CTRL ALT ESC: Quick-E-Mart | Review | Shop smart and shop fast because there’s plenty of points to be won. You and your team will solve puzzles and fill those trolleys, shopping has never been so much fun! IT’S TIME TO GO WILD IN THE AISLES!
Date Played: 30th November 2021
Time Taken: 62mins 27secs
Number of Players: 4
If you are in the market for some completely over the top, retro adventures then look no further. This game is an absolute riot and, potentially the most fun I’ve ever had inside an escape room! Strap in folks, here comes the positivity…
This room is going straight in my basket!
The recently opened 2nd venue for CTRL ALT ESC in Margate, Kent was the scene of this outrageous adventure. Treated like absolute royalty, we took a seat in the large reception area (which includes some cool gadgets of its own!), and here our briefing began. Lets just say the “normal” room briefing wasn’t present here. Our host, dressed appropriately in a very fetching game show host attire, set the scene superbly; a thorough introduction of what to expect, in what can only be described as showbiz!
And, for added sparkle, as a team we were then presented with our very own brightly coloured aprons and escorted up to the room to begin our game show!
Attention to Detail? This Checks Out!
Our Game Show Host escorted us to the room. Well, I say room – opening the door, you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a local shop! Our host Geoff stayed in character whilst advising us about the room and what to expect. One thing is for sure, this is no normal escape room adventure!
Here’s the deal: You are a contestant on a new gameshow Quick E Mart. Clearly, this is absolutely nothing like Supermarket Sweep (honest lol!). You are presented with a shopping list and 90 minutes in which to collect all the items and get as much money as possible. So certainly not your normal escape room, that’s for sure, but by god was this where the fun ramped up even more!
Our host left the room, we grabbed the trolley and our retro adventure commenced!
Now, the first thing to mention here is the overwhelming brightness of the room. Everything is exactly how you would think it to be in a throwback like this. Lots of inflatables, big, bright, bold colours, the lot. Something else to note are some really clever extra attention to detail areas. Make sure to look at product names, subtle nods to members of the CTRL ALT ESC team, and plenty of tongue in cheek humour! I’d suggest that the first five minutes of the game was us running around and laughing at all the different things in the room!
There is certainly nothing linear about this room. Sure there are specific things you cant do unless you have carried out actions prior to that, however on the whole, as a team we just spread out and got cracking.
Don’t forget your Shopping List!
Yep, that might sound obvious, however with so much going on in the room, its so easy to get distracted and lose track of what you were trying to achieve. And that is exactly why this room is so much fun. A clever system will keep tabs of the items you have collected along the way; some items are readily available and require just tracking them down. Others are brilliantly secured using some very innovative methods.
Don’t think traditional escape room puzzles here. Cyphers and numerous padlocks need not apply! Sure there are occasional nods to commonly utilised puzzles, however what the designers have done brilliantly here is cleverly insert puzzles into the theme of a supermarket. Nicely hidden puzzles (which are actually in plain sight!), sit beautifully on theme and do not sit out of place at all. Something short of amazing when you think about how little is locked up in an actual supermarket!
Many of the puzzles in this game are short and snappy and that really adds to the way it flows. There are one or two longer or ongoing puzzles in this room and they provided a great distraction to appreciate potentially how far into the game we were (I’m trying desperately not to provide a spoiler here!).
Walkie Talkies? No Thanks!
The big question: How the hell do you provide a clue system for a game based in a supermarket?! All I can say is: Brilliantly!
There isn’t a walkie talkie in sight. Instead pay close attention to the briefing at the start of the game as there aren’t any ‘normal’ ways of getting hints and clues that’s for sure. More innovation from the designers here – as a team we all agreed that this was possibly our favourite hint system. Very simple in practice, beautiful in execution.
We played Quick E Mart as a team of four, three adults and my 10 year old son. Now, this may sound bias however he is absolutely outstanding in escape rooms. He’s played around 10-12 games with me and he never ceases to amaze me with how he picks stuff up – and this room was no exception. Agreed that this room is a simple affair and certainly not going to be one that taxes even first time gamers, but he said, hands down that this is his absolute favourite game he has played – and he is a harsh judge!
With that in mind, I would certainly recommend this game for friends and families with children of all ages. It really hits the nail on the head between what you would expect in an escape room and what a family attraction has. Similarly, experienced escape room players need to embrace a game like this, let their hair down and just have 90 minutes of fun and laughter!
A Suitably Fitting Finale
As a team we smashed through the game at a great pace; the money was stacking up brilliantly and the shopping list had been completed! But wait, we are on a game show – we get to play the bonus round! Now, as ever, no spoilers, however be prepared for a suitably different over the top finale to this game. It will help you build up your cash and you’ll have a brilliant laugh doing it too!
When all was said and done, this was certainly one of the most fun and innovate rooms I’ve ever played. From the over the top retro theming, the cleverly inserted puzzles, the cracking clue system and the all round fun and entertainment value, this is certainly not one to miss. Brilliantly hosted, all in character, superb setting, and something very different from what you’d expect to see in many escape rooms.
So remember, next time you are at the checkout and you hear the beep, think of the fun you could be having on Quick E Mart!
Without doubt, I happily award this room a very special, well deserved, FUN FACTOR BADGE!.. 🎉
If you want to go wild in the aisles, click the link to book at CTRL ALT ESC: https://ctrlaltesc.co.uk/index.php/en/games