Houdini’s: Lady Chastity’s Reserve | Review

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Lady Chastity’s Reserve Review | Enter the lair of the deranged Lady Chastity as you pit your wits against her mysterious belongings and strange contraptions. Those who prove themselves worthy will whoop their way through an hour of surreal gaming, leaving with Chastity’s fabled bottle of aphrodisiac wine.

Completion Time: 50 minutes
Date Played: 15th January 2022
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Hard

Through fits of uncontrollable laughter after a pint downstairs, we stumbled into the famous (or should I say, infamous) Lady Chastity’s Reserve. Tucked away above The Hope in Farringdon, it’s a venue I literally pass every day of my life and never once realised an escape room was hidden within. But that’s how we found ourselves, in the earliest week of January we could get our team together, excitedly buzzing with anticipation that we finally secured a Lady Chastity’s Reserve booking.

[cue more giggling and excited noises]

What Happens in the Lady’s Parlour… Stays There!

So first things first, let’s clear the air. Lady Chastity’s Reserve is an 18+ room. Some of the reasons for this, we assume are:

  • Themes of a sexual nature (she’s not that chaste after all – are you offended by light-hearted references to Victorian orgies?)
  • The prize of a bottle of wine (tantalising!)
  • The location of the escape room being above a pub (it’s unlikely kids are allowed in after a certain time!)
  • It’s a little bit spooky. You may encounter a dead body.

For those reasons, the owners have slapped on a strict 18+ rating. Whilst we reckon in theory the game could be toned down for a 16+ audience, we mention the reasons why both as a content warning, and to ensure other bookers avoid disappointment. Keep the kids at home for this one!

So with that aside, let’s get into the light-hearted spooky debauchery that is Lady Chastity’s Reserve…

Lady Chastity is a woman who is well known for her… Errr… Parties. Her aphrodisiac wine is a big hit and brings all the ladies and gentlemen to her parlour for some fun. After suffering heartbreak, the lady hosts one final lavish party but- oh no! Disaster strikes! A candle left unattended tips over and sets fire to a curtain, engulfing the building. Whilst all the visitors manage to escape in various states of undress, Lady Chastity is never seen again. Rumour has it at the first sign of fire she ran to her cellar and locked up her last bottle of aphrodisiac wine, but didn’t make it out in time.

This is where you come in. The house has been refurbished by the ever-dutiful Gabriel. Her housekeeper turned inheritor. But he’s never found that bottle of aphrodisiac wine. Can you follow in The Lady’s steps, figure out what happened to her, and claim that bottle of wine?!

Creepy Corners, Candlelight, and Curtains for Days

One of the stand-outs for us in Lady Chastity’s Reserve was the decor of the room. We didn’t have to ‘suspend disbelief’ even for a second… It really felt like being inside a Victorian parlour! The whole space was lit with candlelight – torches were provided, which was a nice touch for an otherwise very dark room – and the furniture, curtains, wallpaper and decor felt lifted directly out of the Victorian era.

Darkness is marmite in an escape room. It makes it harder to solve puzzles. But for me, Lady Chastity’s Reserve was dark for a reason. It’s lit by candlelight, and it really works! None of the puzzles were hindered by it, it only added to the ambience. Dark shadows darted around in our peripheral vision, and when a sudden loud noise rang out from somewhere you were never quite sure where it came from.

Even the smell of the room was authentic. It feels funny to praise an escape room for having a good smell – but the slightly smoky, musty smell felt brilliant.

What I’m trying to say, is full marks for the decor. A lot of folks will be put off by a darker room, but I propose that instead players treat the darkness as an extra character. It really adds to the story.

Photo (c) Lady Chastity’s Reserve

What of Lady Chastity’s Puzzles?

So you see how I said I liked the darkness and they didn’t hinder the puzzles – well not strictly true, as this room does rely on a lot of search-and-find especially at the beginning. Just be sure to shine that torch everywhere!

The whole room follows a linear format. There’s a clear goal, and each puzzle leads onto the next seamlessly. You’re guided not only by clues from your host, Gabriel (of which you can claim just 3 of them over the course of the game), but Lady Chastity herself will often ring out from the darkness and the gloom. Listen to her carefully for she often gives big clues in subtle ways.

Players can expect to encounter quite a few padlocks and 4 digit codes (hey, this Lady is trying to protect her wine from thieves like us!), and some ingenious uses of physical manipulation, smoke and mirrors. For sure, there were a lot of puzzles to get through, but some of them were so utterly delightful I can’t help but still smile about them days later. Conversely, there were some that other members of my team solved so efficiently that I didn’t even see how.

Cue my “Woah look at this, you can do that!” to everyone replying in unison, “Yep we’ve solved it“. Haha, oops.

We were warned that the room was a little on the harder side, but managed to escape with 10 minutes left on the clock after using 2 clues. I think I’d still agree that it’s hard – but not impossible. For a team of 4 fairly experienced enthusiasts, some of whom on our third pint of the evening, we didn’t do too badly! We’d definitely recommend aiming to play with a similar sized group, but don’t be put off if you go in with a smaller, or brand new team!

Team ‘Lamb Sauce’ Achievements

How much does Lady Chastity’s Reserve cost?

For London, it’s not the cheapest escape room for sure. But it’s also not the most expensive. And hey, how many rooms let you take home a bottle of wine if you win?

This is a conversation we regularly have on The Escape Roomer. How do we measure “value” when different regions are priced so differently? There’s no right or wrong answer, so we try instead to ask “was it good value?” In all this room costs a flat fee of £30 per person – regardless of team size (therefore it’s £60 for a team of two, and £180 for a team of 6). Originally this escape room was also non-exclusive, meaning you might get put in with strangers. Whilst this is common in the United States, it’s unpopular in the UK. It seems like in recent times this policy has been scrapped and bookings are exclusive. Phew.

So, with this in mind, did we get a good value? Oh yes, absolutely!

Once upon a time, the original creators of Lady Chastity’s Reserve, Handmade Mysteries, closed down and for a while we thought the escape room would disappear forever. Whenever I asked other enthusiasts about their favourite room, I’d hear this one mentioned so often. Too bad it had closed down! Argh, the heartbreak.

But when the news that Houdini’s had purchased the game and was bringing it back – no price was too high for me to book this. It so happened that we got extra lucky with a Black Friday discount and didn’t pay full price between the four of us. But honestly? I’m just glad I survived the pandemic long enough to see this gem reopen.

The Verdict

*chef’s kiss*

Lady Chastity’s Reserve absolutely lived up to the hype for us, and I’m thrilled that we chose it for our very first escape room of 2022. Start the year as we mean to go on, eh?

It’s creepy, musty, sordid, manic and above all, just so much fun. We also in particular want to shout out our Games Master at The Hope Farrington for his fantastic portrayal of the caretaker Gabriel. From start to finish he never once broke character – all the way from a perfect intro briefing, to scaring us quite a few times, to presenting the bottle of The Lady’s Reserve to us at the end of our game.

After some deliberation in the pub downstairs, The Hope, we’ve decided to award this game our Fun Factor badge – awarded to all escape rooms that are just that extra bit of fun. Lady Chastity’s Reserve takes itself seriously yet still managed to balance the hilarity and silliness that we love in a room. We were all smiles and laughter from start to finish, and it’s certainly going to be a room I’ll remember for a long time.

I would highly recommend Lady Chastity’s Reserve to anyone wanting something a little different to play. At the time of writing, the Farringdon version of the game is the only one available on Houdini’s website (aww), but well worth the trip into London.

Lady Chastity’s Reserve can be booked at Houdini’s in Farringdon here.

AIM Escape: Patient Zero 2150 | Review

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Patient Zero 2150 Review | Armageddon beckons. The world’s superpowers are no more. Renegade factions vie for domination. Rogue scientists have breached all moral boundaries creating pathogens that create non-humans. Nerve agents so nightmarish that they corrupt physically and mentally, turning those exposed into the living dead – zombies. In the subterranean depths of their secret facility, the pathogen has escaped. It must be contained or all humankind, as we know it, will cease to exist. Your mission – contain the bio-threat, secure the facility and escape uninfected. Can you hold your breath for 60 minutes? This high tech terror will test the smartest players.

Date Played: 21st January 2022
Time Taken: 60 minutes (plus 15 seconds)
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Hard

In a picture-perfect exit, we escaped with the countdown timer ringing in our ears. Well- okay, not quite. We technically overran by 15 seconds. But we tried our best, and saved the world in the process. What more can you ask for, eh?!

AIM Escape is one of those venues I’ve been dying to try out since I took on Operation Mindfall, hosted by them around London two summers ago. But of course, thanks to the global pandemic, the world had other plans and we kept putting off the visit. That was until an icy cold January Friday evening when we booked the game for two. Patient Zero 2150 – save the world from a deadly virus? Well, that’s close to home, but hey after dealing with you-know-what for two years, we’re experts.

AIM Escape

About Patient Zero 2150

The story of Patient Zero 2150 is a creepy one – but not a million miles from *gestures vaguely at the past few years*. In the not too distant future we, a pair of intrepid scientists are a part of Team Beta and sent in to investigate a mysterious laboratory disaster. We arrive to discover dead bodies, cages ripped open from inside, rooms on fire, and even a whisper of zombies.

You see, this laboratory was investigating deadly pathogens and nerve agents. But clearly, something escaped and went on to kill everyone else in sight. So our job was simple: isolate areas of the lab, and develop and escape with the antidote. Simple.

Oh- but one catch, to avoid catching the virus ourselves we should probably hold our breaths for the full 60 minutes. Or, ya know, we might become zombies ourselves.

Photo (c) AIM Escape

Escape… The Living Dead!

One thing we both absolutely loved about Patient Zero 2150 was the ambience. I mean, this room is so ultra-immersive that for 60 brilliant minutes we forgot where we were. At the start of the escape room there’s a map on the wall showing the vast sprawling laboratory. Sure, you never actually get to visit these places but you do truly believe you’re there. Cut to an age later, we were several rooms ahead and I remember saying “hey behind this wall is the infirmary“. Nope, it wasn’t relevant at all – but AIM Escape really managed to make the world seem bigger than the escape room we were playing in.

We even encountered along the way small windows and doors into other ‘rooms’ and ‘areas’ – not real, of course, but you’d have fooled me!

One of the best ways AIM Escape achieves this effect is by the use of sound. Throughout the whole game we heard noises and walkie talkie chatter that set the scene of the chaos around us. Elsewhere in the laboratory, a war between the living and the dead was raging. Subtle crashes, muted gunfire, creaks and noises lurking behind every door. It was… Perfect! Kudos to the sound engineers – which is another thing I’ve never ever said about an escape room before.

One thing we would mention is that some sections of the game are fairly dimly lit. It makes total sense given the setting. Of course there would be dim lighting in places – it is after all quite a creepy game – but we wanted to mention it as a heads up for prospective bookers. You’re provided with torches throughout the game and there’s also a torch added to the walkie-talkie you have to communicate with your Games Master which comes in handy.

Photo (c) AIM Escape

“I’ve pushed every button in the room, now what?”

In terms of puzzles – I won’t beat around the bush – we found this game HARD. Not impossibly hard, and over a pint afterwards we remarked that none of the puzzles made you feel stupid. But for some reason a lot of it didn’t click and we used many clues. Sometimes those clues were the little nudge we needed before an “ohhh! That’s brilliant!” moment. Other times we still didn’t quite click with what the puzzle was asking us to do and why. But hey, that’s okay! It was a welcome challenge.

At the start of our briefing our fantastic host Mads joked that we could ask for unlimited clues, and that they wouldn’t judge us (ok well maybe a little). At about our 6th clue (some requested, some volunteered), we began to wonder if we might be breaking a record for most clues required in this game.

The website does warn that it’s a hard game. Not only that but it’s the hardest available at AIM Escape. In hindsight booking with just two players – one of whom it was her third escape room ever – maybe wasn’t the best choice. But we were there to have fun, and we did have a lot of fun, twenty thousand clues or not.

With no locks, every puzzle we encountered was technological. Push buttons, do things on screens, to trigger the next step. This meant that when we were particularly stuck on a digital dexterity puzzle, our Games Master could helpfully in-character ‘remotely hack’ it to move us along to the next step. As a player, I felt bad doing this. We should have stuck with it and kept trying – but time was against us!

Photo (c) AIM Escape

A Challenge for the Brave

So difficulty aside, who would we recommend this room for? For starters – not kids! It’s not overtly scary, but there’s a definite sense of looming threat and a couple of minor jump scares, and plenty of fake blood that little players might get upset with. I say that knowing fine well that my own brother, aged 12, probably would have found the whole thing absolutely brilliant. But better safe than sorry.

We also would recommend a team of 3 at the minimum. The mix of rooms jumbles up linear and non-linear moments – meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for players to work on different things at the same time. Our recommendation of 3 comes more in terms of ‘brain power’ however. We escaped – but only just! And our host did give us a lot of much needed help, so I’m calling her our honorary third player.

The Verdict

We had an absolute blast at Patient Zero 2150 and it’s been cemented in my imagination as one of London’s must-play rooms – especially for enthusiasts! It’s a challenge, but a fully rewarding one that transplants you, the players, into the middle of a high-adrenaline thriller zombie film where the fate of the world is literally in your hands. The ambience and atmosphere is second to none (no, seriously, I mean it!), and the staff (despite it being very busy when we booked) went above and beyond to make sure we were well looked after.

Sure, it’s a hard room, but also saving the world from a deadly pathogen was never going to be a walk in the park!

Patient Zero 2150 can be booked by heading to AIM Escape’s website here.

No Escape: The Haunted Toy Store | Review

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The Haunted Toy Store Review | An abandoned toy store looms over an otherwise charming village. People tell stories of weird noises and strange happenings, toys found in odd places and children going missing. Nobody has been brave enough to attempt to solve the mysteries of the toy store that is, until you…

Completion Time: 40 minutes
Date Played: 29th October 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Easy-ish

I’ve got a reputation on The Escape Roomer for being a little bit of a scaredy cat… Dark Spaces? Ghosts? Asylums? No thank you.

I listen in horror as Al and Ash chat about all the UK’s scariest games they’ve played and instead ‘reminisce’ about the time I went to the London Dungeon and had to be escorted out because I got too scared and started crying. It would be a funny story if I’d been a child… Only I was 17 at the time!

But when our group committed to playing a scary escape room over Halloween, I figured what the heck – if you can’t get scared witless on Halloween, then when can you? No Escape, bring it on!

A Hauntingly Good Halloween at No Escape

For No Escape’s special Halloween weekend, we went for what sounded like the least scary game they run: The Haunted Toy Store. Somehow ghosts feel more manageable than walking into a blood splattered cutting floor- which made being greeted at the entrance by a terrifying butcher in full character, sporting a human ear necklace all the more chilling.

For one weekend only in 2021, each of No Escape’s escape rooms at both of their London sites had a live actor in the room with the teams. It’s important to note that normally, their rooms are not live actor rooms, but given the circumstances I think The Haunted Toy Store was vastly improved with the presence of a creepy clown throwing red herrings our way. The creepy clown was an actor, Nicole, and just outside the room our games master was Holly.

We resolved to enter the room and pretend as if we wouldn’t be scared and in the end I think we made the right decision. I think without the live actor the room itself would have been fairly average and not too scary- but if you’re into creepy cursed dolls and children’s toys coming to life, then you’ll probably enjoy it all the same! No jump scares in the original, but plenty in the Halloween special! So a huge shout out to Holly and Nicole for that!

Pitch Black… Cackling Laughter

We began our briefing being told that this was a mysterious toy shop. The day before a boy had come into the room and cut himself quite badly, but when they’d returned to clean it up all the blood had mysteriously disappeared. Creepily, so had the boy – not a trace of him since.

The doors then swung open and we were in pitch darkness. As cackling laughter rose out of the corner, we quickly realised we were not alone! Our first actor interaction began in this room, which I feverishly tried to ignore, rushing past them to start busying myself with anything else. A word of warning: It’s quite hard to try to look for a light switch when you have your eyes closed.

From here, we were off to a flying start. The Haunted Toy Store is essentially a two-room escape room that pretty much looks and feels exactly like a toy shop from everyone’s worst nightmare. Plenty of dolls staring out at you from shelves, and plenty of toys that have had heads and limbs ripped off. So many distorted faces, dark corners and eerie sounds!

*shudders*

How did we escape the Haunted Toy Store?

The puzzles in this escape room were fairly straightforward and we managed to escape with a respectable time that put us right at the top of the Halloween leader board. I’d probably pitch the general puzzles at an easier-than-average level, but that’s not to say we didn’t get immensely stuck from time to time! No sir. The presence of a creepy clown made it all the harder.

There was a bit of searching and finding, plenty of children’s toys, some of which had clues and others were just for display, as well dials to turn, things to count and a few 3 and 4 digit codes. This all led to a meta puzzle which combined lots of the room and took us the longest to get right! There were also a few red herrings in the game which are usually a no-no in escape rooms, but we all felt they worked pretty well in a room like this. Red herrings can go a long way to building up atmosphere and forcing you to spread out (and away from the safety of numbers!)

Over the course of The Haunted Toy Store we asked for two hints. One of these was delivered via a screen in the room, and the other was given by the live actor in the room. Since this room is not usually available with a live actor, I don’t mind telling you that she had us all holding hands and singing ring-a-ring-a-roses followed by lots of screaming in order to receive the clue. I still have nightmares!

The Verdict

Overall, we had a lot of fun! We screamed quite a few times – but thankfully not as many as the butcher room next door to us, so I think we made the right choice!

There are a few ‘meh’ reviews of the company and the room out there, and I can see that without a live actor it probably wouldn’t appeal to hardcore enthusiasts as much. We were there for a good time, a couple of screams, and that’s exactly what we got – so no complaints.

For the special Halloween edition, we paid £35 per ticket which is also fairly expensive, even for London, but we’d still recommend the experience for the right team. Especially at Halloween.

The Haunted toy Store can be booked on No Escape’s website here. Please note, this review is of their special Halloween version of the room available from the 28th – 31st of October 2021. This involved a live actor in the room, which is not typically available.

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E-Scape Rooms: The Alp | Review

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The Alp Review | The Alp is here. He won’t leave and you can’t run away. He waits for the night to fall. When you lay your head to rest, he will be there.

Completion Time: 1 hour
Date Played: March 2021
Party Size: 2
Difficulty: Medium

I absolutely love the horror genre, and with that comes the excitement of horror escape rooms. The unsettling feeling of fear combined with time sensitive puzzle solving gives me such an adrenaline rush, so I was eager to play E-Scape Room Games’ The Alp.

An unsettling horror themed game with brilliant puzzles and an excellent eerie narrative

We played as a group of three over Zoom and were each invited to join the game on our separate devices. Our narrator is introduced through some mysterious black and white footage, and he begins to describe a house with a dark past. On moving into the house, his wife started to experience horrific nightmares until one morning, she didn’t wake up. Soon enough, the narrator starts to experience these nightmares for himself. It’s up to us to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.

The game begins and we’re free to explore the first room. We’re all able to explore separate areas of the room at the same time by dragging and clicking, and if anything of significance happens we’re all redirected to a video simultaneously to ensure we don’t miss a thing. Many of the puzzles require teamwork and communication from different areas of the room, and the game makes it really easy to co-ordinate this.

The puzzles are a mix of cyphers, deduction, pattern spotting and some algebra thrown in to test our school day memories. They fit in with the theme perfectly, and are supplemented by an eerie soundtrack which allow the puzzles to flow nicely with the story. Game design means it’s always clear what the task in hand is, and progress is marked with several sinister videos deepening the feeling of immersion.

The hint system is simple, and you can select which area of the room you need help with along with step by step clues designed to not give too much away.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this room. Although one addition to the ending of the story took us away from the immersion slightly**, we were suitably spooked and relieved with our decision to play in daylight.

Note: This review was originally published on March 7th 2021 on Borderline Puzzler. ** the ending has since changed.

E-Scape Rooms are currently offering The Alp for just £5.49 with the discount code ALPINTRO666, which is an absolute bargain for this game.

Ratings

The Best UK Escape Rooms to Play This Halloween (2021)

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas? Pfft, it’s all about HALLOWEEN! We’re calling it – spooky season is upon us and the perfect way to get into the ‘spirit’ is to play as many ghoulish, creepy and downright terrifying escapes! And lucky for you, we at The Escape Roomer have pulled together a roundup of the most spook-tacular escape games out there so you don’t have to.

Our list covers spine-chilling games from across the UK, as well as some to give you the creeps from the comfort of your own home (we know, we know, there’s nothing better than settling down with a classic PSL for a rainy autumnal afternoon escape at home, before getting the willies watching scary movies all night!).

But we also know that being scared WIT-less doesn’t work for everyone (and their puzzle solving capability). Never fear! You can still enjoy spooky season; we have included some tamer escapes that are guaranteed not to scare, but that fit in perfectly with the Halloween season.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s find your perfect Halloween escaping plans!

Disclaimer: These scares levels were accurate at the time of writing, but we know some companies like the ramp up the scare for Halloween, so if you are a bit nervous, please check with the company directly if they’ve snuck in an extra scare (or a live actor, no one wants a surprise live actor!!)

😱 Hardcore Scary Escape Rooms 😱

Want to be scared out of your mind? Try one of these escape rooms for an extreme scream…

The 13utcher – Escapologic, Nottingham

If you know anything about scary escape rooms, you will have heard of Escapologic’s the 13utcher! This game is notorious among the escape community for being one of the most terrifying escape experiences in the UK. You accidentally get trapped behind the shutter of what turns out to be the Butcher’s lair and there’s no saying when he will return (it’s definitely during the hour!).

We haven’t yet played the 13utcher (we’ve been working our way up to it), but we have heard amazing things- including overhearing a lad scarred by the fact that the butcher stole his shoes! If you like hardcore scares, this is the game for you!

Please note this game is advertised as 18+. You can book to play the 13utcher at https://www.escapologic.com/nottingham-escape-rooms/butcher/.

Edith – Unescapable, Derby

So Unescapable aren’t really an escape room company- they’re a super secret time travelling facility masquerading as an escape rooms company, but we’re sure they won’t mind us telling you that! When they open a time portal they send one of their scientists back to make sure everything is ok, and Edith was just the lady for the job… only things went awry when they lost communication with her. She should have shut down the portal but something stopped her. It’s your job to go back and get that portal closed!

We can vouch for the scare levels of Edith- there’s plenty of opportunities to get the adrenaline flowing! Something evil stalks you on your mission and takes every opportunity to make you jump, scream and, at times, get separated from your team mates. There were certainly a fair few nervous giggles among our team when we played, but we loved every heart racing moment of it! If you like a scare, this is one not to miss!

Please note there is an element of crawling required by all players in this room. You can find out more and book to play Edith at https://www.unescapable.co.uk/#rooms1.

Operation Clearsafe – Project Breakout, Brighouse

You’ve infiltrated a top secret facility rumoured to have been undertaking unethical tests on humans and animals to expose their secrets. Unlucky for you, these test subjects have broken free. Can you avoid the creatures to escape the compound with your life?

Operation Clearsafe can be run on scalable levels of scary. So if live actors and jump scares just really aren’t for you, you can still enjoy all the fun this game has to offer without the fear (fun) factor.

You can find out more and book to play Operation Clearsafe at https://www.projectbreakout.co.uk/escape-rooms/.

Phobia – Paralysis Escape Rooms, Stoke

Local people have been going missing and you believe Riser Kane, a creepy psychologist known for his boundary pushing experiments, is to blame. So, of course, while he is detained, you choose to head down into his cellar (shudders) to find out what has truly been going on. Can you manage to overcome your phobias and make it out with the crucial evidence before Riser Kane returns and takes you as his next ‘patient’?

You can find out more and book to play Phobia at https://paralysisescaperooms.com/rooms/phobia-escape-room/.

👻 Escape Rooms That’ll Make You Jump 👻

Scary, but not “scarred for life” scary. These rooms will make you jump!

Sleepover – Escapologist, Cleethorpes

Breaking into the abandoned house of the infamous murdered family is a great idea right? What about planning to sleep over there? Easy Peasy! But when the door locks itself behind you, those rumours of the place being haunted start to make you worry a little more…

Sleepover is a jam-packed 80 minute game that you really get your money’s worth from! If you enjoy a good jump scare, you’ll be sure to have a great time!

You can find out more and book to play Sleepover at https://escapologist-cleethorpes.co.uk/sleepover/.

Cabin in the Woods – Stuck in the Riddle, Huddersfield

Memory implant technology sends you back into the memory of serial killer the silent slayer’s last victim. You find yourself in a remote cabin in the woods. Well of course, what could be more appropriate as a killer’s lair?! Your mission is to find out the identity of the killer and get out of the memory before he comes back to kill the person whose memory you are inhabiting.

We had a great time playing this as a pair and can safely say there were lots of nervous giggles following being made to jump.

You can find out more and book to play Cabin in the Woods at https://www.stuckintheriddle.com/cabin-in-the-woods/.

Scarytale – Deception, Matlock

Not all fairy tales have happy endings… as the Millers found out when the price of a game they played with a wicked little man was their daughter Olivia, who was taken by him. They’ve spent years trying to find him to have a second chance at the game, and now that they’ve found the man with no name, can you help them defeat him?

A brilliant, dark and unnerving twist on a well-known fairy tale! We loved this room and enjoyed just how cleverly the elements are woven together.

You can find out more and book to play Scarytale at https://www.deceptionescaperooms.com/book-now

Seance – Enigma, Wakefield

Rated 18+, Seance is a chilling game including genuine arcane artifacts, demonic symbols and rituals. You enter the home of Tabitha, a sickly child who was lost when her mother did a ritual to try to help her. Expect a couple of jump scares incited by Tabitha popping to see what you’re up to. Lots of creepiness in a relatively small space, this is a really fun room!

You can find out more and book to play Seance at https://enigmarooms.co.uk/escape-rooms-wakefield/seance-escape-room/

Howitz – Escapologic, Nottingham

Escapologic again?! Yes! And while this is a significant step down in terms of outright terror from the 13utcher (no live actor for a start), it is still a creepy room set in a disturbing toy shop with the ability to prompt some good jump scares! Escapologic have really thought about the *special* touches to send a shiver down your spine in this game. We absolutely loved this game, in particular the amazing clue system they use, which lends itself completely to the theme and fans of spooky stuff will LOVE!

There is a section which will require the group to separate, but we managed this as a pair and while unnerving, no one comes into the room so you’re as safe as you can be in a creepy toy shop!

You can find out more and book to play Howitz at https://www.escapologic.com/nottingham-escape-rooms/howitz/

Sacred – LetsXcape, Newark

Father Frederick has asked you to enter the Monastery at Kelham Hall to search for Novice Tobias who has gone missing. Your Sacred mission is to search for his whereabouts and discover the truth… A really atmospheric game set in the grounds of Kelham Hall. Who knew that monks could be so creepy?

This game is rated 12+ with parental advisory. You can find out more and book to play Sacred at https://www.letsxcape.co.uk/sacred/

The Orphanage – Lucardo, Manchester

Lucardo provide a PG rating for this game which is sure to give you the creeps. The derelict St Josephine’s Orphanage for Girls is up for auction so you’re headed there to take a look at the site and its redevelopment potential. Upon entering the building, the previous residents have left eerie signs of their unhappy time in the Orphanage and you get caught up in the history of the place. Just try not to get singled out by the cruel woman who ran the place, and try not to get locked in the Keeper (we thought this was veeeery reminiscent of the chokey from Matilda!)

You can find out more and book to play the Orphanage at https://lucardo.com/manchester

Run – The Great Escape, Sheffield

You may recognise this as the game Ariana Grande played on the Late Late Show with James Corden (just at a different branch, somewhere in the USA, rather than Sheffield). Set in a dilapidated ex-children’s home, local urban legend claims that many moons ago the home’s Headmaster used to pay for his own immortality with the souls of these poor unfortunate children. Of course this means that exploring the place you uncover unnerving items, things that go bump in the night and downright creepy goings-on. IF you want to break the curse, set these poor children’s souls free and make it out of the derelict building unscathed, you may have to RUN!

You can find out more and book to play Run at https://thegreatescapegame.co.uk/games/run

Abigail – Trapp’d, Kettering

An innocent little girl called Abigail whose life was stolen by her cruel parents who locked her away in her bedroom for years. Tragically she was taken by the flames of a blazing fire, burnt and alone. Some say they still see a little girl walking the hallways of the now derelict Hallows House. Since Abigail’s death in the early 1940s, there has been a terrifying amount of disappearances and accidents within the walls. 

You’re part of a paranormal team investigating Hallows House when things turn sinister. A haunting looking doll has been watching you and you realise the uncanny familiarity the doll has to long gone Abigail. This is really exciting game spread over a large space giving you plenty of chances to get the willies as you go off exploring the house, and with a few opportunities for jump scares thrown in for good measure.

You can find out more and book to play Abigail at https://trappd.com/book-now/kettering/abigail/

💀 On the Creepy Side of Tame 💀

More creepy than spooky, these are perfect for those dark October nights.

Mr Chuckles’ Funhouse – Escape Quest, Macclesfield

If you are a longstanding fan of scares and escape rooms, you may remember Bad Clown. Unfortunately we missed out on playing this as we have heard that it was SCARY- in fact, owners Elaine and Mike said that so many teams would refuse before the beginning was over! As a result, a tamer version, Mr Chuckles’ Funhouse, emerged and we have had the pleasure of playing this!

You need to outsmart Mr Chuckles and his puzzles to escape his creepy funhouse. To do this, each player needs to win a ticket. The catch? The time ends as soon as the first golden ticket holder exits the game, sabotaging the rest of the team’s chances of exiting the creepy funhouse, so you need to decide what’s more important – A fast time or for every member of your team to win the game? Will you come together as a team to overcome Mr Chuckles and his games or will it be every player for themselves?

For teams unlucky enough to still be inside without a ticket or too slow to get out as the final seconds tick by, Mr Chuckles has one last surprise up his sleeve…

You can find out more and book to play Mr Chuckles’ Funhouse at https://www.escapequest.co.uk/mr-chuckles-funhouse.html

Jilted? – Deception Matlock

A missing bride is never a good thing…. Jilted? Or is something more sinister at play?

Can you go to hell and back to find out what really happened after the bridal party left the bride? Jilted offers plenty of puzzles in an impressive and interactive set that really immerses you in the unorthodox rituals the bride got involved in during her preparations for the big day. While there are definite creepy vibes and a darker story line at play, this game won’t scare your pants off (well not too much anyway!)

You can find out more and book to play Jilted? at https://www.deceptionescaperooms.com/book-now

Hellevator – Clue HQ, Birmimgham

A very dramatic (and black mirror-esque) introduction sets the story line for the Hellevator: your torturous ascent will be live streamed to the general public watching your every move as you try to solve the series of trials to make it up to floor 13 successfully! The drama and tension escalates exponentially as you ascend towards the final level, creating an intense and exhilarating finish, and feeling a rush of adrenaline followed by relief to have completed the Hellevator!

You can find out more and book to play the Hellevator at https://cluehq.co.uk/birmingham/escape-games/#thehellevator

Murder Motel – Enigma, Wakefield

Sam has been sticking around in your Motel for longer than the average guest. To add to that, something doesn’t feel quite…right…about him. He gives you the creeps and you want to know what he’s hiding. So, opportunity strikes when he heads out one evening and you take your chance to snoop around his room and find out who Sam really is. Just try to be quick and make it out before he returns to discover you in his dingy motel room, otherwise things could get really nasty!

You can find out more and book to play Murder Motel at https://enigmarooms.co.uk/escape-rooms-wakefield/murder-motel-escape-room/.

The Night Watchman – Eskape Whitby

Out on the docks of Whitby, people have been disappearing. These are dark times, and there are rumours of things being spotted in the shadows. The locals have grown fearful, but the night watchman might have uncovered the secret. He’s the next person who has gone missing, but managed to leave a trail of clues. As the top detectives in Yorkshire, you have been called in to help. Can you follow in the night watchman’s footsteps find out what is wreaking terror on the town. (If you know anything about what Whitby is famous for, you may be able to hazard a guess at what or who that might be…)

You can find out more and book to play The Night Watchman at https://www.eskapewhitby.co.uk/rooms.html

🎃 Halloween Escape Rooms for the Family 🎃

These rooms probably won’t scare you, but they scratch the Halloween itch just nicely!

Frankenscape – Ctrl Alt Esc, Margate

You might be able to guess what the theme of this room is from the name! Professor Alec Smart has been working on a groundbreaking experiment that some may think is controversial. The key to its success is lightning and a storm is a-brewin’. Ctrl Alt Esc has gone all out on a thrilling room, and the end sequence is unforgettable!

You can find out more and book to play Frankenscape at https://ctrlaltesc.co.uk/index.php/en/games

Carfax – Cave Escape, Nottingham

If you’re a fan of gothic classic Dracula, you’ll love Carfax! You are called upon by Van Helsing following some strange goings on, to find out what is going on. In Carfax, you follow the story of Dracula from arrival in the dockyard, through to overcoming the infamous vampire himself. And to add to the gothic atmosphere, Carfax is built within Nottingham’s underground cave network. Does it get more spooky and atmospheric than that?! But rest assured, this is not a scary game, just based around a Halloweeny theme.

You can find out more and book to play Carfax at https://www.caveescape.co.uk/carfax

Carfax – Cave Escape

Afterlife – Cryptology, Sheffield

Can you beat Death himself? Find out in this adventure through Purgatory, Hell and into the pearly gates of heaven. If you succeed, you get to add your name to the Book of Life. Fail, and I guess you’re…well…dead.

You can find out more and book to play Afterlife at https://cryptologyrooms.co.uk/sheffield/afterlife

Ward 13 – Enigma, Doncaster

You’ve been mistakenly put on Ward 13, and that is a place you do NOT want to be! Can you manage to work out how to sneak your way out before you end up in the same position as the patients before you? If you know Pretty Little Liars, think Radley vibes… A creepy theme, but rest assured that you can enjoy this safe in the knowledge that there aren’t going to be any jump scares to throw you off your puzzling!

You can find out more and book to play Ward 13 at https://enigmarooms.co.uk/escape-rooms-doncaster/ward-13-escape-room/

Sweeney Todd – Enigma, Lincoln

I’m sure you know the story of Sweeney Todd. Barbershop… people going missing… plenty of delicious pies in Mrs Lovetts’ shop downstairs. Enigma have created a magnificent recreation of the Victorian tale in this game, with an amazing centerpiece that sets this off perfectly! Despite the dark tale, you won’t be too scared, just make sure you don’t try any of those pies!

You can find out more and book to play Sweeney Todd at https://enigmarooms.co.uk/escape-rooms-lincoln/sweeney-todd-escape-room/

Salem – Trapp’d, Leeds

While visiting Salem, you hear stories that supposed witch Marjorie Sutton can still be seen prowling around in her old stomping ground and you want to know the truth, so you head to her abandoned shack in the woods to explore. But while you are there, the witching hour strikes. Transported into the world of Salem Witch trials, you must find and destroy the book of the damned and escape the cabin before you are trapped in the Salem forest forever. A great game to enjoy the atmospheric witch-y theme with no scares to freak you out.

You can find out more and book to play Salem at https://trappd.com/book-now/leeds/leeds-salem/

Spellbound – Make your escape, Derby

What a magical game! We’d recommend bringing a big group to this game as the room is jam packed with puzzles and is quite the challenge. In fact, with this game- the more, the merrier as it is a spacious room and can accommodate up to 10 players. Based on a real tale of witch trials that took place in Derby in the 1600s, you enter the cabin of these two accused witches, centuries after their conviction for witchcraft, to explore their cabin, find out the truth and become part of the legend. A perfect way to celebrate Halloween with all your fellow spooky season connoisseurs!

You can find out more and book to play Spellbound at https://www.makeyourescapederby.com/spellbound/

Stuck at home?

Here’s our list of the best at-home Halloween Escape Rooms

Mystery Mansion Regina: D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe | Review

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Local paranormal Youtuber, Estelle Jacobs, was searching for her missing boyfriend, Alex. Shortly after visiting D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe, Estelle vanished without a trace. It’s time to venture inside the Curio Shoppe through a live video feed and find out the truth about Estelle’s disappearance…

Rating: Creepy!
Completion Time: 67 minutes
Date Played: 13th June 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Horror fans! (14+)

Things are getting creepier and creepier in the Sleepy Man trilogy at Mystery Mansion Regina…

*shudders*

In what was one epic sugar-fuelled horror game marathon, team Escaping the Closet and I took on the Sleepy Man trilogy – a series of remote avatar games centred around their fictional nightmare, the Sleepy Man. The games in this series in order are:

The Story So Far…

In Night Terrors, the first in the series, we played as Alex’s subconscious – one of the victims who mysterious vanished after complaining of nightly Sleepy Man visits. In D’Viles Curio Shoppe we continued the story alongside streamer Livestreamer1337 (Sam) after hearing the mysterious rumours of Alex’s disappearance. Alex’s girlfriend Estelle was last seen at the mysterious Curio Shoppe and in a jovial ‘Buzzfeed Unsolved’ kinda way we came along for the ride with one goal in mind: capture some ghosts on camera!

…Wait, wait, sorry. Seems like I missed the brief. Our goal was to of course bring the missing people home.

But I wouldn’t say no to helping Livestreamer1337 go viral on Twitch either.

The Experience

D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe is played via a combination of:

  • Controlling a live avatar on Zoom, and
  • Your inventory system and 360 degree view of the room on Telescape

You’ll need your sound turned on (and up!) for this game, as both the live avatar and the Telescape work together to create a creepy, almost surround-sound experience. For the large part, Telescape played a supporting role allowing multiple players to be looking at different things at once. Personally, playing over two devices anyway, I spent more time on the Zoom call than rummaging through my inventory, but it was very helpful to have both handy.

Occasionally the Zoom call broke into an almost seamless video transition using Telescape and every single time I had to half close my eyes expecting a massive jump scare but thankfully this remote avatar room’s currency is creepy-scare, not necessarily jump scare. Unless you count– oh wait, I won’t spoil that! You’ll know it when you see it 😉

The Theming

D’Viles Curio Shoppe is the only game in the trilogy that exists in the real world too. What I mean is, it’s a live escape room at Mystery Mansion Regina which can be played at their physical location.

This is worth mentioning as the other two games in the trilogy are actually at a different, remote-avatar only location located at another site. There’s a few noticeable differences between D’Viles Curio Shoppe due to the fact this room has to cater to both audiences, but nothing suffers for it! It’s more of an interesting detail, and very cool that the company have adapted the existing and new experiences to work seamlessly together.

In terms of theming of this room, your host Sam takes you into a very curious looking shop – Estelle’s last known location. It becomes quickly very clear that this is no ordinary shop. Or should I say… Shoppe! From the mysterious tarot cards plastered on the wall to the decidedly creepy fortune teller box in one corner. On the shelves I spotted nothing less than a real monkey’s paw, some cursed trinkets, skulls, and other absolutely horrifying things that I definitely want to purchase for Halloween.

The whole room is also bathed in a rather mysterious purplish light that sets a very creepy shadow on otherwise innocuous items. There’s real tension in the air. Anything could happen. It also doesn’t help that everywhere are warning signs not to touch anything, and yet touch everything we did!

Definitely cursed now. Yep.

We were delighted and surprised to discover that this is not just a one-room experience. But the less I say about how the second space is discovered, the better. This room is packed with surprises and it’s best to go in with an open mind!

The Puzzles

In terms of puzzle difficulty, D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe is slightly more difficult than Night Terrors. That said, we didn’t need to ask for any clues, but our host Sam (real name Owen) was helpful enough to gently nudge us in the right direction when we needed it.

Players can expect to encounter puzzles involving ciphers, keys, number locks, and some very interesting use of tarot cards too! None of the puzzles were stand-out brilliant and I did get the impression that a lot of them would be best experienced in the live room, but I think the true enjoyment of the room is the narrative storytelling and hosting, rather than interrogating the puzzles. We weren’t playing it to be dazzled by mechanical puzzles, we were playing to be spooked- and it succeeded!

Overall

D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe is a brilliantly spooky game that has near-mastered the art of creating tension and a sense of unease in all the players! I (Mairi) am not a horror game fan typically, but D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe was a perfect balance that left me feeling like:

…Without actually making me scream or cry. Bravo!

Of the three in the trilogy, it’s not my favourite, but it NOT to be missed if you want the full experience, start to finish. Oh, and good luck getting to sleep after this one!

D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe (virtual) can be booked for $25 CAD pp on Mystery Mansion Regina’s website here.

Emergency Exit: The Beast | Review

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There’s a cabin in the woods with a legend of the supernatural. Long abandoned, there have been strange sightings and many people have disappeared, as reported in the news over the years, never to return. You should NOT enter! The question is… can you escape parts 2 and 3 of the Crowley Manor story? There’s lots of puzzles to solve before you can.

Rating: Terrifying!
Completion Time: ~90 minutes
Date Played: 14th May 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Playing by anyone late at night with all the lights off

I don’t like horror… Ohhhh no no no no no. But a horror escape room via Zoom? Yeah I was willing to give it a go. I mean if you’re sitting behind a screen it’s hard to be too scared. Right? Right?! Hahah, I kid! But seriously this was brilliantly terrifying and I had a lot of fun, despite my fears. Emergency Exit gets a lot of good reviews and has even won awards for it’s Exorcism (the prequel) and The Beast (this one) games and it’s very easy to see why.

I took on The Beast with team Escaping the Closet on a spooky (well as spooky as you can get in May) Friday evening with all the curtains drawn, my lights turned to ‘red’, and most importantly – home alone. Which I made the mistake of saying early on into the game, followed later on by this conversation:

Host: It’s a good job you’ve got people there with you Mairi
Me: No, I’m home alone
Host: Wait what, who’s that behind you then?

…Sharply moving on from that! Let’s get into the review:

The Story

We did not play Exorcism before taking on The Beast, so I’ll have to admit there was a bit of plot that was lost on me. The Beast picks up exactly where Exorcism leaves off after your camera man Liam was taken by… Well, something sinister and awful I’ve no doubt. The host decides he’s got to go back into the room and try and rescue Liam, but it quickly goes very south from there.

The whole vibe reminded me a little bit of “Britain’s Most Haunted”, but this time we’re not taking on ghosts, we’re taking on evil demonic spirits. The setting: Crowley Manor. There were a lot of references to the dearly departed residents of of the manor, such as Alice (who shared a name with one of our team!). As we skipped Exorcist, I feel like I didn’t fully follow the first half plot… That or I was too busy hiding behind a pillow!

As you work your way throughout the escape room you’ll go from the main room into a creepy cabin out back and from here the plot takes an even creepier twist. I don’t want to spoil it as it’s twisty and packed with “woah!” moments that are integral to the characters, the house and the history, but rest assured it’s a great room if you love narrative.

The Theming

In terms of theming, The Beast absolutely shines! There are two ‘areas’ to explore which are built around two of the real life escape rooms at Emergency Exit. They’ve got absolutely everything you want from a creepy house with an even creepier cabin. Everything I say? Yes! Even a cursed doll. Literally. It’s cursed. I thought the lock was part of the puzzle but no it’s locked in there with a Bible to keep people away.

*shudders*

The first location is cold and grimy with centuries old cots, cabinets and creepy children’s toys scattered everywhere. Much of the room has been defaced with paint.. Or is that blood? Anything you give you a double take and send shivers up the spine.

The second location is slightly cosier, as candlelit cabins are but that’s no consolation when the poor host has to crawl into small spaces and uncover creepy Satanic objects.

In both rooms there are a good deal of really impressive special effects that add to the mystery. Again, I do not wish to spoil anything, but this game utilises things that I never thought I’d see an escape room do and I am impressed!

The Host

The hosting of this room also get’s it’s own separate section as I can’t help but mention how brilliant our two hosts were – Liam (the camera man) and Ronnie (the host in front of us)! The camera man’s control of the room was absolutely brilliant. I know some people are concerned about motion sickness but there’s none of that in this room, everything was smooth to a T. Most of the time you’re chatting to Ronnie but at one part you’ll ‘control’ Liam instead and the transition was as seamless as it was fun.

Ronnie on the other hand brought the whole thing to life with his character and personality. He felt like an extension of our own team, interacting with us in a real and humorous way. We’d have to coax him into unlocking certain things and heck, it makes sense, this room is terrifying! I wouldn’t want to reach into that creepy dark place and pull out God knows what either!

Together the two host team worked super well and is the absolute icing on the cake of this already brilliant experience.

The Puzzles

Players can expect a more or less non-linear flow of puzzles but a linear progression through the story to reach the ending… Which is a confusing way for me to explain that there is a lot to do and I think we did it in a fairly random order but still made it to the end!

The first part is a bit of ‘searching and finding’. Your host finds himself locked in and you’ve gotta first guide him to finding everything in the room that might come in use. Just watch out for the horrifying creepy dolls.

As with all good Demon themed rooms- I’m kidding, this is my first because I’m a scaredy cat- the second area features plenty of supernatural puzzles! It was a delight to see things like candles, ouija boards, haunted dolls and tarot cards all playing a strong role in the puzzle solving! I also really personally enjoyed the puzzles that involved solving ciphers. Give me some cool demon language any day!

The Tech

A quick note on the tech, The Beast is played entirely in Zoom. This means everything you need is right in front of you – no inventory system, no point and click to get a closer look. This works really well for this room as it means you need never break immersion. In particular, the hosts can capture and hold your attention for some very well timed jump scares and seamless video transitions!

Overall

This game was brilliant and absolutely lives up to the hype. From about 3pm on Friday all the way until our 8pm booking I was working myself up into a frenzy – “What if it’s too scary?! Should I skip dinner?“, but despite my worries there was no way to prepare for the thoroughly creepy and immersive experience that it was.

It’s also worth noting that the experience can be scaled up or down in scariness – to a certain extent! If you chose to play this with kids, the hosts ‘read the room’ and don’t go too dark. A team of 20 something year olds they went all out though and I screamed my apartment down at least twice. But you know what, despite my aversion to horror, I had an amazingly fun time.

My only regret? Not playing The Exorcist first! But rest assured, we’ve got that one booked soon.

Oh I also regret that we sacrificed Tasha’s soul to the devil but I’m sure she’ll be ok.

The Beast can be booked for £100 per team on Emergency Exit’s website here.