Escape Quest: Chapelgate Mysteries: Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe | Review

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Rating: Just….wow!
Completion Time: 53 minutes
Date Played: 13th March 2022
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: People of all abilities who want to have a brilliantly satisfying hour of fun!

 

New building, who dis?

At Escaping the Closet we have been fond fans of Escape Quest Macclesfield for a long time, and having completed all of the rooms they had to offer pre-pandemic, we were so excited to hear that they had new stuff in store for 2021, as we weren’t sure what could top what we had already played! They reopened in October 2021 with their shiny new building and their shiny new unique concept- The Chapelgate Mysteries; a series of games set across different periods of time but all taking place in the Chapelgate district. We were delighted with this idea and so excited to finally be able to plan a return to Escape Quest. The first of the Chapelgate Mysteries quests to open is Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe, a familiar name as we had already played this game at their previous premises…. However, FEAR NOT, as although the OG Curiosity Shoppe was brilliant, the new, improved version was 99% new. Trust us when we say, it does NOT matter if you have played the previous version of the game, you will be sure to have to use your head (all the while being WOWED) throughout the game!

 

It’s bigger on the inside!

Upon arriving at Escape Quest, Elaine (side note, the friendliest GM ever) advised us of our mission. Turns out Mr Copplestone was a bit of a genius and actually managed to invent time travel. Unfortunately, in the present day, he’s down to his last Time Echo Crystal (‘what’s one of those?’ I hear you say. They’re what power the time machine, of course, what else?!), but there are Time Echo Crystals a-plenty back in his shop in1873. But, time travel being one of those risky businesses, with the portal only holding itself open for an hour, we were charged with being the ones to head back there and try to gather as many of the Time Echo Crystals as poss. Easy, right?! Well, not when you aren’t sure just how many of them forgetful Mr Copplestone has left behind! Well, at least 8 are required to successfully make it back to present day, so that is the minimum goal, but there could be MANY MANY MORE (spoiler, there are MANY)!

Of course, us being very much up to the challenge, we hopped into the time machine, listened carefully to Mr Copplestone’s advice and jet-set ourselves all the way back from 2022 to 1873 (tbf it was a welcome change to leave 2022). And then there we were on Chapel Street and our jaws literally hit the floor because we LITERALLY were on Chapel Street, home to taverns, pharmacies and of course the target location, Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe. We spent time peering in the shop windows (until we managed to get ourselves in at least), reading the signs and posters displayed on the street and searching high and low for those pesky Time Echo Crystals! There was so much to take in and oh so much to do, we felt like we were in a literal escape roomer’s heaven! The space is vast and yet there is such close attention to detail- everything is there for a reason whether that is for a puzzle itself, or the immersion of the quest, we were astounded by the thought that has gone into every inch of it!

 

Teamwork makes the dream work

It seems we managed to bring the dream team along, with Tasha and Lucy as honorary Escaping the Closet members, as we fell straight into a rhythm of exploring Chapel Street and solving the mysteries it contained. Of course, with so much space to explore and so many potential Time Echo Crystals to find, this is as you would expect, a non-linear game. We split up to make our way around, often switching up the pairings for a fresh set of eyes on a puzzle.

The room integrates the time machine (dutifully holding open the portal for us) with Chapel Street brilliantly, and we did many a dash between a Victorian era shop and the time machine for important Time Echo Crystal related business. We enjoyed this and felt it really added to the fun of the game as it gave a real sense of urgency and accomplishment as we made progress on our mission.

The puzzles are cleverly put together, and solving each one was satisfying. Every time, the solution just made sense (and the importance of that in escape rooms cannot be understated- there’s nothing worse than still not quite getting it, even after you’ve managed to solve something) However, on the contrary, there’s nothing more satisfying than that A-HA moment when you finally work a solution out as all of the parts fall into place, and that happened so. many. times. in Mr Copplestone’s! Multi-layered puzzles, where you have *that* additional step to reach the solution when you find the first attempt was good but not right, observational puzzles, logical puzzles, code-based puzzles, riddles…. the list goes on. And on. AND ON! There really is something for everyone in there, and that meant we as a team often circled round a puzzle, each taking a turn at looking at it and piecing our different perspectives together until… that magic CLICK when the penny dropped and we got it.

As we mentioned, the puzzles make sense, and we had no trouble working out which clues we should be using together for the most part. But if clues are needed, a brilliant AI based inside the time machine is always on hand to give a nudge in the right direction.

 

Something for everyone

As well as having lots of different types of puzzles, Escape Quest have done something brilliant with the mission in Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe, as it has been created as a game which is truly for all abilities. We kind of alluded to this earlier when mentioning that the minimum requirement to successfully complete the game is to retrieve 8 Time Echo Crystals. However, if you’ve managed this and have time to spare, you can collect as many of the crystals as you can (allowing for more trips through time, and who doesn’t want that?!). We understand that the average team will collect a number of crystals somewhere in the teens, but this offers the opportunity for success for the more inexperienced teams, families with young children and party groups, while seasoned experts can challenge themselves to try and find all the possible Time Echo Crystals.

Now, it’s actually classified how many Time Echo Crystals there actually are back in 1873, but we were determined to try our best to find them all, and we impressed ourselves (and Elaine and Mike) by managing to get ALL [CLASSIFIED] Time Echo Crystals with time to spare- for once searching was not our downfall!! Apparently only a few teams have managed to find all of the Time Echo Crystals, and even fewer with so much time left- apparently we came very close to Team Squared (the UK’s RedBull escape room team), so we were very pleased with our effort! 

Escaping the Closet being extremely proud of their success with finding the Time Echo Crystals

The Verdict

Elaine and Mike have outdone themselves with their first quest in the Chapelgate Mysteries and we are already so excited for what’s in store in the next chapter (which we believe is travelling to an early C20th Chapel Street, although what mission awaits us there we are not so sure…). It’s safe to say we will be booking back in for the next mission as soon as it is available!

Mike and Elaine have thought about absolutely EVERYTHING in the room, and the attention to detail is impressive. The immersion has been created to the finest level, and we are still so amazed that they have created a full street and can’t wait to visit it through time! To top it all off, they are the most lovely, welcoming hosts, and you can absolutely see their passion and love of what they do in every aspect! We are very much looking forward to returning to visit them again.

The puzzles are brilliant and varied; the space is visually stunning; we had one of the most fun escape experiences we have ever had with this room; Mike and  Elaine have created a super original; innovative concept with this room; the game is exceptionally immersive and we can’t think of another room quite like it! As they are outstanding in every category for which we award, we have decided to award Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe a Badge of Honour, our highest award, which we think is incredibly well deserved for the hard work and love Mike and Elaine put into their rooms.

 

The Chapelgate Mysteries can be booked here.

Escape Reality Edinburgh: Machina | Review

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Machina Review | A team of high-tech scientists and programmers have assembled to perform ground breaking experiments in developing the first instance of true artificial intelligence known to man. You have just been accepted onto the team of scientists and have arrived at their headquarters. After a few days you realise that scientists are suddenly leaving and that these robots are showing scarily human-like emotions. You decide that you need to leave as quickly as possible as something peculiar is happening, but all of the doors have been locked trapping you and the rest of the team inside. Can you all escape before you reluctantly become a part of the experiment?

 

Date Played: 20th March 2022
Time Taken: 48 Minutes 39 Seconds
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Medium
Recommended For: Mathematics Enthusiasts

 

Located at the start of the Union Canal in Edinburgh, the location of Escape Reality Edinburgh is perfect for a sunny Sunday. We took a calming stroll along the water, preparing ourselves for one of the more difficult rooms on offer, Machina.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by hands down the most enthusiastic Games Master I’ve ever met, DJ. His passion for escape rooms shone through, and we were impressed by his storytelling and brief explanation of the rules for our group of more experienced escape room players.

The room was very dark, and we were provided with two torches. The darkness did slow us down at points as we waited for a torch to be free, but it was a successful in increasing the sense of time sensitivity in the room as we yelled for light. The room has recently received a lick of paint with some new features added, so it felt up to date and well maintained.

 

Wake up!

I’m not sure whether our walk was too relaxing, because we were very slow off the mark to begin with. We tried to solve the first combination locks as a team, which was likely our downfall as the design of the room has changed recently to allow players to separate and solve multiple puzzles at once rather than a previous linear approach. This is a great move, and as soon as we split up, the padlocks started opening and we found our groove.

This isn’t to say we weren’t initially frustrated, and in sheer desperation we accidently took apart a prop which we thought we had justification for but it turns out we became the dreaded escape room vandals who left a trail of destruction in their path. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been superglued together by now…

 

 

Do you know any mathematicians?

A lot of the puzzles require calculations, so make sure you’ve got someone who loves numbers on your team! Our phones were locked away, so calculators were sadly not an option. I’m awful with dates, so I found some of the puzzles extremely difficult but I was able to excel at the sequence spotting elements of the room. The experience has been upgraded to include a laptop, so there’s some password hacking to do as well as essential information to discover allowing you to progress.

As well as padlocks, there were puzzles which required keypads and also some more physical tasks to complete to find solutions. Some of these triggered some exciting reveals, which is always one of my escape room highlights.

 

Need a hint?

The hint system at Escape Reality is one of my favourites.  You are given an iPad which you use as your timer, but you can also scan various QR codes throughout the room to receive a hint. We used one hint, after which you are locked out of using another for 10 minutes. This feels like a really fair way of getting a nudge in the right direction without receiving time penalties, and you also have the option of pressing a button to summon your games master if required.

 

 

The Verdict

The games at Escape Reality are always guaranteed to be great quality, and I’m so pleased that customer feedback has been taken on board to improve Machina. A non-linear approach is great for teams who prefer to separate, and some upgraded features succeed in increasing the immersion of the room. I didn’t quite experience my beloved frantic attempt at solving the final puzzle as it was a lot easier than most of the previous solutions, so it was all over quite fast – but all in all this is a great room, perfect for teams who have a bit of experience and know what to expect.

Machina can be booked at Escape Reality Edinburgh on their website here.

Mission Breakout: The Lost Passenger | Review

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Mission Breakout: The Lost Passenger Review | Based on the true story of the lost passenger in South Kentish Town tube station in 1924. In 1924, soon after South Kentish Town was closed down, a train stopped at the station by mistake, and a man absentmindedly alighted. The train departed, and Mr Brackett disappeared in the darkness. No one knows if he ever escaped. Are you brave enough to step down into the Ghost tube station and investigate the paranormal activity?

Date Played: 27th March 2022
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 47 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy

My personal escape room Kryptonite that I absolutely melt with joy when I experience in a room is authentic theming and props. An escape room themed around the building it’s set in? Tick! Original equipment and props from the era and time? Double tick! Being allowed to press buttons and pull levers from old timey 1920s railway train control rooms that by all right should probably be in a museum behind a glass window? Triple tick. YES! PRESS ALL THE BUTTONS!

Mission: Breakout is located in South Kentish Town Station. It’s in the classic tiled redbrick style of many stations around London, but unfortunately was closed down in 1924 due to low passenger numbers. The building sat there for a very long time gathering dusts… And ghosts!

 

…And he was never seen again!

We booked in to play The Lost Passenger at Mission: Breakout after a very, very long lockdown. My family are long-time fans of urban, abandoned building exploration. Our idea of a fun weekend out is putting on hard hats and descending into the old abandoned railway stations of London (on guided tours of course, we’re not breaking any laws here!). So one Christmas I knew just the gift to get them – a voucher for us all to play this escape room, set in the old disused train station in Kentish Town.

Unfortunately, that Christmas was Christmas 2020 and it took us almost 2 years until we were actually able to redeem the voucher. Even then, the day before we were all due to play, half our party tested positive with covid. After deliberating, the remaining 2 decided to go ahead with the booking – we lost the other two places on the booking but it was still worth it, if we didn’t play now, we may never have gone!

In The Lost Passenger, you descend into the depths of the station in search of a passenger who alighted from the train when it mistakenly pulled up at the abandoned station. Based on a true story, this passenger seemingly stepped off the train, walked into the darkness of the station and vanished into thin air and was never seen again.

 

The Lost Passenger. Photo (c) Mission: Breakout

 

Mind the Gap

Arriving at Mission: Breakout was exciting. It quite literally, is inside an old train station. I’m not sure what I’d expected, but we couldn’t contain our smiles at the details,

“Wow look this bench is an original Great Western Railway bench OMG!”

and

“Look at the tiling here, it’s from the 1910s!”

Our GM who came to greet us in amongst our cries of exclamation was Elza, who explained that it was of the very first escape rooms she’d run. She did a fantastic job – and even managed to tease us with a few jump scares during the game too. She led us down several corridors through the dim lights and past curious features of the abandoned railway station, until we arrived at the escape room. From here, we were shown into the lift that was to take us into the bowels of the train station from whence we may never return.

So, a full disclaimer, this room can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. We didn’t know it going in but apparently you can ask for a certain level of scariness and the host can dial it up or tone it down accordingly. Since we didn’t ask, I imagine we got an ‘average’ level of scariness. I scream easily, and my screams probably terrified my co-escaper more than the original jump scares did, but it was all light hearted fun. The kind of ‘doors closing behind you’ and ‘what’s that lurking in the shadow’ scares. No live actors, but a general level of creepiness for sure. If in doubt, just ask them to tone it down and I’m sure they will!

 

Can you read a train map?

In terms of difficulty, The Lost Passenger is definitely on the easier side. This makes it a good room for smaller groups, kids, or people who are mostly there because they love abandoned train stations. For once, I am in the last group. Although, despite it being ‘easier’, it’s still a vastly big escape room space with no fewer than 6 separate rooms, and many of those containing stairs and cool passageways. So it certainly won’t be a quick room to escape from.

One thing to flag (and it’s important to mention for accessibility reasons), is that some parts of this escape room are in the dark. Very, very dark. Almost pitch black. These rooms involve puzzles where you have to feel around for things and then try to solve them in the dark. In the escape room industry as a whole, there’s a little bugbear among enthusiasts about ‘darkness’ being a puzzle in itself. I can see why it (has to) work in this room, and it fits well with the environment – why wouldn’t you be crawling in the dark?

There are also several moments where players must crawl around on all fours in cramped spaces. Again, this is likely just the way that the original site was built, a lot of the rooms in this are workers shafts and tunnels leading between control rooms – but it’s another consideration.

In terms of puzzles beyond “dark and small spaces”, players can expect to encounter plenty of searching and finding, some jigsaws, finding objects to use in other places, and a few very fun cerebral puzzles involving operating the heavy machinery. Largely, the room is less about using your brain and more about pushing and pulling things. It’s a very physical room, and there’s more than a little trial and error to get particular puzzles working, but we liked it. My favourite thing about this escape room was that it really does use all the original equipment, and there’s something very exciting about pushing buttons and pulling levers on machines from the 1920s to make escape room puzzles work.

 

 

The Verdict

The Lost Passenger was a really fun room and well worth the long wait in lockdown. It won’t challenge enthusiasts, but that’s okay – I think the real reason to book and play this is to experience an exciting an adventure in such an impressive physical location. We loved that it was based on a true story, but what we loved the most was the setting, the theme, the creaky equipment, and the general ghostly vibes as we scrambled around the depths of an abandoned station looking for puzzles to solve. Furthermore, Elza did a great job as our host and made us feel really welcome (and more than a little bit scared).

 

The Lost Passenger can be booked at Mission: Breakout in London by heading to their website here.

Breakin’ Escape Rooms: Blackwing’s Cave | Review

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Blackwing’s Cave Review | Holy padlocks, Blackwing! The evil games-master Doctor Drakker has broken out of jail and is on the loose in Knightsbane City, swearing revenge on his arch nemesis – Blackwing, dark crusader of justice. Drakker’s goons have tracked down the location of Blackwing’s secret base and riddled it with an onslaught of fiendishly twisted puzzles, trapping you – Blackwing’s trusty sidekicks – inside. They’ve hacked the security systems against you and planted an explosive surprise in the darkness… Time is running out. Blackwing cannot battle Drakker alone. Outwit the booby-traps, defuse the bombs, escape the cave and reunite your superhero family. So don your capes and pull on your masks – you’ll need every skill in your utility belt to defeat the villain and save the city!

Completion Time: 37 minutes
Date Played: 2019
Party Size: 3

This was another one of those rooms which we booked on a whim. Having done one of their other rooms previously (Sherlock’s Despair) I was interested in what their other rooms would be like, particularly going with a smaller, slightly more experienced group.

 

The set

The theme of this room is a superhero’s lair, and it is more than obvious which superhero this is meant to be. They did a pretty good job with the room – they managed to pack a lot into a small space, and I was pretty impressed. I only had two quibbles – firstly, the set itself caused us to stumble a little with some puzzles.

In my opinion, when it comes to puzzles, you should never be confused between whether you’re doing something wrong, or something is broken. Here, the set did cause us a little confusion at one point.

My second quibble was the exit method – I won’t go into too much detail, but the method to exit the room was a puzzle in itself, which I don’t think quite worked.

 

 

The game

The game itself started off quite interesting – you’re thrust into the dark, and you get a nice little voice over. I’m really not a fan of this – I’d rather get the brief before going in – once inside I just want to get started!

The room was very linear – there were only 3 of us there, and most of the time 2 of us were doing nothing. I strongly advise you don’t go with any more than 3 – there really would not be enough to do!

That being said, a lot of the puzzles were quite interesting and mostly unique concepts I haven’t seen before. Quite a few were co-op puzzles, and there were also a fair few technology puzzles. I think technology puzzles can be a little hit and miss, and this room was no exception – there were still a few parts where the technology wasn’t seamless, or felt like it was going on a bit long.

The hint system didn’t help things either – if we asked for a hint we had to get the GM up to speed with where we were first. It was also done via walkie talkie, which I often struggle with being able to understand.

I realised whilst writing this that I am coming off quite negative about the room, which was not my intention. I do think this was a good room, but I think we got lucky with our team. Any more than 3 people and we would have been too bored, especially if we were all experienced. I also think this would have been too hard for any novices. That being said, I did enjoy myself for the majority of the time we were in there, and would have put this on my list of places to return to, if not for the customer service…

 

Outside the room

The major flaw in our experience was the customer service before and after the room. When we arrived we were shown to their lovely big waiting area, with sofas etc, but then left alone with no indication about what was happening. We were told to lock our bags away, but there were no lockers available, meaning we took everything into the room with us.

When the ‘GM’ arrived she didn’t introduce herself at all or even attempt any sort of conversation about us, our experiences etc. We were pretty much frog marched to the room, with a brief pause in a doorway to point at a few different lock types (one of which wasn’t even in the room). We found her ‘brief’ lacked any enthusiasm or energy, and I was already getting not great vibes.

When we escaped the room, we were stood alone for a couple minutes until someone on the walkie talkie evidently realised we were out and sent someone to greet us. This was a different girl than before, and she was lovely, but it was apparent she hadn’t watched our game. She offered to explain anything we didn’t understand but had no comments about how we had done, or even our time. She took a photo for us, and then disappeared – again leaving us alone in the waiting room.

At this point we got the message and decided to leave.

I actually spoke to the manager via email after posting this review elsewhere and was assured this wasn’t the norm. However, it has made me think twice about visiting again.

A good escape room experience starts the minute you walk into the building and doesn’t end until you’ve left. I’ve done average rooms that I’ve thought are brilliant, thanks to the customer service we received. This room was the opposite; a pretty decent room that has been let down by the staff on the day.

 

Was it worth the money?

We paid around £28 each for the room.

I would say the room itself would be about average, but (as mentioned) the customer experience let it down. For that reason, I would say it was worth the money, but not the return trip.

 

Accessibility

From what I recall there was one step into the venue, but the rest was flat. The room was spacious, although you do need 2 physically abled team members. There is nowhere in the room to sit down, but you will not need to navigate any obstacles.

The room starts in the dark but soon becomes lit. However, it is still dim. I would recommend having at least one fully sighted team member.

You do not need to have full hearing for this room, although it would be beneficial to hear the briefing inside, and communicate via walkie talkie for hints.

 

Do you recognise us under these masks?

 

TL ; DR

Pros; Technology, uniqueness, resourceful set

Cons; Customer service, hint system, difficulty level, linearity

 

Blackwing’s Cave can be booked by heading to Breakin’s website here.

Komnata: Doctor Frankenstein | Review

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

Completion Time: 55 minutes
Date Played: February 2019
Party Size: 3
Difficulty: Medium

Komnata is (apparently) one of the highest rated companies in the US, but for some reason, it seems to be overlooked here in London. I myself was guilty of ignoring them – they didn’t even feature on my wishlist.

However, when I was given about 2 days notice to find an escape room in central London, that had space during a Saturday, and was suitable for someone under 14…I wasn’t really left with many choices.

However, even though I perhaps went into this room a little reluctantly, and apprehensive, I am glad I did. Like most rooms, it has good points and bad points, but I left feeling like more people should know about it.

So…here you go! Here’s me telling more people!

The Set

The room we did was “Doctor Frankenstein”. It was a wonderfully done set – it really did transport us with extremely well-done decoration and set design. The theme was excellent – without giving too much away, it cleverly subverted pretty much all Frankenstein tropes I’ve come to expect. Pretty much as soon as we were in the room I realised I needed to leave my preconceptions about the room at the door.

The Game

As mentioned, I chose this room as my team consisted of 2 newbies, one of which was 12. However, that doesn’t mean this room was easy. There were some really simple, but clever, puzzles in there. I wouldn’t say there was anything new here, but then again I wouldn’t say there was anything familiar either. There were enough red herrings to be interesting without being frustrating; engaging without distracting.

The room was mostly linear, but to its credit, it didn’t feel like it. It was very well done – I only realised afterwards that really there was only one, at most two, puzzles to solve at a time. Most of the puzzles felt satisfying to solve, and there was one in particular towards the end which used a unique concept I haven’t encountered before.

One of my favourite things about this room though is the fact that, for a few puzzles, there were multiple ways of solving them. I think this was a really nice touch and was a nice way to balance out the difficulty depending on different skill sets.

However, I can’t mention the pros without the cons. The hint system here wasn’t ideal. You are essentially given a guide to the room and puzzles early on, which was a blessing and a curse. Having what was practically a walkthrough ruined a little bit of the mystery/satisfaction from working it out, as well as causing some confusion. There were also additional hints…and again I felt the timing was slightly off. We received hints after already completing what they were hinting for, and as they were given over a speaker system I found it quite hard to understand (given my hearing difficulties).

The team rocking our new glasses

Outside the room

The staff were friendly and welcoming and did a decent brief. I really appreciated how they set up the story (which I sometimes take for granted). We didn’t really get much of a debrief though, and I felt a little rushed to leave.

Was it worth the money?

I mentioned at the start that Komnata has been overlooked a little here in London, and I think that’s probably down to cost. These cost ‘from’ £27 a person, but you’re looking at £35 ahead on a weekend at least. It cost me £42pp to book for 3 of us.

When you consider a lot of London rooms charge around £25 ahead, regardless of the number, that’s quite a considerable difference.

So, was it worth it?

I don’t know. It was a really good escape room, and if it was £25 I would definitely put it on my list as somewhere to return to. However, I can’t deny the price does make me hesitate. There wasn’t particularly anything here that justified that extra cost to me. I’ve done cheaper rooms with puzzles that were just as good, or better. I’ve done rooms with just as fantastic themes and sets. Everything here was good, really good, but not exceptional or deserving of that extra £20, in my opinion.

If you’re not too worried about the money aspect, then I definitely think it’s worth the trip. However, if you’re new, or a little warier of how you spend your money (like myself) I think there are other rooms in London I’d visit above this.

After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I congratulate Komnata on a beautiful room and just hope too many people aren’t dissuaded by the cost.

Accessibility

The venue is wheelchair accessible, but the room isn’t (due to a few steps) and there isn’t really much of a waiting room. There is a chair within the room to sit on, and it is a large, wide room.

The room is initially dark, then dim, then fully lit, with good lighting throughout.

There isn’t a necessity to hear, although this may help with the hint system. There is also a section with some smoke (the smoke effect kind), but you can stay out of this if you have issues.

There is a radio playing old-timey songs as you play, but you could ask to be turned down/off if required.

TL ; DR

Pros; Great set design, the variety of puzzles, difficulty

Cons; Price, hint system

Doctor Frankenstein can be played at Komnata London by heading to this link here.

Escape London: Overthrone | Review

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Escape London Overthrone Review: The King is dead, long live the King! With no natural successor to the King the throne is up for grabs. He who raises the legendary Sword of Britain will take the throne. Legend has it that the wily old King has hidden the sword within the castle. You are first onto the scene, explore the castle and retrieve the sword before the pretenders arrive!

Completion Time: 37mins
Date Played: February 2019
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Medium

I’ve done a few Escape London games now, and I always have a great time. I booked this room for myself and one other friend, both of us fairly experienced, as it was the only one available (I need to stop booking rooms last minute!)

I always like Escape London, and think they’re a company you can rely on for a good room – enjoyable, light-hearted fun. I’ve never had a real brain workout or adrenaline rush, but have also never had a bad experience or left feeling disappointed.

The Set

Their ‘Overthrone’ room is a vaguely medieval, slightly mythical themed room – it’s like combining the legends of Arthur and Camelot with the Tudors. The brief we are given is that the king is dead and his nobles are out to kill you next – to stop them you need to find the crown and sceptre and sit on the throne.

I think this is a great set up – I haven’t come across many like it, so immediately I was sold. They already have a magic-themed room, so I was a little worried that it would be a similar set. However, they were very clever in skirting the line of “Wizard school” magic and instead focusing on the Arthurian elements. The hint of magic was really just a subtle nod, and I appreciated it.

The set was really nice. Like their other rooms, it’s obviously a plain rectangular room that they’ve decorated. However, it’s been done pretty well, with lots of nice touches. It’s one of the few rooms that actually managed to surprise me with it’s set.

My only comment would be that it wasn’t particularly big – it worked well for the two of us, but don’t think any more than 3 or 4 would fit.

The Game

The game was fairly multi-linear which was really nice. There were two of us, and we were never bored. Towards the end, it became more linear, as expected, but by that point, you’re just excited for the final puzzles!

The puzzles also perfectly suited the theme and were nicely creative. For the most part, we were able to figure out what we were doing – we only used one hint for the entire room! There were no annoying locks which didn’t work, and at no point were we left wondering if we were wrong, or if something was broken – which you can’t take for granted!

The hint system was also my favourite type – just a screen, although even this was perfectly themed to fit with the room. My only qualm with this was that there was no indication of a hint appearing.

The only other issue with this room was there were a few points where we felt a little lost, and unsure of what we still needed to do. However, when we did figure things out there was one puzzle in particular which combined a few different parts of the room into a satisfying solution.

Overall, we had a great time in this room – there was less going on than in many rooms we’ve done, but that allowed us to appreciate the set. I think seasoned professionals would breeze through it, but there is enough to keep them interested. Likewise, I would also recommend this to newcomers, as the puzzles were all really nice and I think it’s a great example of a room to get started.

Outside the room

We were greeted by one staff member, but ‘debriefed’ by another, which I don’t tend to like. However, they were both really nice and friendly. The brief before going into the room was fun and informative and got us excited to go in.

Afterwards, the GM was also really friendly, and from the way he was talking it seemed he was invested in our game, which I don’t often see. He commented that he regretted sending us that single hint slightly, as he felt we probably could have done without it, but he was very excited watching us. This was a really nice touch and shows they really care.

He took a great photo for us and gave us a discount code for a future visit (which I will definitely be using!). The venue itself had lockers to store your belongings, and are smart enough to assign each locker by room (rather than allowing a group to monopolise all the lockers). They also provide water (which I’ve stopped taking for granted now!) and have a nice waiting area.

Was it worth the money?

This room should have cost us £33 each, but we used a discount from a previous visit to take it to around £25 each. I think it was definitely worth the money for two of us, but I probably would have felt short-changed in a larger group, particularly if it was an experienced group.

Accessibility

Neither the room or venue were wheelchair accessible, and there isn’t anywhere to sit within the room. The room isn’t particularly big (as previously mentioned), but you won’t need to be physically agile.

The room lighting is a little dim, and partially sighted people may struggle to read.

TL; DR

Pros; Staff, Hint system, set design

Cons; Not enough puzzles/not clear, space

Overthrone can be booked at Escape London by heading to this link here.

Escape Rooms Cardiff: Z & Oculus | Review

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Oculus: Get into the psyche of the notorious serial killer, Oculus. Known for his obsession with eyes and scooping out his subjects blinkers, you must search his home to discover his holding room. Becky Morris, a local news reporter has been missing for some time and is feared to be his final victim. Can you come to her rescue before Oculus returns and her time runs out!?

Z: You guessed it, Zombies. You’ve managed to locate the safe house and medical unit of a zombie hunter. He’s abandoned ship and left the bunker’s defence system down. Explore his bunker and medical bay that’s in disrepair. You have 60 minutes to get all systems back up and running otherwise… You. Are. Food.

Completion Time: 65 minutes (Z), 51 minutes (Oculus)
Date Played: 2018
Party Size: 5

We completed Escape Rooms Cardiff’s original 3 rooms (Sherlock, Heist and Tomb) very early on, so when we heard they were expanding (into what used to be a Costa below) we were excited! I’m putting these two rooms together, as we did them reasonably close to each other, and had similar experiences.

The set

Z: The room is very well done – they’ve done a really good job with the set decoration, particularly given it’s not the largest footprint. They were obviously very clever in picking which theme would work well with the space they had. However, there was an element of the room which affected me, to the extent I felt unable to continue once we had got to that point, around halfway through. Technically, we ran out of time for this room, but the GM added another 5 minutes (as we were so close) and remedied the issue for me.

Oculus: Again, the set here is very well done, and a perfect balance between normal, but with things that are slightly off. There were a few bits I thought were unnecessary and/or confusing, but similarly, there were parts which caught me by surprise, and I love it when that happens! There were 5 of us, and we were stepping on each other’s toes a little, but not too much.

The game(s)

Z – As previously mentioned, I managed around half of this game before I felt I couldn’t continue. For that first half, we were actually lost pretty quickly – at one point we didn’t even know what puzzles we had to solve, let alone finding the solutions! The hint system in both of these is a screen system (yay!), but I am fairly sure the GM wasn’t watching, as we didn’t receive many hints, and when we did they were usually for things we’d already done/found.

We also found we used certain things more than once, and the use of technology in places hampered the flow. There were some interesting ideas, but for the most part, I didn’t find the puzzles particularly fun, and we found them frustrating and confusing rather than fun challenges.

The Z team – I have never been so happy to have the game over!

Oculus – This room flowed better than Z – we weren’t stumped as long here, and for the most part we either had a puzzle or a solution most of the time. We probably were stumped for longer than in other rooms, but it wasn’t too bad. There were more unique puzzles here, which were perfectly suited to the theme. The only issues we had were, again, with technology.

Outside the room

There was a real difference just walking into the venue – they’ve done it up so it looks very slick, with a screening room for the briefs, which makes things a little different. However, I do miss that human element – both times it felt very clinically when we arrived – we are asked for our names, handed an iPad to fill in and left alone. As this happened both times, with different employees, I don’t think I can put this down to an inattentive staff member.

Likewise, when we came out of the rooms we felt very rushed to leave. For Z, where I had almost the worst escape room experience ever (the worst was City Mazes), it was apparent the GM didn’t particularly care. We enjoy talking to our GMs after the game, but he was really uninterested in our opinions, didn’t appear to have even watched our game (I’m fairly certain he didn’t, as I would have expected him to remedy my issue earlier), and physically opened the door to the venue guide us out.

After Oculus, the GM was a little more chatty, and there was another GM who was also excited about how we played (I can’t remember why though!). This was a far better customer experience, but we still felt pressured to leave after having our photo taken.

Now, I’m not an idiot – I know escape rooms are still businesses, and they need to get through one customer to get to another (much like a restaurant). I’m just making the point here that I far prefer rooms where the GMs are genuinely invested in your game, willing/eager to discuss the game with you afterwards, and talk about other experiences you’ve had. I know that’s not always possible, but for this company, it is very obvious just from the venue that you’re straight in and straight out – very different from what it was like before.

The Oculus team – you can guess when we went by my amazing jumper 😉

Accessibility

There are 3 steps into the venue, but the briefing area is all flat. You then need to walk down a flight of stairs to get to these rooms, and through a narrow corridor, so there is no way they are wheelchair accessible. Oculus does have somewhere to sit (a rather comfy armchair), but Z does not. There are some smaller spaces in both rooms, but the general room for each is reasonably sized, although we found Oculus started to get quite warm.

I believe Z has added sound effects since we were there, and although they don’t mention an age limit I wouldn’t take someone below 13. It is a well-lit room, and it was easy to read text on a page. There is a screen that has flashing images – they were fairly fast, so would highly recommend contacting the company if this is something which could affect you.

We found Oculus had very distracting overhead music, which was both loud and disconcerting. We did ask them to turn it down at one point, and I wish we had done this sooner and asked them to turn it down further. The room is not the lightest, but you are able to comfortably read some text. Imagine a living room with a couple of floor lamps and you should get the idea. There is also a section where there is a dark room, like your bedroom at night if you leave the hall light on and the door open. However, you do not necessarily need to go into this room if you don’t want to.

Was it worth the money?

For Z I believe we paid £20pp for a team of 4, and for Oculus I believe it was £19pp for a team of 5 – it was paid for by a teammate, so I’m not certain!

Looking at the experience as a whole, Z definitely wasn’t worth the money – and I technically did it for free! We found the customer service sub-par, the flow of the room annoying, and I was literally stood in a corner for around 20 minutes before deciding to hit the panic button and get out. If you’re a fan of horror, or at least aren’t squeamish, you’d probably enjoy it more. However, for me I hated it.

Conversely, I thought Oculus was done a lot better – customer service, flow and theme were all a lot better. As my only major issue with this room was the noise, I would say it was worth the money.

It is important to point out these are based on my personal experiences. The rest of my team were fine in Z, and continued to attempt to solve the room, whilst trying their best to comfort me and find some way for me to participate. My criticism isn’t of the thing that caused me the issue, as it fits well with the theme and is very well done, but with how it was handled. I would have expected the GM to note that I was as far away as I could get from the source, and physically unable to continue playing, and remedy the situation sooner.

TL ; DR

Z: Pros – Theming, hint system, price (to a certain extent) | Cons – Customer service, puzzles (both flow, variety and issues), price (to a certain extent)

Oculus: Pros – Theming, puzzles (particularly the way the majority fitted the theme exactly), Price, hint system | Cons – Technology, Noise, Heat

Head to Escape Rooms Cardiff’s website here to book in to play either escape room

Time Run Presents: Sherlock: The Game is Now | Review

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Sherlock the Game is Now 221B ReviewLondon needs Sherlock. Instead, it has you. Sherlock is absent. As a rash of break-ins ripple across the capital, one thing is clear: his brilliance is required. Mycroft Holmes has put out the call. The Network seeks recruits: volunteers with sharp eyes, keen wits and a hunger for adventure. Can you step into the shoes of the legendary detective? Good luck: The Game Is Now.

Completion Time: 52 minutes
Date Played: 2019 – 2020
Party Size: 5 – 4

Please Note: This escape room was played by Georgie in 2019 as a team of 5, and Mairi in 2020 as a team of 4. This review is written jointly to reflect both experiences!

Elementary, my dear Watson

I am a huge Sherlock fan. Before that I was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. Before that, I was an Agatha Christie fan.

Basically, I like mysteries (no surprise I like escape rooms then).

When it was announced that team from the amazing Time Run escape rooms (RIP) were teaming up with the writers of Sherlock (Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss) I may have fangirled a little. Just a bit… Massively.

The Sherlock escape room would be combining two loves of mine, with the most amazing teams behind it. The question is, did it live up to the Hype?

Definition of elementary: of, relating to, or dealing with the simplest elements or principles of something.

Okay so if I had to choose one word to describe this escape room, you know I couldn’t resist the great detective’s own catchphrase “elementary”! But I must preface, The Game is Now was far from simple!

Five Orange Pips- I mean, 5 unique spaces!

First things first; the set. The room is in the W12 shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London. This is the smaller shopping centre close to Westfield, and I believe there is already another escape room there.

When you arrive, this looks just like an optometrist from the outside – it’s brilliant. Looking in, the walls are lined with glasses and the staff are all dressed in their lab coats and name tags. There are even posters on the windows advertising eye tests – truly the attention to detail, and dedication to the ‘front’ was brilliant.

I don’t want to give too much away about the room that hasn’t already been told, but most people are already aware you visit 221B. I believe they consulted the fabulous set designer, Arwul, for this – and it was amazing. It did genuinely feel like we were in 221B – lots of props from the show, including the Persian slipper, headphones on the bison, and game of Cluedo.

However…you don’t actually stay there for long. It’s just pass of the initial pre-game briefing.

The actual game rooms were…ok. I’d say they were just like good quality escape rooms, honestly. Some clever tricks here and there.

In our briefing we were told we’d travel around London very fast. They weren’t wrong! What starts as a very unassuming opticians shop quickly becomes an exciting briefing at 221B Baker Street (the iconic residence of Sherlock Holmes). We then rushed off to a series of fantastic locations from the TV series such as St. Barts Hospital, Mycroft’s office, and a brilliant (if a little creepy!) museum of medical instruments.

Each one of these rooms I’ve just mentioned was as large as any regular escape room. Furthermore, the attention to detail was practically perfect, giving a real sense of immersion. Despite never leaving the building, I really did feel like I was exploring a whole new location from the TV show each time. Wonderful!

I’ve already touched on the pre-game experience, but I do really want to emphasise how fantastic the staff were prior to the game. It was the most entertaining pre-game experience I’ve had, with some really super staff.

Post-game, you get a debrief, which was quite nice too. You get given your time (55mins for us), a brief rundown of how you performed, highlighting anything particularly clever (or stupid) that you did, and get handed a nice little souvenir. You then get to go into the bar, which again is fabulously themed, with friendly staff.

The Game (Is Now)

What of the game itself?

The reason I thought it important to mention when we went was because there had been teething problems when it first opened. However, I think this is the case for any new room, this one just happened to be more high profile, and therefore they were scrutinised more and their mistakes were more public.

However, by the time we went I think most of these issues were ironed out. We only had 2, at most 3 issues with the room, and it sounds like one of the issues only happened to us.

In terms of puzzles, it has a brilliant variety. There’s a great mix of looking for things, solving puzzles, connecting clues…it was your classic escape room.

However, one of the first puzzles we encountered was probably my favourite puzzle I’ve done in any room. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was very Sherlockian, fitting with the theme perfectly.

It was mostly non-linear, which you need with a team of 5.

One of my only criticisms for this room was the hint system. Although it was slightly different, fitting the theme for each room, we found the hints were a bit hit and miss. Most of the time we were getting hints for things we’d already done, or they came at points when we didn’t need them…or they were coming too late…I think we ultimately only used one of the hints we received.

The Perfect Game for Sherlock Fans

At this point I should maybe mention that I am personally a big fan of Sherlock. This effects my review of course! It’s not just the BBC adaptation I’ve got all the books, and gobble up every TV adaptation as fast as they come out. How on earth it’s taken me this long to visit The Game Is Now is in fact, beyond me.

If you are also a fan, The Game is Now will give particular joy of brand recognition. For the first time in my life I could stand in Sherlock’s room in 221B and look really, really closely at the books on the shelf. Suddenly, the screen flickers and Mycroft himself is talking… To me! Wooo… All the good kind of chills!

Is 221B Worth the Price?

This cost £54 each, which is quite a bit more than the usual rooms I go to.

However, I personally thought it was worth the money.

Admittedly, some of this price tag is based on the name (for me, both the Sherlock name and Time Run name). Yet, when you consider you’re effectively getting 2 hours of entertainment (at least), it’s really not much more. The room was excellent, and I had a really fantastic time.

This is definitely a room I would urge you to visit if convenient.

If inconvenient, go anyway.

I think it’s fairly understood that The Game is Now is possibly one of the more expensive escape rooms in London? I don’t have the statistics immediately to hand, but for our team of 4 players on the specific day we visited, it came in around £38 per person. On top of that, you have to pay an extra £10 if you want to purchase your digital photo. Then, there is the (extra brilliant and actually definitely worth it) upsell of “The Mind Palace” – a bar at the end of your experience to relax and talk puzzles with your team. Which yes, costs even more money. Possibly a lot more, depending on how thirsty you are.

I only really mention the price in this review because the full experience could end up costing around £60 + per person, depending on a few factors!

But that’s the big question: “Mairi, is it worth it?” Here’s my answer: Yes!

Especially if you’re a fan of the show. But non-fans will get a particular kick too. At the core, it’s more than just an escape room, it’s an immersive experience from start to finish. You can’t put a price on sneaking up to an unassuming opticians for an eye test, speaking to your favourite actors, then travelling to immaculate sets from the show where you quite literally get to become Sherlock.

Accessibility Notes

From an accessibility point of view, the room and venue were entirely flat, and I do believe there would be enough room for a wheelchair to move around comfortably, and access pretty much all of the puzzles. There was a place to sit in every section except the last.

You will need one team member who can hear, and one who is fully sighted. The majority of the experience is well lit, bar one section, which is fairly dim (and later, dark). I also found the atmospheric music a little loud at points, but not deafening, and I’m sure you could ask for it to be lowered.

The Verdict?

My team and I genuinely had a great time. For that, I have to give it an almost flawless mark. Sure, I could spend a long time picking apart each puzzle, talking about customer service, decorations, locations etc. Since originally writing this review I’ve had some negative interactions with the company, but those are for another review. At the end of the day I’m in the business of having fun and that’s what I’m looking for. Was I immersed? Did we leave this experience smiling? Yes, yes and yes.

TL ; DR

Pros; Set, Staff, Pre & Post experience, puzzles

Cons; Cost, hype, hint system

The Game is Now is located in Shepherds Bush, London, W12. Tickets start at £30 per person. The Game is Now can be booked on their website: www.thegameisnow.com

Escape Hub: Inbound | Review

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Escape Hub: Inbound Review | Word from France, you have one hour to get TOP SECRET British intelligence to safety. Axis air strikes are INBOUND. Climb and Crawl through the rubble of this bombed street of York.

Date Played: 2019
Time Taken: ~1 hour

Please note, this review was originally posted on Kent Escape Room Reviews.

About Escape Hub

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

Occupying much of the upper floor of the shopping arcade, its large glass frontage gives a great first impression. It comfortable seating area and friendly staff put you right at ease. The reception area also includes leader boards for each of the rooms and some puzzles, so get your competitive juices flowing! 

All members of the team here are very welcoming and its clearly evident that they care about their customers needs. Escorting you to the entrance to your room, your host gives you a quick briefing on what is about to begin. 

So without further adieu, here’s what to expect from Inbound:

On the Brink of War – Inbound

This room, summed up in one word – AWESOME!

Now the thought of running into a war zone as an escape room initially didn’t appeal to me until I started to read the write up provided by the Escape Hub website – when the words “Smoke” and “Crawling” were added to the mix, my ears pricked up and we booked only a few weeks after the room opened – And I was certainly not disappointed. 

The aim of this game is to obtain three British Intelligence secrets and escape. Based in war time, the scale of this room is pretty unbelievable. There is more than one large space to explore, giving the sensation of real depth and care to detail. Without spoiling the game, the way in which the designers have created this room is nothing short of genius. From the space, to the added atmosphere provided by a soundtrack, it’s a thumbs up from us.

The theme of ‘the war’ is a real hook in this escape room and impressed us a lot. We feel it would wow even the most seasoned of escapists, making it a fantastic stand out room in the genre. Think: The Great Escape.

The puzzles seem to be never ending and the effects within the room add that extra something to complete this masterpiece. Players can expect to encounter a fair deal of padlocks – which is no bad thing in an escape room, especially when it fits into the theme. Sure, in the war the boxes and munitions probably would have been locked down with a padlock… Or two… Or three.

But overall one of my favourite things were the unexpected twists and turns in this room, combined with thoroughly challenging moments. Everything is however achievable, after all we did escape! For those wondering how to get the best success from the room, I would suggest sometimes taking a step back and looking at things at face value – don’t try and overthink it! We often do ourselves! My advice would be to keep it simple and you will smash it!

A massively enjoyable experience, with a great theme, smart use of space and great effects. If you haven’t tried this room yet – you must! 

Would I recommend this room?

Yes, definitely. ​

Who would I recommend it to? 

The game is suitable for all to enjoy however not particularly easy for first timers, so maybe tried the Escape Hub’s other rooms first! It is also not wheelchair accessible, so keep this in mind when you book.

How many players would I recommend?

I would suggest that 4 players is the perfect number for this game. ​

Suitable for Children?

Given the war theme, I would suggest not and although there is nothing gruesome to worry about, the room doesn’t particularly lend itself to under 12s. ​

Inbound can be booked by heading to Escape Hub’s website here.

Project Breakout: The Complete Guide

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Project Breakout, the full run-down!

Anywhere that is within ~1 hour drive of Sheffield, we will have looked into whether there are any escape rooms that we are yet to try out. Brighouse is no exception!

The back story of us discovering Project Breakout is quite amusing – it was Sheffield Pride (which explains the face paint that some of our team members are wearing on the below picture) and it was SO rainy. We had a go on a few of the rides (it’s very amusing watching people ride of mechanical bulls in the pouring rain), but then we soon got chilly and wandered back to our house, looking for something to do for the afternoon…

Of course why not have a look into doing an escape room?!

We had done most of the rooms in Sheffield by this point and we were constrained to places that had last minute availability. After browsing the web, we came across Project Breakout’s room: ‘Operation Clearsafe’. We called them up, and got ourselves booked in. Before we knew it, we were on our way to Brighouse (although Al originally said it was in Pontefract which if you know your Yorkshire geography was quite a lie).

Little did we know what we had got ourselves into!
(especially taking two escape room newbies, so sorry guys!!!)

Photo (c) Halifax Courier

Project Breakout: Operation Clearsafe

Welp! We were led downstairs into the basement of the climbing centre where Project Breakout is based, feeling the chilly air surround us as we were taken further and further away from the safe, light, outside world.

In the briefing, we were asked how scary we wanted the room, to which one of our members said ’10/10′. But we soon shut that down and asked for a medium 5/10, which in hindsight was lucky as I think if we had had 10/10 some of our team members might have actually cried!

The premise of this room is: an experimental laboratory which has been testing on animals and humans, and has recently experienced a disaster, and accidentally (whoopsie) let loose all of the test subjects. Of course, this meant a 60 minute count down until the self destruct of the entire facility. Our aim was to get out of the facility (alive) and avoid any unwanted encounters with the mysterious subjects who were said to be freely roaming around. Luckily, we had help from our technical friend, who kept us up to date on a walkie-talkie with the whereabouts of any unwanted guests.

“He’s got a KNIFE!”

This room is very, very creepy. You are on edge throughout, with a creepy soundtrack, the (very atmospheric) actual chilliness of the basement, and many, many dark corners…

Make sure you are comfortable with the people you go in with, as you will inevitably end up grabbing hold of them, or hiding in places that are way too small to fit one person, let alone two, to avoid being seen! One of our team members took the saying ‘hiding in plain sight’ a bit too literally and decided that sitting on the floor with her eyes closed was the best way forward. She then loudly exclaimed that one of the test subjects was carrying a knife (spoiler, he was not) – and then she was pretty much paralysed with fear for the rest of the game.

It’s amazing how well a spooky atmosphere, story and an actor can escalate into something altogether more scary through the participants’ own imaginations!

The actual physical space the game takes place in is vast- it is definitely one of the biggest escape rooms we’ve played, and as such we would highly recommend taking a bigger team to take on this challenge (not to mention the safety in numbers aspect!).

We talk about this game so much, and think it is one of the only escape rooms we would choose to re-play!

These are smiles of RELIEF!

Back again…!

Project Breakout: The Dollmaker

Full of high praise from our first experience at Project Breakout, we knew we had to return! A weekend many moons ago (well, pre-covid so it feels like a lifetime ago) we headed up to Brighouse intending to play one room -The Dollmaker.

This was a dingy, unsettling room, with creepy dolls and plenty of serial killer essentials. It was nowhere near as scary as Operation Clearsafe, but it was quite creepy!

In our team of 4, we settled into a reasonably steady rhythm, navigating the puzzles on offer and taking it in turns to look after Alice when she was jumping at the slightest noise. The room is well suited to a more experienced team, and enthusiasts will find themselves facing some new challenges!

Smiling after playing three escape rooms instead of one WHOOPS

Project Breakout: Project Z – zombies and a secret bunker…

After successful completion of The Dollmaker, we wanted more, and our superb games host kindly squeezed us into Project Z. This room was set in a bunker-one of the best bunker sets we have seen (complete with a secret door none of us saw coming!).

The sound effects were perfect at heightening the immersion, with the zombies scratching and moaning, it was good for keeping you on track (and keeping Alice on edge lol).

We were having a particularly good day when we played this game, and we really clicked with this room and the puzzles.

It is not a scary room, but is effective a creating a sense of unease (Steven was utterly convinced we were going to have a zombie visitor). We escaped in a record (at the time of playing) 26 minutes, but we felt this was a very jam-packed room with some clever puzzles which very much fit into the theme and which we just happened to click with on the day!

Antidote – the cure is always to play more rooms, right?

As we got out in under 30 minutes, Benn (our host for the day) told us we were eligible for a free escape… So we made our way into the Antidote and onto room 3 (thank you Benn for being so flexible!). We were warned that this was their easiest game, but we were excited nonetheless as we knew Project Breakout do what they do very well!

This room starts with a very clever play to spring you straight into the immersive story, it’s something that makes it stand out in our memories for sure.

This room would be absolutely perfect for a beginner group! It cleverly introduces a wide range of puzzles: logic, observation, math, riddle…it was all there, and delivered really well. The storyline was excellent, and we knew our challenge was not to escape, but to solve a bigger problem(!).

Escaping in 22 minutes, we just missed another record!

Photo (c) Tripify

Overall – The Verdict

We love Project Breakout’s rooms. We have had some great days out playing their games and would be super keen to return when a new room opens. We have no doubt that enthusiasts and beginners would find something to enjoy here.

You can book yourself in to play any at Project Breakout by heading to their website here.