room that they had to add that rule to the briefing?!”

Whilst you’re there, you can also purchase many Unlock! and Exit the Game boxes, which was a super nice touch.

Our Games Master for Kidnapped was Julia – an all round lovely person who brought buckets of enthusiasm to the whole experience. Each GM at Escape Reading has a room that they’re an expert on, and it really shows! Due to COVID-19, another team in the lobby meant we had to hang around a little longer in our room waiting for their game to start, but Julia expertly showed us around pointing out some little details and Easter Eggs we missed along the way.

You Have Been Kidnapped…

We were recommended to try Kidnapped first, and we weren’t disappointed! It’s a classic “wake up in a strange place” room which started in pitch dark – the only comfort was VO actress Charlie Bond from Deadlocked escape rooms’ voice over the speakers.

After fumbling around a little we eventually found a toilet (yes! really!) Starting in a slightly more sparse space meant we used quite a few clues to get us going at the start, but once we moved from the first room into the next (and the next, and the next… This room is HUGE!), we were off to flying colours.

Kidnapped is best played with a slightly larger group, mainly due to how big it is and how much there is to do! I counted at least 4-5 unique spaces within the room, each packed with puzzles. Our GM explained afterwards that a few of the items we hadn’t used were only part of the room if you booked for a team of 4 or larger. On the one hand, we definitely would not have escaped if there had been even more puzzles. On the other, we did spend a bit of time looking at things which were never used in our, limited game.

Whether or not you play the limited version we did, or the full version for a larger group however, Kidnapped is sure to surprise and delight! With a very simple premise of “get the heck out of there”, the room affords to be story-light and puzzle-heavy. Perfect for those looking to stretch their brains, especially after the long lockdown.

“Can you feel a toilet?”

To comment on the theming and decor of the room would probably be a spoiler, since alongside your goal to escape – your must also figure out what the heck is going on! Who took you, and why?! To reveal what we found beyond the first space would spoil the fun… So instead we’ll just say that of the 5 unique spaces we encountered, they were all themed (and decorated) well for the setting!

Kidnapped, despite the name, is not a scary room. Minus setting off an alarm (which made our time temporarily count down twice as fast), there’ll be no jump scares or encounters with actors. Just you and the room.

Every Type of Puzzle in this Escape Room

In terms of puzzles, there quite literally is one of each type of puzzle – something for everyone! Players can expect to encounter a sound puzzle, some physical puzzles, searching and finding puzzles, cipher puzzles, a touchy-feely puzzle, sorting puzzles, some high tech puzzles and low tech puzzles, and a surprising amount of word puzzles too! The hardest puzzle of them all? Encountering a piece of tech anyone born before 2000 will recognise and we were all stumped by. “How do we turn this thing on?”

Joking aside, there’s a tonne to do, so bring your A-Game and your A-Team!

There were two moments in the game where we… *nervously glancing around* … Brute forced a solution. One time by pure accident – in looking for the last digit of a code we’d accidentally already set the lock to the correct number and it clicked right open on first try. The second time, the puzzle didn’t entirely work for us. I’m happy to admit user error since after being shown the correct solution by our GM, I can’t see how we possibly got it wrong so may times… But it is an interesting note to say that the ‘correct’ way to solve the puzzle would have taken 2-3 people around 5 minutes, but instead 1 of us brute forced it in 30 seconds!

Since that’s just one drop in a huge ocean of otherwise brilliant puzzles which put all our faculties to test, I’m not holding it against Kidnapped in the slightest! As players, with the clock ticking down as fast as it was (is it just me or does time speed up when you’re in an escape room?), let’s just say we ‘thought outside the box’ to crack that particular code and it meant we escaped on time. So win-win!

The Verdict

Kidnapped was a well balanced room in the heart of Reading that would be absolutely perfect for a larger team of 4 or more, perhaps even made up of folks who have never done an escape room before – since it contains a little bit of all the best puzzles you typically see in an escape room! Good puzzles, nicely decorated, and absolutely amazing customer service from our lovely GM Julia!

Our little team of two had a lot of fun, and it was a perfect room to squeeze into our day trip up from London. how soon is too soon to book another room at Escape Reading? We can’t wait!

Kidnapped can be booked at Escape Reading by heading to their website here.

Ratings

Escape Nation: The Citadel | Review

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The year is 2321, Earth’s population has spread out into space. Mega-corporations have built space stations throughout the galaxy. You have not long arrived on-board a Citadel class space station owned by the Federal Defence Union (FDU). The main function of this Citadel is scientific research and development. The night you arrived, the station’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) was beginning to malfunction. And now, only one week later, the Citadel’s main power has just shut down, and the backup generator has come online.

The doors won’t open, communications don’t work, and you can hear some unusual noises from other parts of the space station. Can you escape before the backup generator goes offline and you’re trapped on-board forever?

Completion Time: 32:30
Date Played: 26th August 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Moderate

We have seen a lot of good reviews flowing in for Escape Nation’s room, The Citadel, so we took the opportunity of visiting Al’s parents to journey down to Stafford – and we were NOT disappointed! This room was BRILLIANT. It was definitely a good choice to play with Al’s parents, who are big fans of ‘puzzle content’. We actually managed to escape with the second fastest time ever recorded, which we were absolutely stoked with.

The logic definitely was not puzzling…

When things ‘click’ in an escape room, it always makes a room more appealing. As a group of 4, it was surprising that we all seemed to gel with the puzzle flow and the use of logic in the room. This was one of those rooms where you kept seeing new puzzles that were yet to come, which can be distracting as you get excited about the puzzles still to solve, whilst you are still figuring out the previous puzzle. 

We split up into two duos for the majority of the room, each moving through different puzzles, and coming back together at the particularly ‘tricky’ bits! Some of the puzzles used in this room were ones we haven’t seen before (which is unusual now we’ve done >150 rooms!). Others were more ‘classic’ escape room puzzles, but when delivered so well, these are a joy to solve. We even managed to do some searching, successfully! Perhaps it was the addition of Al’s parents, or perhaps it was just a good day for us, but we will take that victory haha!

Artificial Intelligence… Friend or foe?!

The interaction between the players and the AI in this room was great. We love a good sci-fi story, and this did not disappoint. In fact, we thought we had finished the room at one point (so much so that Al’s mum had gone and put her coat on!), only for a rather alarming alarm to sound, and the narrative took quite a dramatic twist. We quickly dropped our bags, took off our coats and returned to puzzling. It was fun to see parts of the room we had thought we wouldn’t interact with suddenly open up and become part of the gameplay – a welcome surprise.

We are so glad the room ended like this. We weren’t quite ready to leave the room when we thought we had finished, and loved the opportunity to face even more puzzles. It made the experience feel much fuller and really helped to create that ‘last minute’ game tension that can sometimes be missing from rooms which you click with so well.

Overall

We can’t recommend this room enough. The puzzles, the decoration, the hosts, everything was brilliant. If you are in the vicinity of Stafford, definitely make your way across, and see if you can beat our time!

You can find Escape Nation on this website here: https://www.escapenation.co.uk/

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