Escape Hunt: Escape the Wild West Review | You’ve struck gold but word got out and now the vultures are circling. Step into the Wild West, where the tiny frontier town of East Victoria is celebrating the discovery of gold.But the celebrations turn sour when news arrives that the bloodthirsty Bill French Gang are on their way to claim the gold – and kill everyone in East Victoria for good measure!
With no sheriff around and no cavalry riding to the rescue your only hope is a rusty old locomotive that hasn’t worked in years – but with just one hour to get it going and escape with your lives, you need to think fast and work even faster.
There isn’t a second to lose.
Completion Time: 53:21
Date Played: October 2019
Party Size: 3
Once upon a time, if you can believe it, the thought of going into a global pandemic was unimaginable! It is back to these innocent days I’m casting my mind to, in order to write about Escape Hunt’s Escape the Wild West. A day trip to Oxford in October 2019 with two colleagues and we were off to try out the Oxford equivalent of Operation Mindfall, the escape room The Fourth Samurai and to round off a perfect day – Escape the Wild West too.
Finding Escape Hunt Oxford
Whilst Escape the Wild West is available at many of the Escape Hunt sites across the UK, we chose to play at Escape Hunt Oxford due to it’s convenience from London – just a short train trip away, and an even shorter walk up from the station. Escape Hunt Oxford is located within the Westgate shopping centre and surrounded by delicious restaurants and things to see and do.
A Classic Non-Linear Escape Room
On the day of the escape, I felt a little unwell (hey, probably ate too much for lunch! In any case, not recommended!), but the non-linear nature of the escape room meant that I could take a little bit of a step back and root around for clues in amongst the cowboy memorabilia whilst the meatier puzzles were solved by my team mates! We took on this whirlwind wild west adventure in a team of 3 puzzlers with varying escape room experiences under our belt.
Essentially, your goal is to escape on a steam locomotive! However, along the way you’ll find plenty of hidden gold bars. You can collect these as you go for an even more spectacular escape, or you could flee the scene of the crime with nothing at all. Collecting gold bars comes with a price however. The more gold bars you collect, the heavier the train is and the more coal is needed.
In short – its a delicate balancing act, and how you choose to escape is up to you! If you find yourself with too much gold and aren’t able to power your train, you can always throw them out. This means the escape rate, practically speaking, must be very high. Thankfully we found 100% of the gold bars, and 100% of the coal to fuel our train. All in a days work for these cowboys, eh?
Welcome to the Wild West
One of the room’s most redeeming features is how well it’s been themed! Escape hunt’s rooms are nothing if not well themed to their genres, and Escape the Wild West is no exception with it’s 3-room space. First players must break into the station, and finally must break onto an old rusty locomotive.
Yes, you heard that correctly! There’s a whole train in this escape room that from the very first moment you look at it, you can’t help but want to beak into it.
I’m not familiar with what the actual Wild West is like, but I reckon it’s a lot like this. There are barrels and boxes scattered everywhere, and of course a lasso and several cowboy hats hanging on the walls. With real wood walls, it felt authentic. Musty and full of life and tension.
Plenty of Padlocks to Keep the Gold Locked Up!
In terms of puzzles, Escape the Wild West involved a lot of padlocks. This is not common for Escape Hunt games, which largely involve more outside the box puzzle solving and remote GM activation. But the number worked really well in the Wild West setting. I mean, why wouldn’t the Bill French gang have locked up their gold behind padlocks? I believe it.
Besides the padlocks, there’s a range of fun puzzles to do and they can be done in any order. These include some physical dexterity puzzles, some switchboard puzzles, and one slightly frustrating logic puzzle inside the train, the solution trigger for which needs to be triggered by the GM. But overall, each puzzle made sense within the Wild West. Nothing felt too contrived, and there was a good mix of things that each member of the team could work on separately or collaboratively!
At the time of writing, I’ve played every one of Escape Hunt’s escape rooms and I can safely say that Escape the Wild West is my favourite, followed by Blackbeard’s Treasure. If you’re looking for a family friendly day out and are in one of the many cities Escape Hunt is located in, Escape the Wild West is worth checking out.
Finally, a shout out to our Games Master Chris who provided a fantastic American accent to get us into the theme of the game up front. Yeeehaw!
You can book Escape the Wild West at a number of Escape Hunt venues.
Escape Hunt: Escape the Wild West Review
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and covers escape room news and reviews across the UK’s South.