Escapologic Leicester: Operation Magnus | Review

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Escapologic: Operation Magnus Review | The year is 1942, World War 2 rages on. You are an elite spy deep undercover at the operations bunker of the infamous splinter cell group known as SPYKE. The group has reached an agreement with the mysterious Magnus, an aerospace engineer, and he has agreed to develop a new super weapon that could change the tides of war and leave devastation in its wake.

Completion Time: 35 minutes
Date Played: 11th September 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Moderate

Woohooo! It’s road trip time! 🚗

For the longest time I’ve been playing online escape rooms with Team Escaping the Closet and our friend Tasha, but now that the UK is starting to open up after a long lockdown – we’re finally able to meet in person! The first stop on our escape room travel itinerary? Escapologic in Leicester – the midpoint between London and Sheffield.

There we took on two rooms, first Reactorvate followed by Operation Magnus, where we were greeted by the enigmatic Games Master Destiny.

Change the tide of war

Operation Magnus is your classic World War 2 room with a couple of tasteful changes (namely, no awkward references to the axis forces, instead you’re fighting SPYKE). The story goes that you are a secret agent deep undercover in the enemy’s operations bunker. SPYKE is on the brink of developing a new super weapon that could seriously change the tides of war and leave huge global devastation in it’s wake.

It’s up to you to gather the intel on the inner workings of this weapon for the allied forces. You have another agent on the inside who has left you clues behind in their bunker, but you must not blow their cover.

No pressure, eh?

The most wonderful thing about this room is how well they’ve themed the room. For starters, you really are in a deep underground bunker. I’m not sure what the original use of the building was, but we emerged into our escape room into a strangely dark, slightly musty tiled bunker space. Nope, I don’t think this is just really creative set design, the room feels incredibly genuine. It seems so funny to mention it, but I loved how dusty the space was too. Real nooks and crannies, I even think I spotted a spider.

From the era-appropriate props (clues delivered by a real WWII phone, need I say more?), to the smell, to the tiled walls, to the coldness- if you’d transplanted this exact escape room into a “life during world war two” museum, I wouldn’t be in the slightest bit surprised! And not a single broken prop either!

Another great thing about the physical escape room space is how large it is. It might just be the first escape room I’ve played with a whole staircase in it and multilayered areas. We found ourselves running up and down stairs, crawling through rickety doors, discovering hidden passageways. Some areas were a little bit of a squeeze for our team of 4, but nothing we couldn’t handle by dividing and conquering the puzzles.

Operation Magnus Puzzles

In terms of puzzles, there was a good mix to challenge us! The game got off to a slow start as we struggled to find the one thing which could start us on our way – but from reading other reviews, it seems like this beginning trips up a lot of teams, so don’t be afraid to ask for a clue so early! Once we got into the flow of things, we were off to a flying start!

Players can expect to encounter a lot of mimetic puzzles such as searching and finding, rummaging around the clues, and of course… No World War Two room would be complete without a couple of maps and a Morse Code puzzle or two.

The only thing to highlight is that there were a lot more red herrings than expected. In truth, I’m not a fan of any red herrings in an escape room unless they add to the story, but Operation Magnus had more than a fair few that didn’t have much connection. At the end of the game our Games Master Destiny was very helpful to walk us through the whole room from start to finish – but we had a lot of “what about this object” and “we never used this” questions. Examples of such red herrings included hidden openings in the wall, a key we never used, and some clear signposts to use particular objects when those objects weren’t involved in the game at all.

That said, if you don’t mind the occasional red herring or two, there’s still more than enough in this room to have a lot of fun! The attention to detail is second to none, and the puzzles challenging, tactile and delightful.

Operation Magnus – The Verdict

The real pièce de résistance of Operation Magnus is without a doubt the ending.

Oh my God that ending!

It takes the biscuit as one of the most impressive escape room endings in any room ever. I really don’t want to describe what it is bat the risk of giving away any spoilers, but anyone reading this review looking forward to booking it, you’re in for a treat!

It’s with a lot of pleasure I’m awarding this one a “Best in Genre” badge. Alongside Escape Plan’s Roll out the Barrel, Operation Magnus is probably one of the best World War Two themed rooms in the entire country. I’ve played a lot of World War Two rooms (it’s probably my most-played genre, come to think of it), but Operation Magnus ticks so many boxes and the designers have really outdone themselves on this one. It’s something special and not to be missed.

Operation Magnus can be booked at Escapologic Leicester by heading to their website here.

Ratings

Escapologic Leicester: Reactorvate | Review

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Escapologic: Reactorvate Review | Your Great Uncle was once a leading scientist known for developing state of the art nuclear technology. In central Europe, during the late 1970’s, one of his experimental reactors went into meltdown as soon as it was activated, causing one of the most catastrophic disasters in modern history...

Your only option is to break into an abandoned power plant located in rural Russia, find a second inactive reactor and start it up. If it is fully functional then you may just have the evidence to free an innocent man. If your Great Uncle is lying, then you may need to run for your life!

Completion Time: 31:27
Date Played: 11th September 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Medium

First up on our long awaited road trip was to take a step into an abandoned nuclear reactor. Our mission was to find out what REALLY happened all those years ago in the 1970s… A totally normal activity for the first time Mairi, our friend Tasha and ourselves were all in person together, right?

We were very much looking forward to seeing how our team functioned in real life. After a long lockdown of playing countless digital escape games together, would the addition of a third dimension to our normally 2D team throw us off? Would being able to see how tall our team members actually are be too big a distraction..?!

Read on to find out…

WOW – Are we actually in the 1970s?

The first thing you notice stepping into this room (well, any of the Escapologic rooms to be fair) is their impeccable attention to detail. We entered a very realistic looking ‘reactor’, complete with the classic 1970s computer vibes, colourful lights and even featuring an on theme chilly room temperature!

Those first few puzzles we encountered in the room were great at introducing us both to the game and to each other. As an introduction space to Reactorvate, it had a fantastic flow. After initially hitting a bit of a hurdle with one of the beginning puzzles, we started to get out stride as we moved into the second space on offer. From here, we split up into two teams of two to tackle the wide range of challenges on offer.

We did have one quite hefty obstacle to get around first though…

Guys, is that your hand touching me? Where are the WALLS?

Before we entered this room, our games master Courtney warned us that at one point we would be in complete darkness. And that point came quite quickly into the game and they weren’t kidding – boy was it dark!

It was the sort of dark where you can’t see your own hand in front of you, and naturally we were all quite unnerved by this. We were quietly hoping that the evil spirit, Mr Moon, who haunts Escapologic’s other game (The Gateway) had not found their way into our room!!! Thankfully no ghosts, which just left the task in hand. Once we figured out where the four corners of the space were that we were in we were on a roll. But first, where the heck is the light switch?!

Science! We’re doing SCIENCE

The technology Reactorvate uses is great. You get to do physical puzzles, mental puzzle, observation puzzles…and you get to DO so much. We love a room that offers players the opportunity to really feel as though you are ‘doing’ the puzzling, rather than simply solving notes scribbled on a page. The whole thing had such a tactile feel as we lifted heavy objects and manipulated strange contraptions we’re all too young to know the true purpose of.

There was one particular stand out element of the room that provided just the right amount of shock value it’s still seared into our memory today. Although, we still can’t figure out if it was triggered by the Games Master, by our actions, or if the course we followed was inevitable – but that’s all good theatre!

We had a great time moving around and discovering this space. It was an impressive room and one we clicked with quite well.

Overall…

We really did have a great time in our first ever in-person escape room altogether. We are glad we chose such a vibrant, exciting and impressive room to play together for the first time.

Escapologic is great too in what it offers players after they’ve (hopefully) successfully escaped – there is a HUGE wall of tags signed by 100s of teams who have made their way through one of the four games on offer. It was a lot of fun looking through these and finding recognisable names, or even finding our own one from playing Chronos what feels like a loooonggg time ago.

Reactorvate can be booked at Escapologic Leicester by heading to their website here.

Ratings