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
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?!”
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!
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.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and covers escape room news and reviews across the UK’s South.