Starting this month we’re pleased to announce that we have…
✉️🌟 A Newsletter! 🌟✉️
Thanks to some fantastic feedback from you (yes, you!) we’ve decided that rather than rely on RSS feeds (or as well as, if that’s your jam), we’d like to put out a monthly newsletter that rounds up the top posts from The Escape Roomer in each category.
Here’s what to expect:
Escape Room News from around the UK
What games we’ve been playing (and our Most Recommended Reviews)
Game Design & Escape Room Design Tips
Local upcoming events in cities near you (that is, assuming you’re in the UK!)
Discounts and Competitions – Our own, and from local escape room businesses
Since we’ve never done a newsletter before, this is a little test for us and one we hope you’ll come along for the journey on – we promise we’ll make it worth your while!
The Roomer Mill
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If you want even more news of course, we recommend our friends over at Escape Industry News (where I myself am a researcher and editor), but in the mean time we hope you enjoy our first issue of The Roomer Mill.
We are super pleased to announce that Rick Porter is joining The Escape Roomer as our newest escape rooms editor in York! Rick joins us with a fantastic history of writing about the video games industry, covering guides, reviews and features for several digital and print-media publications.
Rick is also a huge board game fan, and like a lot of us here at The Escape Roomer, has “a board game cupboard in danger of falling through to the flat below“. Haha yep, I’m sure we all can relate!
We’re all looking forward to Rick’s articles, and he’ll be covering a little of everything – expect escape rooms, board games, immersive events in and around York and more! We’re so excited to have him join the team.
Keep an eye out for Rick’s features coming soon, but in the mean time here he is to introduce himself:
Hey Rick, please introduce yourself!
Hi, it’s nice to be here! Hmmm, what do you need to know about me… Well, I spent a sizable chunk of my life writing, editing and generally tending to videogame magazines and websites in Bournemouth. That was before I decided that I’d quite like my hobbies to be more hobby-like and not all-consuming, Sisyphean burdens. Due to the subject matter, I like to think that it was an industry that helped keep me young, but my 3-year-old son has already done a sterling job of reversing any possible benefit there could have been.
So I now live in York. A beautiful, walled city that – according to legend – has over 365 pubs. Many of which are apparently haunted. As well as potential ghosts, a lot of them also host pub quizzes – something else I really enjoy. I fill almost all my spare time with videogames, boardgames and puzzles and I‘m really looking forward to sharing my findings, experiences and thoughts with the Escape Roomer readers.
How did you get into the world of escape rooms and puzzle games?
I was introduced to escape rooms a fair few years ago when the first one popped up in York. The concept of escaping from a room by solving puzzles was something I’d seen plenty of in digital form, so doing it in real life against the clock really appealed to me. Unsurprisingly, I was hooked. The 18 months that followed saw me complete numerous escapes across York, Leeds, Bournemouth and London. After getting 20-30 rooms under my belt (relatively few, looking at the numbers some of the contributors here have clocked up) I started testing and providing feedback rooms for a company in York, which gave me more insight into how escape rooms are created.
The birth of my son caused an abrupt halt to my escapes, but I’m looking forward to getting back into them now he’s a bit older. I can’t wait to see how things have changed and improved while I’ve not been paying attention.
How about video games, do you have any favourites?
I could name several the usual classics here but, putting nostalgia aside for a moment, I think Portal 2 is certainly up there with the very best.
Every element of it is excellent and the mixture of ingenious puzzles, razor-sharp humour and increasingly oppressive atmosphere combine to make something truly memorable. Its predecessor, Portal, is also incredible and does a superb job of showing that games don’t need to be huge to be exceptional.
If you enjoy escaping from rooms, puzzles and disingenuous promises of cake then I can’t recommend the Portal games highly enough.
The cake is a lie!
What are you playing (…or solving) at the moment?
I’m spinning a couple of plates right now. Videogame-wise I’m gradually making my way through Horizon: Forbidden West, which I’m punctuating with slightly more arduous sessions of Elden Ring. I’m enjoying both a lot, so it’s a constant fight for my free time.
Although I’m currently taking something of a forced hiatus, my last six months have been dominated by the brilliant / daunting / frustrating / rewarding / ridiculous / surprising Taskmaster Treasure Hunt. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’m sure there’s more in store as the final stages play out.
If you were given a blank cheque to create your dream ‘game’, what would it be like?
I’ve always thought that I’d like to put together a steampunk escape room – it’s a style I love, but it would probably take a huge amount of cash to do properly. The blank cheque would help a lot with the intricate machinery required to really set the scene.
However, now Alex Horne and his treasure hunt have showcased how versatile a book can be when combined with freely available online resources, I think I’d prefer to attempt a book project. Something that combines puzzle, story and art elements to create an experience that people can enjoy for months rather than a single hour.
We are very excited to have Rick on the team and a huge shout out to him for answering all these questions!
If you want to keep up with Rick, you can find him on Twitter.
The hottest Kickstarter game of 2020 was undoubtedly the mysterious Spectre and Vox. Created by two British escape room veterans Nick Moran, the former Creative Director of live escape rooms like Time Run and Sherlock: The Official Live Game, and Glen Hughes, the founder of Tandem Set and Scenery.
The game is an enormous 3D Haunted House escape room with over 296 individual pieces. Backers could pick up a copy of the game for £119 or more and the whole project was funded in just under 3 hours, with the finished funding total of over £250,000.
How to Purchase A Copy of Spectre & Vox
For most, the Kickstarter was the only chance to get the game, meaning there’s very likely only around 1,800 copies of the game being created.
That was until in a recent post on Kickstarter the Spectre and Vox team announced that they are creating and selling an additional 500 extra copies of the game to be shipped after the Kickstarter backers are fulfilled.
These additional games will retail at £250 and they will be available to purchase directly from the Spectre and Vox website ‘within the next couple of weeks’.
The link to purchase isn’t live yet, but you can go ahead and bookmark their homepage right here:
As it stands, the Kickstarter is currently running slightly behind schedule. Originally, the game was scheduled to be fulfilled in March 2021 but unfortunately due to countless reasons (strict lockdown restrictions in the UK, the big B (ending in -rexit), the Suez Canal catastrophe, and a billion more things that happened in 2021), the deadline has been pushed back.
Their current ‘final’ deadline is 21st of March 2022 and things are looking great for this deadline. Meaning the game will be in your hands within the next couple of months, and any folks purchasing a copy of the game at full retail price can expect theirs a little while later.
Delays or no delays, Spectre and Vox will likely be worth the wait.
This week creators of the hugely popular EXIT and Adventure Games series, Thames and Kosmos unveiled their 2022 product catalogue. This catalogue includes all their existing games, including a healthy number of STEM toys, science kits, and board games. Most excitingly, this catalogue gives us a sneak preview of a number of upcoming escape games, board games and brilliant IP partnerships us puzzle enthusiasts can look forward to in 2022.
Officially Licensed Lord of the Rings Escape Games
Among the new titles, one ring to rule them all sticks out:
EXIT: The Lord of the Rings – Shadows Over Middle-Earth
Suggested Retail Price: $19.95 Authors: Inka & Marcus Brand Ages: 10+ Players: 1-4 Play Time: 2-3 hours
Frodo and Sam are on their way to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. But they need your help! Can you buy Frodo enough time to reach Mount Doom?
Since the Lord of the Rings game was first teased last year in a Tweet by the creator, little more has been discovered about the game.
From experience with other series, such as Unlock!’s Star Wars games, official IP games tend to err on the side of easy as they target a more mass market audience, but we shall see!
New for 2022
Besides the Lord of the Rings IP, here are all of the other new for 2022 games we’ve spotted in their catalogue so far.
Adventure Games: The Gloom City File
Suggested Retail Price:$19.95 Authors: Inka & Marcus Brand Ages: 10+ Players: 1-4 Play Time: 2-3 hours
A message tears you away from your bleak, ho-hum existence: three people have been kidnapped! Who is behind this and why is the perpetrator pulling you of all people, four suspended cops, into the matter? Time is of the essence and so you go to the abandoned asylum to start the investigation together. Will you be able to free the hostages and catch the perp? How the thriller ends is entirely up to you.
EXIT: Advent Calendar – The Mystery of the Ice Cave
Note, this calendar originally launched here in the UK in 2021, but will be launching for the first time in the United States in 2022.
Your pre-Christmas ski trip definitely hasn’t gone as planned: Just as you are taking a break and enjoying the crystal-clear mountain air, you hear a noise and see a terrifying avalanche crashing down the mountain towards you. Your heart is in your throat, you hastily grab your seven things and race down the slope. With the last of your strength, you throw yourself into a nice in the rocks as everything behind you is buried in snow. Your heart races and you pull yourself together. You can hardly believe it, but you are alive! Only then do you take a look around: is this some kind of cave? This advent calendar is both an EXIT game and adventure story: in order to free yourself from this predicament, you must open a door of the calendar each day. Behind each door you will find a new and exciting riddle, the solution to which will bring you closer and closer to escaping the cave! Will you solve the mystery of the ice cave and find an exit?
EXIT: Advent Calendar – The Hunt for the Golden Book
Oh no! Something terrible has happened: Santa Claus’ golden book has disappeared! It contained a complete listen of all the Christmas wishes. If the book isn’t found by Christmas Eve, there will be nothing but sad faces around the tree on Christmas morning. It’s up to you to save Christmas – and time is of the essence!
EXIT: Nightfall Manor
Suggested Retail Price: $27.95 Authors: Inka & Marcus Brand Ages: 10+ Players: 1-4 Play Time: 2-3 hours
The old man was well-known for his eerie tales of the dark castle on the edge of the forest. Recently, he set out on his own to find the shadowy lord of the manor, but he hasn’t returned. Fearing the worst, you embark on a quest to find him. You must solve a series of riddles and piece together four jigsaw puzzles to uncover the mystery of Nightfall Manor and save your missing friend.
In this EXIT game, there are riddles within riddles hidden within four 88-piece jigsaw puzzles. Like other EDIT titles, Nightfall Manor has no game board, but it also has no riddle cards. Instead there are four jigsaw puzzles that you will find and assemble, one at a time. Each completed puzzle reveals a location containing more riddles to decipher.
EXIT: The Return to the Abandoned Cabin
Suggested Retail Price: $17.95 Authors: Inka & Marcus Brand Ages: 10+ Players: 1-4 Play Time: 2-3 hours
Sinister riddle master Dr. Arthur Funbeq has escaped from prison. The police ask for your help bringing you back to the infamous cabin where it all began. The adventure begins again!
Redcliff Bay Mysteries
Suggested Retail Price: $39.95 Authors: Martin Kallenborn Ages: 12+ Players: 1-5 Play Time: 4x 60 min
Mysterious things are happening in the tranquil coastal town of Redcliffe Bay. You are a team of investigators and need to get to the root of these occurrences in four exciting cases. You will meet several peculiar residents. All of them have their own particular traits and some even have dark secrets. But who has something to hide?
Round by round, you need to decide which location to visit to find important clues and interrogate people. An exciting feature of the game is the possibility of missing out on things happening in locations that you re not currently in, making teaming up and cleverly deciding where to go and when integral to your success.
Which of Thames & Kosmos’ games are you most looking forward to in 2022?
Despite the warnings that 2022 is just 2020 (too), we’re kicking off the year with something fantastically fun to look forward to. We Still Fax is BACK.
The one of it’s kind “fax-based” escape room experience has announced they’re running a limited series of bookings from January 1st – January 31st 2022. Everything you need to play will be delivered to your home address in the UK for a completely covid safe experience.
You receive a mysterious machine in the post. You plug it in and something strange happens… You connect with an alternate dimension; one in which the internet doesn’t exist and someone needs your help! To take on this important mission, you will need to crack codes, send faxes, unlock secret hatches and, when the time comes, push the big, red button. They are counting on you; their world depends on it.
If we had to categorise We Still Fax, it would be a cross between live immersive theatre and tabletop escape room. The idea is simple – ANTS Theatre sends you a large Fax Machine in the post. This Fax Machine is a relic from another universe… A universe the same up until one key divergent point: The internet was never adopted and people still fax.
This genre-defying experience is delivered to your home in the UK and the game begins at a set time when you’ll need to plug your fax machine in and receive your first fax.
ANTS Theatre is a production company made up of six interdisciplinary artists from all around the world. These artists include:
Lu is an award-winning producer, theatre-maker and director with over 5 years’ experience in the arts, including Theatre-Rites, Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, English National Ballet, Crowded Room and Opera Holland Park.
Eva H. Lee
Eva is a Korean interdisciplinary artist born in Spain, raised in Brazil and Beijing. She studied at Royal Holloway before joining Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She works as a designer and choreographer alongside theatre-making.
Diana Vallverdu i Cabrera
Diana is a mathematician and theatre-maker from Barcelona. She studied at Polytechnic University of Catalunya (UPC) and has worked as a programmer. With ANTS, she has combined her two passions; applying logic to theatre making.
Paul Hernes Barnes
Paul is an award-winning rural theatre-maker from the West-highlands of Scotland with a taste for performance in non-theatre spaces. Past performance locations range from abandoned castles to railway station tearooms.
Qiu is a performer and theatre-maker from Nanjing, China. She worked as a performer for 5 years in China before receiving a postgraduate degree from RSCCD in Advanced Theatre Practice, as well as from UCL in Environmental Design and Engineering.
Zhaolin is a theatre-maker and performer from China. Before working in theatre, he received a degree in medicine from Peking University, and uses his experience to explore the journey of who we are in this rapidly changing world.
It’s an exciting day for puzzle enthusiasts across the country!
The long awaited Puzzle Bundle UK is now available for sale at eight online puzzle stores. In this special Christmas exclusive, eight British puzzle game creators have come together to create a unique puzzle bundle hamper… Just in time for Christmas!
Included within the bundle are a range of puzzles lasting between 30 minutes to well over an hour each. All the puzzles are self contained, and the best part? There’s a mix of completely original puzzles to the bundle and some well-loved favourites at a discounted rate too!
The bundle comes priced at £60 GBP with UK shipping included, or £65 with international shipping. You an find it on any of the providers websites and channels for the same price.
Limited to 100 Puzzle Bundles, for 7 Days Only!
Whether buying a treat for yourself to play over the festive season, or picking up 8 fantastic presents for the puzzle enthusiast in your life – you’d better hurry! To begin with, there will only be 100 Puzzle Bundles up for sale and, once the 7 day sale period ends, the bundle won’t be on sale again.
You an find it on any of the providers websites and channels below for the same price. The bundle altogether costs £60 including postage within the UK, and £65 outside the UK.
What is included in your Puzzle Bundle UK?
Show me the Puzzles!
The Puzzle Bundle UK contains a mix of completely unique puzzles and a few existing puzzle games you may recognise from your favourite British creators!
Enigmailed: Season’s Eatings
A delicious chocolate bar with themed puzzle wrapper.
The White Tent Company: The Snowflake Snatcher Advent Mystery
Jack Frosts magical snowflake staff has been stolen. Without it there will be no snow this winter. Uncover a clue a day to crack the case before Christmas is cancelled!
Wales-based The White Tent Company is a company specialising in live, immersive murder mysteries. They also have a range of at-home mysteries for armchair detectives to solve from the comfort of their own home.
In a grasp for salvation with sentinels closing in, you’ve stolen a Nauticrawl. You check the radar, turn a few knobs, press some buttons… then you realize: I don’t know how to move this hunk of metal...
It’s an exciting day for iOS users, as the critically-acclaimed escape room game Nauticrawl launches it’s puzzle adventure on the App Store today! Your mobile mission, if you choose to accept it, is to steal a mech and escape the strange planet… Or die trying!
Join, Try, Die, Repeat
It’s a fairly familiar situation for anyone who has started a new job with a whole new piece of tech or software to learn… In Nauticrawl, players find themselves on a hostile planet desperate for escape. They steal a Nauticrawl mech, but quickly realise they have no idea how to pilot it.
What unfolds is a puzzle game designed around experimentation: what happens if you pull this lever? How about pushing this button? Or perhaps twisting these dials to a specific combination? Set in an eerie, steampunk world, players must grasp the alien tech and successfully engineer an escape like no other.
Nauticrawl is designed by Italian game designer Andrea Interguglielmi, best known for adventure games for the GameBoy Color, and as a Hollywood effects artist, and it is published by Armor Games Studio. As such, Nauticrawl is a veritable feasts for the eyes!
“I’m super excited to be releasing Nauticrawl on iOS, it’s a journey that lends itself well to bite sized sessions of trial and error. I sincerely hope mobile gamers will enjoy experimenting with all the tactile controls and gauges scattered around the mysterious cockpit.“
Whilst we’re still puzzling our way through the VR version of the game, A Rogue Escape, this afternoon players across the world will be able to pick up Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres on iOS from the App Store for $4.99 / £4.99 / €5.49.
Escape Simulator is a first-person puzzler you can play solo or in an online co-op. Explore a growing set of highly interactive escape rooms. Move furniture, pick up and examine everything, smash pots and break locks! Supports community-made rooms through the level editor.
Set a date for your diary: there’s a new escape room puzzle game in town!
Pine Studio(creators of Cats in Time, and Birdcage) have announced today that Escape Simulator is set to launch on PC next month, on October 19th. If you enjoyed the demo during the Steam Game Festival, you’ll love the full launch with 15 unique interactive escape room scenarios, customisable characters, online co-op, and a fun level-editor to build your own fiendish escape room challenges!
Face ingenuous locks in ancient Egypt. Hack the system in an adrift space shuttle. Decipher mysterious notes in the oddball Victorian library of Edgewood Mansion.
Given the long lockdown of only seeing your friends via a screen, Escape Simulator can’t come soon enough – and just in time for the spooky season no less! With very realistic escape room mechanics and so many puzzle possibilities, it’s the perfect way to get together digitally with a friend from the comfort of your own home. Most importantly, just like in a real escape room… If it’s not nailed down, you can pick it up and move it around!
Create your own Escape Room Games
One of the most exciting aspects of Escape Simulator that we can’t wait for is the escape room level editor. An integration with the Steam Workshop puts power in the hands of players and allows the community to create and share their escape room designs. The possibilities are endless and imagination’s the limit!
If you’ve always wanted to create your own escape room but never before had the tools, Escape Simulator’s creator Tomislav Podhraški sets the following challenge,
The ultimate moment for us will be getting stuck in our own game – thwarted by a player who’s custom-made room is way smarter than us. That’ll be pretty neat.
“As the smoke soars on wings to heaven, so sinks our city.”
In the smouldering promise of the fall of Troy, a mythical world of Gods and mortals rises from the ashes.
As Greece teeters on the brink of victory, the neon backstreets of Downtown Troy give way to a sprawling labyrinth hiding secrets even the prophecies could not foretell.
In this colossal playground, the furies watch on as mortals play out their fate.
And as night falls, the city comes alive.
One last time.
From Wednesday 8th September at 10am, tickets for Punchdrunk’s latest London show The Burnt City go live. The Burnt City will be an immersive performance like no other, taking place in a space over 100,000 square feet large at the Grade II listed Woolwich Works.
Whilst not a lot is known about the show just yet, we do know that The Burnt City will be a modern adaptation of two Greek legends: Aeschylus’s Agamemnon and Euripides’s Hecuba. In a futuristic, slightly post-apocalyptic world more reminiscent of Metropolis, one area of the experience will represent Troy and the other will represent Greece.
Bringing Punchdrunk’s world alive is a cast of 30 actors playing a mix of Gods and Monsters. The experience begins with what is described as a “swish museum tour”, before falling into The Burnt City itself. From here it will be up to the players to explore and interact with their environment over the three-hour showtime to fully experience the awe-inspiring world.
The show will run from the 22nd March 2022 to the 28th August 2022 and will have a capacity of over 600 per show! Whilst this is a marked increase from their previous production Kaberoi (with a capacity of 2 per show), tickets are set to be just as sought after… So be sure to set an alarm!
This week marks the launch of a brand new newsletter for the Escape Industry:
An Escape Room News Source For All
Escape Industry News is a monthly newsletter brought to you by Telescape/Buzzshot! In partnership with the team there, this newsletter is also researched, written and edited by yours truly (our very own editor-in-chief, Mairi) 👋
Our goal is to compile all of the English-speaking world’s biggest news stories in the escape room industry in one place. Whether that’s trending topics, new site openings, big conventions such as RECON, or exciting new book launches like Laura E. Hall’s “Planning Your Escape” – Escape Industry News will package it up neatly and pop it in your inbox once a month!
If that sounds like something you may be interested in, head over to EscapeIndustry.com, pop your email address in the sign-up box, and you’ll receive the first issue right away! If it’s not for you – no worries! You can unsubscribe at any time.
For a sneaky preview, read our first issue online here.