Mythologic Escape Rooms: Needlenose | Review

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Needlenose Escape Room Review | Don’t be the next victim of the Copycat Killer Clown!

Date Played: 2019
Team Size: 4
Difficulty: Medium

 

Mythologic Escape Rooms have two locations which are based just off Gillingham High Street, one in an upstairs unit above some retail outlets. With a blacked out front door, with some cool graphic design explaining what to expect inside, and large Mythologic sign, the unassuming building houses two escape rooms which really pack a punch. The other a large double fronted shop with HUGE Mythologic sign, certainly making it difficult to miss!

Greeted at the door by the owners/designers Michelle and Chris, the welcome could not have been warmer. Both waiting areas are open and airy, with a comfortable reception area, we are offered a comfortable seat and somewhere to lock away our belongings. Water is readily available and there is well appointed lavatory area (which also has a number of essential personal hygiene products, such as deodorants etc. which is a lovely personal touch)

A briefing commences within the reception area and the disclaimers are all signed on digital tablets (which makes the hassle of pens and paper disclaimers feel like a distant nightmare)!

It is clearly evident from chatting to the owners that they are passionate about their rooms and obviously their customer service, which was faultless. We were made to feel at home with their personal yet professional touch.

 

Who Wouldn’t Love to be Locked in the Sewers?!

Who wouldn’t love to locked in the sewers with a killer clown on the loose hell bent on capturing you and taking your life!? No?! Why not?! This hour of tension, horror and excitement is an absolute scream! We loved it!

This room has taken the team at Mythologic a huge amount of time to create, design and build and walking through the door it is evident to see why! The combination of great theme, strong design build and the addition of a live actor brings, this game to life as you are plunged into the dark world of Needlenose the copycat killer clowns mind!

The room has a fair few observation-based puzzles alongside some physical games which played alongside the theme beautifully. Every puzzle fitted into the room very well and it wasn’t always clear what we were meant to be doing, which was a real plus as it gave a greater sense of reality!

Be prepared to be on edge! Everywhere you look in this game, there is something to keep your nerves rattled. As ever, no spoilers, however , there are a handful of surprises in this room which made us scream (both in terror and excitement!) It does however balance the level of scares very well to still give you the opportunity to complete the numerous puzzles inside.

 

The Verdict

All members of the team loved this game and place it in high esteem, and in great company with our absolute favourites. There are some tricky puzzles inside which certainly challenged us (and being the first physical game after lock down, the grey matter really got a run out!) but everything was achievable, even if you need a subtle hint like we did!

 

Dont be a clown! – Put on your big boy pants and head down to Mythologic to play this game. It is certainly one you wont forget in a hurry!

Would I recommend this room?

Definitely! The theme and mix of terror and strong puzzles put this up there with our favourites!

Who would I recommend it to?

Groups of friends and families would love this. More experienced players will still be challenged for sure and likely be in awe of the play area.

How many players would I recommend?

Around 3-4, taking into consideration the size of the room and number of puzzles inside

Suitable for Children?

Absolutely not!

 

Needlenose can be booked by heading to Mythologic’s website here.

Mythologic Escape Rooms: The Game | Review

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Mythologic Escape Rooms, The Game Review | Can you escape our Jumanji style escape room?

Date Played: 2019
Team Size: 4

Mythologic Escape Rooms have two locations which are based just off Gillingham High Street, one in an upstairs unit above some retail outlets. With a blacked out front door, with some cool graphic design explaining what to expect inside, and large Mythologic sign, the unassuming building houses two escape rooms which really pack a punch. The other a large double fronted shop with HUGE Mythologic sign, certainly making it difficult to miss!

Greeted at the door by the owners/designers Michelle and Chris, the welcome could not have been warmer. Both waiting areas are open and airy, with a comfortable reception area, we are offered a comfortable seat and somewhere to lock away our belongings. Water is readily available and there is well appointed lavatory area (which also has a number of essential personal hygiene products, such as deodorants etc. which is a lovely personal touch)

A briefing commences within the reception area and the disclaimers are all signed on digital tablets (which makes the hassle of pens and paper disclaimers feel like a distant nightmare)!

It is clearly evident from chatting to the owners that they are passionate about their rooms and obviously their customer service, which was faultless. We were made to feel at home with their personal yet professional touch.

 

 

Enter The Game

Are you ready to play the ultimate board game? Who isn’t? Its quite simply. All you have to do is find the pieces of the game, complete the challenges the game gives you to win the gem. Sounds easy right? Wrong! This room is an absolute team favourite on the Kent escape room scene.

Creativity is an understatement – this room has been carefully crafted and works well throughout the experience which can be loved by all members of the family young and old. Attention to detail is second to none and as you continue through the room, you will be blown away.

The room contains a number of puzzles and riddles that many of the team hadn’t seen before and this is a real plus. The room houses a great mix of different styles including physical games, riddles, padlocks and electronic games.

 

 

The Verdict

This is certainly a room where paying attention is key – communicate with your team and listen closely to the what you see and hear. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of comfort in this room and the time ticks away quicker than you think. This is certainly a room that the team and I will not be forgetting in a hurry – for a great hours worth of entertainment, this is sure to be a real family favourite.

Would I recommend this room?

For sure! A great theme and a strong combination of puzzles make this a sure fire hit!

Who would I recommend it to?

Anyone! Great for beginners through to experienced escapists, it will get the escape room juices flowing

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, perfect for them as it contains a great movie theme, plus games and activities they can get involved in.

The Game can be booked at Mythologic Escape Rooms by heading to their website here.

Mythologic Escape Rooms: CSI: Time’s Up | Review

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CSI: Time’s Up Review | You and your team of detectives have been called to a local bar, A murder has been committed and we need you to solve the case.

Date Played: 2019
Team Size: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Mythologic Escape Rooms have two locations which are based just off Gillingham High Street, one in an upstairs unit above some retail outlets. With a blacked out front door, with some cool graphic design explaining what to expect inside, and large Mythologic sign, the unassuming building houses two escape rooms which really pack a punch. The other a large double fronted shop with HUGE Mythologic sign, certainly making it difficult to miss!

Greeted at the door by the owners/designers Michelle and Chris, the welcome could not have been warmer. Both waiting areas are open and airy, with a comfortable reception area, we are offered a comfortable seat and somewhere to lock away our belongings. Water is readily available and there is well appointed lavatory area (which also has a number of essential personal hygiene products, such as deodorants etc. which is a lovely personal touch)

A briefing commences within the reception area and the disclaimers are all signed on digital tablets (which makes the hassle of pens and paper disclaimers feel like a distant nightmare)!

It is clearly evident from chatting to the owners that they are passionate about their rooms and obviously their customer service, which was faultless. We were made to feel at home with their personal yet professional touch.

 

 

Time to Release Your Inner Detective!

Its time to release your inner detective! Lets face it, television and movies are packed with awesome CSI murder mysteries, so why not be part of your very own. This is a really strong outing from the Mythologic team which we massively enjoyed!

The story (I will be as vague as what is presented on the Mythologic website so that there are no spoilers!), is that the HQ have called and given you and your team the lowdown on a murder. All you have is a crime scene, a chalk outline of a body, a missing murder weapon and no idea of who committed the crime. Can you crack the case?! When we read this before visiting it really got the imagination juices flowing wondering what we were going to be presented with. It’s safe to say we were not disappointed when the door opened and we went inside. Again, no spoilers as to what your crime scene actually is! You’ll just have to play it yourself and find out.

Walking in, apart from the initial great surprise about our setting, the first thing that hit us was the apparent simplicity of what we faced – as many of our reviews have mentioned before – do not be fooled by what appears to be simple! Those that have this initial simplistic approach are often the best games – and that is certainly 100% true of this game! I am pretty sure when you walk through the door you’ll say exactly like we did – “Where the hell do we start?!”

Armed with a clever piece of tech, and a clipboard, your mission is to utilise your detective skills to locate the right pieces of evidence to build your case and present this to HQ in order to solve this murder. What we really liked about this approach is that the game brilliantly combined an old school murder mystery with some classic escape room puzzles. Its not purely a case of locating the evidence at face value – there are strategically thought out puzzles which pace this room really well. The game evolves really well, and the evidence is presented in a way which doesn’t allow your team to jump to any conclusions until the final piece is located.

Puzzling Through the Crime

All the puzzles stuck brilliantly to the theme in this room. Nothing was out of place – it was a real highlight of this fantastic room.

In terms of the puzzles another huge positive is that this game is accessible to all. There is no big, elaborate, over thought-out puzzles in this – everything is punchy and pulls on the old school methods of number locks, letter locks and keys. There are a few tech related puzzles but these really enhance the whole gaming experience.Given this, its certainly a game that families and those newer to the world of escape rooms would love, as there is nothing too advanced. Likewise, enthusiasts will thrive on the excellent combination of escape room and murder mystery with a well established, ever-developing story line.

 

Its very easy to be complacent in this room – it doesn’t feel hugely pressured in the early stages but that does mean its really easy to let time run away with you. About 20 minutes in we glanced at the clock and was shocked about how little we felt we had achieved. I’d suggest being strategic in this room – communicate with your team and teamwork is certainly the key to success here. Once we had come up with a better game plan as to how to tackle this room, we really got into the flow!

What we really liked about this game was simply how the game flowed. The right evidence at the right time. The evolving and increasing depth of story is very strong. How you collect evidence is done in a really clever way and you would be forgiven to feeling like a pro detective by the time you’ve finished!

 

The Verdict

The Mythologic team continue to develop a brilliant and diverse set of escape rooms and this is no exception. We all agreed that we would highly recommended this room to all. With a brilliant combination of murder mystery coupled with old school styling, really strong puzzles and a great theme – make sure you add this one to the to-do list. Very different from many other escape room experiences, this is sure to be one you wont forget.

 

Would I recommend this room?

Certainly! A really clever mix of murder mystery and old school escape styling

Who would I recommend it to?

Newcomers and families will be sure to love this. Likewise those more advanced will certainly appreciate the outstanding creativity that has gone into this.

How many players would I recommend?

4 is a great team number for this game as there is generally plenty of space to play and enough to keep everyone occupied.

Suitable for Children?

Yeah, completely fine. Understandably there might be some things which are slightly too advanced for younger guests to appreciate, however there is nothing scary or offensive

CSI: Time’s Up can be booked by heading to Mythologic’s website here.

Mazer Zone: Star Struck | Review

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Mazer Zone Star Struck Review | The year is 2220, wars and natural disasters have ravaged the Earth. Humanity, clinging to survival in orbit, has one last hope – a scientific genius and his revolutionary formula for starship fuel. Alas, the powers that be will not relinquish their grip on the human race. Shortly after being recruited by the good professor, he suddenly disappears leaving the fate of mankind in the hands of you and your crew. Do you have what it takes to solve the mystery and save the human race?

Date Played: 2nd July 2022
Number of Players: 4
Time Taken: ~30 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Mazer Zone is one of London’s newest escape rooms and at the time of writing has only been open for a couple of weeks. Presently, there are two rooms available with a third coming soon. And well, you know me, I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi room so we couldn’t wait to get ourselves booked in to play.

Despite being located very centrally in Camden, Mazer Zone is an escape room that’s a little hard to spot. In fact, we walked past it a few times before realising it was there. Tucked away in a residential estate, an unassuming building that looks like it could be an apartment building opens up into a very clean and clinical basement with a very low ceiling – tall people be warned (though not a problem for me at 5 ft 1). On the outer door was a 4 digit padlock, and we assumed this might be the first puzzle – but thankfully after knocking a few times our host came up to pick us up.

As you go down into the main area, there’s no lobby to speak of, so be sure to arrive exactly on time. We kept our belongings with us and, after a quick briefing with the usual “this is a padlock, don’t brute force, if it’s above head height ignore it“, we were led to a mysterious door. A message appeared to us from a very cool sci-fi delivery pipe containing all the information we needed to get started and then whoosh! We were off to a flying start!

 

Image (c) Mazer Zone

 

Beam me up, Scotty!

What followed was a series of physical spaces (around 3 unique rooms to be exact), that followed the story of the mysterious disappearance of a spacecraft engineer and scientist. You see, we were space travellers in the far distant future trying to preserve humanity by colonising the stars. But we can’t do that without valuable starship fuel. Our mission was to investigate what happened to the scientist and recover his secret stash of starship fuel. Presumably so we could synthesize more, or perhaps we just wanted to use it to power our own ships and fly away. Either way, we had a mission and we stuck to it.

The room played out like a “museum of humanity“. Early in the game we found a tablet-like device which enabled us to scan any codes we found around the room. There were many of them. On the one hand, red herrings? On the other, just quirky distractions adding to the overall story. There were plenty of things in the room we never used, and plenty more things we did use which I couldn’t believe were even relevant to the game, but provided some fun moments of delight when they were.

There was one puzzle I enjoyed the mechanic of so much I even laughed out loud, inviting my other players crowd around just to watch it. But mostly, the puzzles were straightforward – easy to spot, easy to solve. Yes, we absolutely whizzed through the room and broke the record (although for a room that’s just opened that’s less impressive than it sounds), but we did have fun solving the puzzles. Everyday objects were used in innovative ways and there were some very fun moments of technology.

On the topic of red herrings however, there were definitely more red herrings than we were comfortable with. I counted around 5 digit padlocks we discovered which we ended up never using, and plenty of things that seemed so obviously like they were part of the game but then never ever used. There’s a lot of discourse in the escape room world about whether red herrings are good or bad, and it’s too detailed to get into here, but we at The Escape Roomer generally fall in the camp of “they’re not great”.

Having too many things in the room that feel unfinished leads to an anti-climactic ending in which you can’t help but wonder if you’re actually finished or not. Star Struck toed this line, as many of the ‘red herrings’ were quirky and part of the story. For example, informational pieces about the universe and objects which felt like they should have had a purpose, but didn’t in the end. When we finally unlocked the last door, we all couldn’t quite believe it. “But wait, we didn’t use ‘thing’?”, to which our host explained that we didn’t need to. So the jury is out on that one.

There was one puzzle in the experience which could potentially be a health and safety hazard. Not naming any names as I don’t wish to spoil anything, but there was definitely a moment we could have (but didn’t) hurt ourselves… Which brings me to the realisation that we weren’t asked to sign a waiver. It’s one of the first escape rooms I’ve ever experienced that hasn’t, which is interesting. Potentially just an operational oversight since the company itself is in it’s infancy, and hopefully an issue they’ll fix quite quickly.

As a final note, since we didn’t ask for any hints, we can’t judge how these are delivered – but we were given a walkie-talkie at the start of the experience in case we needed to communicate with our host.

 

Image (c) Mazer Zone

 

An Escape Room Set on a Spaceship

One of the things we enjoyed most about the room was the decor. It really did feel like a sci-fi spaceship and there’s some impressive technology in there that really added to the feeling of immersion. It was high-tech in all the best ways, with sensors and scanners a-plenty, plus all that tech worked perfectly well. Which makes sense, since the room is brand new.

On the topic of decor, the room very much feels homemade but in the kind of way that it’s been built with a lot of love. I’ve since found out that unfortunately it is a room that was open for some time in another country, before being sold to Mazer Zone and opened up here in London. That said, they’ve still done a good job the start-up resources they have available.

Just a note on accessibility, unfortunately the environment and the building itself being located down a long flight of stairs – so this room is not wheelchair accessible. There were also several puzzles that involved listening to voice-overs without subtitles, so a word of warning for folks with hearing difficulty.

 

The Verdict

Overall, our team did enjoy playing Star Struck at Mazer Zone. If anything, it was just a shame it didn’t last longer, I’d have loved to spend 60 minutes in the room rather than 30! We had an enthusiastic host, which brings about it’s own kind of charm, and we enjoyed chatting to them for a while after. The room itself featured some fun decor and unique technology, as well as puzzles that made us think outside the box in ways I haven’t experienced before. As, at the time of writing, they’re a brand new company so there are some big operational oversights which we’ve given feedback on, but I think it has a lot of potential.

Presently tickets come in around 30 – 50 pp, depending on how large your team is and when you visit. For this price it makes it one of the more expensive escape rooms in London. Do we recommend it at full price? Probably not. Especially given we escaped in around 30 minutes. But if you can get tickets at off-peak prices, then definitely worth giving them a go.

Mazer Zone are hard at work on their new and upcoming rooms. I hear the second and third rooms are better than the first, so it’s onwards and upwards from here.

 

Star Struck can be booked by heading to Mazer Zone’s website here.

Lollipop: H-Division | Review

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H-Division Review | “Take a deep dive into The Ripper’s mind using both traditional and modern investigation methods. Help me and the Met Police profile this serial killer and experience a bar which relives the Victorian London era. Hats, capes, typewriters, telegrams and of course cocktails come as standard”

Date Played: 9th June
Time Taken: ~1hr 30
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Illogical

It was only a few days after we played Lollipop’s well known (and well loved) immersive experience, The Grid that we decided to book ourselves in to play their brand new Victorian themed immersive experience. Where The Grid was light-hearted, fun, energetic, and definitely escape room-y, it’s Victorian counterpart was… Not so good. Much closer to ‘Bletchley’ in style and substance, but whilst I haven’t yet personally played Bletchley, based on the comments of the people I was with, H-Division is surely the weakest of the three.

 

 

Enter Victorian London

H-Division is located in East London, actually directly opposite the fantastic Escape Plan on Bethnal Green Road. It’s about a 10 minute walk from where we live, so we set off a little early and stopped off for a bite to eat around the corner before hyping ourselves up to step into Victorian London. It’s a well-chosen area of

On arriving at the venue, which sits above a Geisha-themed Japanese restaurant, we were led upstairs by a woman in a kimono, past the toilets, and left outside a mysterious red door at the top of the building with the words “POLICE” stencilled over the top. We knocked and were shown to a table by the captain of the police force, where we were promptly given a case file, two bobby hats and a jacket each.

The setup of the room is probably the most impressive part of the whole experience. It felt immersive, like we really were sitting in a busy police department in 1888. There were detective boards all over the walls with red string between different events. There were typewriters and magnifying classes, and Morse code machines, as well as a blacklight torch… Which technically wasn’t used by the police in this period, but we’ll suspend disbelief. Around us, a few other people sitting at tables, enthusiastically getting into their cases.

We were very quickly served our introductory drink, but any subsequent drinks we’d have to work for. I think working hard for your drinks actually makes them taste all the better though – there’s nothing quite like turning a case over to your chief detective and receiving a delicious cocktail for your hard-earned work.

 

 

Jack the Ripper… And His Victims

So, let’s talk about Jack the Ripper’s victims. Consider this a big ol’ content warning for the fact that this experience does deal with Jack the Ripper and themes of murder. But not your light hearted murder in abstract, the game is based on a real event. Let’s discuss.

This is a discourse that comes up a lot in the escape room world and we’ve always got to ask the question whether we’re just being too sensitive, or whether this is a genuine harmful practise. Folks in the escape room world all agree that using historical events or characters the victims’ families would remember is a big no-no. I don’t need to remind you all of the *groans* Greek Escape Auschwitz escape room that was very quickly shut down. I even thought the Jersey War Tunnels was very uncarefully toeing the line with their WWII room that featured certain flags on the wall and certain books on the shelf. Edgy themes are PR nightmares, as our friends over at REA have written about here. But Jack the Ripper is so long ago right? It’s almost fictional at this point? Nobody could possibly be offended? Yes, yes and yes. Except, there’s something distasteful about using the names and photographs of the real, female victims for a fun and light-hearted game. So I’ll just leave the thought open there on the table. Is it okay to sort through files about real women who were brutally murdered, just because it was 134 years ago? I don’t have an answer, but it made me uncomfortable.

 

Could you Crack the Case?

Onto the real reason we were at H-Division… To catch Jack the Ripper! An elusive serial murderer who has escaped the clutches of many an investigator. Now it was our turn to crack the case. So, no pressure! But thankfully we had a series of casefiles to help us out, and some delicious drinks.

The ‘puzzles’ centred around the premise that you had to sort through case files within your team but were supposed to come to different conclusions. Once you’ve made a decision, you convert your decisions and answers into a series of letters and numbers that you then tap out onto a handy Morse Code machine on the table, which the bartender converts into a different cocktail. Hence the need for everyone at a table to submit different answers.

It’s very difficult to talk about the experience without straying into spoiler territory, so I’ll instead just say that the ‘puzzles’ were what let the whole experience down. Of course, take this with a pinch of salt – we are The Escape Roomer, so good puzzles are the numero uno of what we look for in an experience. For us, H-Division’s puzzles were a let down. From a completely illogical romp through Victorian England, we found ourselves with a case file that had already been scribbled over by another team, and we also found ourselves accidentally discovering ill-hidden physical clues and being told off by the hosts for ‘jumping ahead’. For sure, I can forgive technology breaking. Which it did twice. But the one thing we didn’t like the most during the whole experience was having to ask for multiple clues as to what to do with a correct answer only to be exasperatedly told by our host that it meant we needed to go and take something from someone else’s desk, as if that was obvious. A week later and I still can’t figure that one out.

From what we could tell, we weren’t the only ones who struggled with the puzzle flow, as more than once other players on other tables leaned over to ours and asked quietly “have you got any idea what we’re supposed to do?” In the end, we didn’t crack the case. Our Jack the Ripper escaped our clutches with a tantalising handwritten note laughing at our inability to police. By the looks of it, neither did anyone sitting nearby us either. But at least the cocktails were delicious.

 

 

The Verdict

If you were planning to try H-Division, we’d strongly recommend instead going for The Grid, or skipping it altogether. That is of course unless you’re there just for the cocktails and the atmosphere. Those were both brilliant, and we absolutely commend the artists behind the bar creating those. But unfortunately you can’t go and just do the cocktails, you’ve got to ‘solve’ the case to win those cocktails, and therein the problem lies. From the problematic use of victim’s real photos and information to support the game, to illogical and misleading puzzles where the answer is “you can write anything down it’s all correct”, to broken technology… Leads to an all round experience that leaves a lot wanting. The silver lining? It is only open for a limited time however, so I’ll cheers to hoping they use the space, or even the basic premise, to make something more fun next time.

When all was said and done, H-Division is okay. But only okay. The full experience costs £38 per person. For this you get 3 cocktails and a game. For full disclaimer, we weren’t charged for the experience, which makes it all the more disappointing that we didn’t enjoy it. Out of all the ~400 or so ‘immersive’ puzzle experiences I’ve played, this is the first one I thought about leaving halfway through. But the cocktails really were delicious, so at a point we stopped trying to overthink the case and just sat back and enjoyed a drink or two and chatted about other things.

For a similar vibe, we think you might also like Evans and Peel Detective Agency.

 

H-Division is located in Bethnal Green and can be booked by heading to their website here.

 

Enigma Quests: Submarine Mission WaveBreak | Review

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Submarine WaveBreak Review | You are an emergency response unit sanctioned with the mission of saving the world. An unknown Global corporation are on the cusp of destroying vast areas of Earth. It is down to you to stop them. Work together to figure out how to take control of this Nuclear submarine and divert it from international destruction.

Date Played: 15th May 2022
Time Taken: 30 minutes
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Some people make pancakes on Sunday morning, other people enjoy a lie-in. Me and my friends? We save the world from nuclear disaster… Well actually, we technically messed up on that part, so perhaps we plunged the world into a nuclear winter due to our inability to read basic instructions. Either way… Sunday morning at Enigma Quest is nothing if not dramatic!

Submarine WaveBreak is the very last escape room in the Enigma Quest group we hadn’t yet played. So, with the sad news that I’ll soon be moving from London, I made myself an escape room bucket list and 100% finishing Enigma Quest was high up on that to-do. From the Million Pound Heist, to School of Witchcraft and Wizardry we have a feel for the unique flair that makes Enigma Quest special by now.

With Submarine WaveBreak, we were not disappointed!

 

 

About Submarine WaveBreak

Submarine WaveBreak is your ‘classic’ (if such a genre exists) nuclear submarine themed escape room. Our mission was simple but had devastating consequences for getting wrong: save the world from an imminent nuclear disaster. So, no pressure?

Our Enigma-tic hosts were John and Taylor. One of them was brand new to the venue and getting to grips with hosting a room, but honestly they were both so much helpful and knowledgeable it was impossible to tell who was trainer and who was trainee.  After delivering an enthusiast briefing about the experience, we promised our hosts that we’d save the world. Besides the fate of humanity on the line, our hosts had a pub quiz to get to later on, so it was imperative that we did our best.

From here, the big submarine doors swung open and we were immersed in the underbelly of a vast submarine, complete with high tech looking control panels, vast pipe networks, curious keys, and crates galore. Submarine WaveBreak is one of those rooms were you can pretty much see the entire physical space from your first vantage point, though there are plenty of doors to get through before then. It’s a large space subdivided into multiple spaces that represent different parts of the submarine.  The experience involved in a partially-linear, partially-non-linear format which culminated in a final meta puzzle that truly tested our attention. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

With our mission in hand, we were off to a flying start.

 

Solving the Submarine

In terms of puzzles, Submarine WaveBreak was a comfortable ‘medium’ in difficulty. As with non-linear escape rooms, there were plenty our team spotted right away and leapt into action, splitting off to focus on our own thing. We divided and conquered and only came together when it was time to proceed to the next room or an in-room meta puzzle.

Technically speaking, there was nothing in the room we hadn’t seen before – but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a blast playing through it. Each puzzle worked really well together in the entirely and made for a very fun puzzle flow from start to finish.

Whilst no spoilers here, you can expect to encounter plenty of pieces of equipment and puzzles you would expect to see in a submarine, with one or two fun twists on the genre. There were some pattern recognition puzzles, some two player collaborative puzzles, plenty of reading, some fun uses of equipment, and a very fun pipes puzzle. Some of them we triggered with mechanical actions in the room, but others we could tell were activated remotely by our games master on successful completion *cough cough* read as the puzzle triggering as correct before we’d actually hit a button. But it was all satisfying good fun.

In fact, when all is said and done, if not for missing a detail on the final puzzle (and accidentally blowing up the world – oops! Sorry!) we would have broken the game’s record for fastest completion time.

So, a little more on that ‘final puzzle’. If this were my first Enigma Quests experience I might have been more disappointed, but actually a surprise twist ending that requires extra attention is one of the company’s unique features, and I was half expecting to encounter something like this in the submarine. It’s no spoiler to say your goal is to deactivate the nuclear weapons. This means that the whole room centres around the one key meta puzzle of “right, how do we do this?”. Along the way you collect details and snippets of information that will help you in your final puzzle. But unlike in other Enigma Quests rooms, the Mission WaveBreak final puzzle is brutal. One chance to hit the big red button, and if a single switch (out of hundreds) is wrong, it’s game over.

For that reason, I can’t see many teams successfully escaping… But I might just be jaded by our own failure, even though we’d expected the twist and triple checked our answers before hitting the button. Thankfully, success or failure in this room doesn’t make too much of a difference. You escape, and you had a fun time along the way. It’s really quite simple and that’s all you could ever want from an escape room. Instead of the “Yay, you escaped” spiel, we got a funny “Oh no, the world is destroyed” one instead.

 

 

The Verdict

Enigma Quests is pretty much always a good time! Mission WaveBreak was no different – a light hearted romp through a nuclear submarine fit with nice decorations and well thought-out puzzles that worked seamlessly for us. It’s a good sign that every time we’ve shown up to play there’s always been a queue of people outside.

Despite our failure on the final puzzle, it was a fun Sunday morning escape room spent with good friends and two excellent Games Masters.

 

Mission WaveBreak can be booked by heading to Enigma Quest’s website here.

Locked In Games: Rags to Riches | Review

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Rags to Riches Escape Room Review | The two coins clinked together in your pocket as you stumble down the cold pavement. Yesterday, you were sleeping on the cobbles of Museum Gardens, icy winds smashing against your face. Today, you’ve been told you’re the heir to a huge inheritance, left to you by an old lady across the road. This may sound like a rags to riches fairytale, but before the celebrations begin you must prove yourself worthy. There’s just one catch. The court has authorised the demolition of the property. You have an hour to find the riches before the house and your dreams are reduced to rubble.

Date Played: 20th December 2021
Time Taken: 59 minutes
Number of Players: 3
Difficulty: Tricky!

Previously, I’d said that my favourite escape room in York was Operation H.E.R.O. at Can You Escape York… And then on our very last day of the York trip, right before our train was due to leave for London, we booked one more room. Rags to Riches at Locked In Games. Can it be that this might be our new favourite escape room in York? Why yes, it might just be!

About Locked In Games

Tucked away opposite Lendal Tower and the Yorkshire Museum Gardens is Locked In Games – the York branch of the popular Leeds escape room. Initially, despite our party staying in accommodation on the same street, we hadn’t noticed the escape room company there. Then, when deciding which rooms to play in York we’d overlooked it again when we couldn’t find any enthusiast reviews. Big mistakes!

It was only after we’d found a couple of Geocaches in the area that we noticed the company and thought “Hey, they’ve got availability – let’s give it a go!” My only regret? Leaving it to the last day of the holiday and not booking more of their rooms!

We booked in for the next available slot and were greeted by the enthusiastic Games Master Chester, who led us past the other businesses in the building (a few lawyer firms) and down the stairs into the lobby of Locked In Games. Chester explained that there was one prop that had been recently broken in the Rags to Riches room, for which he apologised profusely and went above and beyond to make the game work seamlessly without this prop. In hindsight, we may not even have noticed it, but since everything else in the room worked flawlessly and was in great condition, it was good to be given the heads up.

“I know I’d go from rags to riches…”

The story behind Rags to Riches follows Tony Bennett confessing his love- haha, just kidding!

The actual story of Rags to Riches follows you and your quest to claim your inheritance. With just a few pennies in your pocket, you suddenly get excellent news – you’ve been left a fortune and it’s hidden in this old woman’s creaky apartment. The problem is, the apartment is scheduled to be demolished in 60 minutes, taking the inheritance with it!

In our team of 3, we ventured into the room on the look out for anything our kind benefactor may have left us. What we found were a lot of cryptic puzzles. Good job we’re the right team for puzzle solving, eh?

Rags to Riches (c) Locked In Games York

Granny’s Crumbling Apartment

One of our favourite things about Rags to Riches was the decor. It’s your classic “old lady’s house”, but completely fallen to disrepair and a layer of dust on anything. I’m not sure exactly when this particular granny passed away, but it was a while ago and it feels like it in the best possible way.

It’s easy to argue that ‘crumbling and slightly dilapidated’ is a very easy theme for an escape room interior designer to create, but I just really like the effect when it’s done well. Rags to Riches reminded me of how much I enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) finding dust in Leicester-based room, Operation Magnus. To add to the effect, the walls had been painted with peeling wallpaper, vintage furniture, depressingly beige carpet, antique looking china, and a very cool (and hefty) wall safe.

At the start of our escape room, our Games Master informed us that you can choose to be locked in, or not locked in, as you please. In the event of a fire, all the locks automatically unlock. Conveniently, this room is also located right next to the fire exit. So we opted to be officially ‘locked in’ – very exciting! But in this case, even the lock felt authentic. It’s one of the very same locks my own granny has on her door. Extra points for that.

Where’d She Hide It, Then?!

In terms of puzzles, the game was themed really well. Every puzzle was contained within some object that you’d reasonably believe could be found in an old lady’s apartment. With some added high tech here and there.

As mentioned, in our playthrough one of the props was broken – so instead of physically interacting with it, we solved it from afar and called our the answer to our Games Master who then triggered the result. It was one of those happy moments when one of our team made an educated guess – one we might not even have put into the prop, and received the satisfying “that’s correct” relay call to proceed.

Besides this puzzle, the game was a solidly challenging romp across the various rooms within the old lady’s apartment. We encountered a range of puzzles including plenty of search-and-find, a few padlocks, a really fun puzzle involving a board game, and a couple of listening puzzles too.

Being a room on the slightly harder side- or perhaps we simply hadn’t drunk enough coffee yet- we were offered a fair few clues. This was for the best, as we managed to escape with a thrilling 40 seconds left on the clock.

Oh my god I’m not smart enough to solve this in 60 seconds!” I called out, before my brother half my age solved it in just 20!

The Verdict

Any escape room with a picture perfect finish with less than a minute left goes down in my personal hall of fame. It’s only happened around four times, but it just shows that it’s a perfectly paced escape room… For me, anyway! No two players are the same.

Of our team of semi-enthusiasts (with between 5 – 100 escape rooms between us), we all agreed on one thing – that we had a fantastic time. Plenty of puzzles we’d never encountered before, and lots of very cool props used in interesting ways. Add in some bonus points for how much we enjoyed the theme and the decor, and it’s a winning formula. Rags to Riches is definitely a hidden gem escape room in York. Not a lot of enthusiasts have played it (or even heard of it), but it goes right up to the top of my “you must play when you’re in town” suggestion list.

Rags to Riches can be booked at Locked In Games York on their website here.

Ratings

Kingston Escape Rooms: Rob the Bank | Review

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Rob the Bank Review | Angie knows who stole the family gold – it’s midnight and she backs her Ford Transit into the side of Harman’s Bank. You and your team have one hour to jump out and get the gold back. Will you find it? Will you make it out in time?

Completion Time: 51 minutes
Gold Bars Stolen: 59
Date Played: 21st November 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Tricky!

Think you know heist rooms? Think again!

Confidently, after playing a lot of heist themed escape rooms together, I teamed up with my good friend Bianca to take on another. By this point, we’re debating putting “expert bank robbers” on our CVs. But Rob the Bank at Kingston Escape Rooms proves how unexpected (and delightful) even a familiar theme of robbing a bank can be!

Grab the Cash, Get Out

Rob the Bank is an escape room that is available at a number of sites within the Know Escape franchise including at Gatwick, Bishop’s Stortford, Maldon and Chesterfield Escape Rooms respectively. In many cases the rooms are similar but each site has the freedom to get creative and Rob the Bank is a perfect example – so expect the unexpected.

At Kingston Escape Rooms, your experience starts in the back of a van- yes, literally! A short introductory video later, a wild ride and BOOM! You crash the van into the side of the bank! From here it’s up to you to sneak in and steal back your family gold. Emphasis on the word ‘sneak’, as it’s imperative to be quiet. Amusingly the bank security guards we were hiding from didn’t hear the van crash into the wall but they did hear me giggling a few times.

So, How Do You Rob a Bank?

What sets Rob the Bank apart from other bank heist escape rooms are the puzzles. They really ask the question: how do you rob a bank? This escape room’s answer is… Dare I say it, quite realistic.

Photo: Bianca / Shiny Life

In terms of puzzles, you can expect a lot of interaction with actors. This sort of thing always makes me nervous. I’m rather heavy and noisy, so you can imagine I get caught by security guards often. But, did we expect to be in fits of laughter and have to sing and cry our way out of puzzles? Certainly not!

The level of theatre that has gone into the room is absolutely fantastic, and our brilliant live actor Braedyn should be given an Oscar for her equal parts thrilling and comedic performance as the security guard (and a pair of glasses – these guards are not the most observant!).

To explain too much more would be inching into spoiler territory, so we’ll just leave with these words of wisdom if you’re planning to book the room yourself: expect the unexpected, think outside the box, and most importantly: have fun!

The Verdict

With so many exciting twists and turns in this room it’s possibly one of the most “fun” escape rooms I’ve done in a long time. Considering the fairly large space, we’d recommend this room would be perfect for a team of 2 – 4. I counted an impressive 6 separate ‘areas’ you’ll end up exploring over the course of the hour. Within that there are a few tight spaces and a few moments where only one person is playing an active role in solving a puzzle and the rest are watching, but it’s an otherwise well balanced and fast paced, exciting experience.

In the end, this room isn’t about the fastest time to escape – it’ll take all teams a fairly similar time to escape. Too fast and the games masters will slow you down a little, too slow and a friendly nudge will keep you on track. It’s also not about stealing the most gold, though again that’s another thing your team will be measured on at the end. Nope, the real winners are any team that got stuck in and enjoyed themselves to the fullest. It’s a game you’ll really bond with your co-players (or ruin friendships for life – as our host recounted a very funny team story from a few weeks earlier), and excellent for beginners and hardcore enthusiasts alike.

We’ve chosen to award this room our ‘Best in Genre’ badge. What does this mean? It means it’s one of the best bank heist themed room we’ve played. A special shout out to our hosts Dave and Braedyn, and Frank for inviting us to play!

Rob the Bank can be booked at Kingston Escape Rooms by heading to their 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

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.

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