This is the post excerpt.
This is the launch of our new blog to review all the escape room companies and their rooms which we have tried over the past twelve months. We are a group of three enthusiasts who love to be challenged in logically thinking and puzzle solving. We have been escaping for around a year and have between us in excess of 120+ rooms. The blog has been created to share our experiences of the companies and the rooms which we have tried. The views on the blog are solely those of our group and in no way reflect other peoples views of any company or room.
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THEME: 20 years ago five murder victims were found, all twenty something males with an internal organ missing but replaced by a primitive replica. Just as swiftly as they had started the murders stopped. The police never found out who was behind it all and eventually gave up the case after years of searching. But last night there was an unexpected development in the case, 5 new victims. we don’t know why he’s back, why he’s taking organs but let’s be clear. If we don’t find the missing organs in the next hour 5 men will die. We’re counting on you.
ROOM: As with all the rooms at Locked In, the theming was great and the clue system fit in seamlessly with the room. We got stuck in and found some lovely, unique puzzles. Many of their puzzles we haven’t seen before and they are such simple ideas but such good puzzles which are so satisfying when solved. There was so much to do in the room we were both busy throughout the game. The story progressed well with a combination of linear puzzles and things we knew we needed to do to complete the game. Locked in are very skilled at creating puzzle packed games with great themes and unique puzzles. The owners are lovely, with a genuine enthusiasm for escape rooms and hung around and talked to us about all things escaping for ages. It was a pleasure to visit these rooms, we can see why they are so highly recommended – a must for any enthusiast!
ESCAPE TIME: 58 minutes with very few clues!
LEVEL: It would probably benefit a team to have a bit of experience before trying this room. If you are new to escaping take a big team.
THEME: The Kensie Research Lab was a marvel of 70s technology, with the best equipment money could buy. Situated in Edinburgh, smack in the middle of an old veterinary hospital so not to raise suspicion, the lab was designed around the research and creation of vaccines and viruses. The mastermind behind the project was Professor Lyall Kensie, a brilliant bio-chemist .Do you have what it takes to discover what lies within The Secret Lab today.
ROOM: Well…this is why Locked In Edinburgh is raved about by every enthusiast we know – wow – what a room! There are soooo many puzzles. And such great ones! It does require things to be done in a vague order but we could work together or individually on a variety of things throughout the game. We particularly loved how the clues were delivered. We again missed some really obvious things but there is just so much to do in this room we were very busy all the way through. The puzzles are unique, varied and all of them are just fantastic. This is easily within our top 5 favourite rooms, and definitely worth a visit to Edinburgh to experience. Coupled with how nice the owners and host were, this is a wonderful company which was a pleasure to visit.
ESCAPE TIME: We finished the room in 1 hour 5 minutes, but considering there were only two of us and it’s recommended for a minimum of four we were happy with that!
BEST BIT: There were so many great parts but I think we particularly enjoyed the unique clue system which was very in keeping with the game.
LEVEL: The game is suitable for any level but the less experienced you are the more people you should take.
THEME: Your mission here is to uncover the identity of the disgruntled employee plotting against the Distillery, find out what they’re up to, save yourself and save the gin!
ROOM: We had heard so much about the rooms in Edinburgh that we decided we had to visit and see what all the fuss is about! Our first venue was Locked In Edinburgh. We were met by Jackie (one of the owners) and Heather (the gamemaster) and shown to the venue. It’s a slightly unusual setting as they have a section of Summerhall which also houses a few other companies so you are met at entrance and taken up to the actual rooms. The introduction to the rooms was great and we started in the Distillery. We loved the unique theme and managed to make our way through the puzzles at a good pace. We made a few silly errors which slowed us down but the room flowed really well and had a good variety of puzzles within it. The puzzles were clear, in keeping with the theme and well thought out. Heather was fantastic as our gamemaster and the owners were lovely and spent ages discussing all things escape with us.
ESCAPE TIME: 48.12
BEST BIT: The final puzzle was particularly good!
LEVEL: Any, but beginners may find it hard with only two people.
THEME: A serial killer with a penchant for dolls is on the loose. Can you avoid becoming his next victim?
ROOM: The feel of the room was very on theme and creepy and we immediately got on with trying to escape. The room was filled with a good selection of puzzles that we could work on separately or together. Some were more challenging and we had to work together to think through different approaches before solving the puzzle. There were some really clever, unique puzzles which we enjoyed. The room was pretty linear but we all had plenty to be getting on with and lots of searching to do. A great game and a great venue, definitely worth a visit. The host and clues were given really well and just when needed.
ESCAPE TIME: 38.51
BEST BIT: The more unique puzzles were really good ‘ooo, I like that’ moments.
LEVEL: Any, but as a first room you’d need a few people and to work together and discuss ideas.
THEME: In the middle of a zombie apocalypse you find yourself trapped in a bunker underground. Can you save yourselves…
ROOM: The start of the room was done really well and the clue system was given by communicating with the character who started us off and felt very much like a part of the game. There were a good variety of puzzles, some of which were linear, but some of which we couldn’t do until certain points in the game. It’s difficult sometimes to know when this might be and in games in general we’ve had to be careful to know when to keep trying and when to give up on a puzzle because we suspect something’s missing, only to find a crucial piece of said puzzle later on which means the puzzle makes so much more sense. We made the right choice in this game though and moved through the game at a good speed completing puzzles when we could – some of which were unique and great creations! This was a good room with some tricky sections that gave us a good challenge.
ESCAPE TIME: 40.48
BEST BIT: A few of the puzzles were very creative and real fun. There was also a very funny part, but this may have been the way our team handled it and may not cause the same fits of giggles it did in us!
LEVEL: Get a few rooms under your belt before completing this one, it needs a bit more thinking about things – intermediate/enthusiast.
THEME: You have been selected to take part in an experiment. Take the pill and see what happens…
ROOM: We particularly enjoyed the beginning of the room and quickly set about searching and solving puzzles to find the illusive antidote that we desperately needed! The room was quite linear and required us to collect a variety of information. We set off searching separately and quite often came together to solve various puzzles or review where we were up to. The puzzles were good and the room flowed well.
The host was brilliant, very good at hosting us generally but also when ‘in character’. He was a lovely guy who made out experience in all the rooms we played a good one.
ESCAPE TIME: 30.36 (which I think got us just on to the leaderboard!)
BEST BIT: The immersiveness of the very beginning of the game.
LEVEL: Any, but perfect for beginners.
THEME: It’s the tail end of the Prohibition era in Chicago and Al Capone has a stranglehold on all the Bootleg liquor in the city. As the newest members of Bugsy’s gang, Da’ Boss needs you to prove yourself and steal something right from under Scarface’s nose! Don’t let him down, or you’ll be sleeping with the fishes!
ROOM: The theming was excellent and all the decor was very in keeping with the era of the game. There were some great puzzles throughout the game and so much variety! There were a few longer puzzles that two of us could work on together whist the other member of our team kept hunting and completing other tasks. The room has a linear element but has so much to do within it that there is plenty to keep everyone busy. We really enjoyed moving quickly from one puzzle to another and didn’t feel frustrated at all, just kept working through the game at a good pace. A great room with plenty to keep us occupied.
ESCAPE TIME: 46.06
BEST BIT: The pace of the game and variety of puzzles, we didn’t get stuck or frustrated at all.
Level: Any, but a less experienced group would benefit from taking more people.
THEME: Enter the newly discovered private Halifax museum of Mr. P. Saul. Can you find the stolen key and escape before he returns?
ROOM: The theming was unique and felt very much like a modern museum. There were lots of interesting things to analyse, just like in an actual museum. Immediately we could see sign posts to clues but they have been done very cleverly so it’s not always as straight forward as you think, which we really liked. The puzzles were varied and had just the right amount of challenge. We could work separately on different things but combine our talents for some puzzles that required a bit more work. The hosts were fantastic and provided clues exactly when needed. There are some lovely little features of this room and quite a few ‘oh I like that’ moments where what seems like an obvious clue has very cleverly been tweaked so you have to think just that little bit more! We loved this room, it was a nice change from a lot of the common themes and had some great puzzles and nice touches within it.
ESCAPE TIME: 42.33
BEST BIT: The little treat(s) towards the end!
It’s amazing how life changes so quickly. Seven years ago two of us were struggling to adapt to life as new parents and over the last few years I think it’s fair to say all three of our team have experienced ups and downs in life. Two years ago none of us had ever done an escape room and had only just begun hearing about them. Now go back a year and we’d caught the bug and absolutely loved them. We had yet to experience @escapologic @EscapeQuestUK @StanleyHallFarm but had done @lucardoER and held them in high esteem. In fact, we were just beginning to see how good rooms can actually be, extending beyond the good rooms to the truly phenomenal.
Now to the present day, where after years of struggling to enjoy his job, Simon has left the career of teaching to open an escape room. It’s a great loss to the profession, which is already in a recruitment crisis (especially for maths), but for our family it’s a dream that’s been a long time coming, and would have happened sooner if he’d found something like escape rooms which he is truly passionate about. It’s taken longer than imagined but on Monday 28th May 2018 Simon opened the first franchise of @lucardoER in Rawtenstall (just north of Manchester) with his partner and friend Dave. To say he’s a changed man would be an understatement. It’s not easy to open your own rooms but when you are truly passionate about something every bump in the road is worth it.
This post is to clarify a few things about this blog moving forward as we wouldn’t want to be seen as biased towards any rooms or companies. We will no longer review @lucardoER as we are now linked to them. However, our current reviews of their games still stand and will remain on our site. Simon will still play as part of our team but won’t write any reviews as he is now an owner. I will write all future reviews with the aim of always being objective and fair (which has always been my aim and hopefully I’ve always managed to do). The thing that has amazed us most about the escape room industry is how friendly owners are and the support there is amongst the owners and enthusiasts out there. In all honesty, they aren’t in competition, the more people we can get to experience and love the escape room industry, the more business there is for everyone!
Finally, I just want to say thank you to the directors of @lucardoER for presenting Simon and Dave with the opportunity to become part of the team and the support they’ve provided to help them set up. We’re all so proud (wives, kids, parents, friends) of what Simon and Dave have achieved with the new venue and it’s a pleasure to see them come home having genuinely enjoyed their day at work. Who knows where the next two years will take us, but the future is most definitely bright!
ROOM: Your uncle developed state of the art nuclear technology but was imprisoned after one of the experimental reactors was activated and went into meltdown causing a catastrophic disaster. You believe he was framed and break into his abandoned power plant. If you can successfully activate the second identical reactor you can prove the original one was not faulty, prove that he was framed and prove his innocence!
THEME: The theming was out of this world. It was just what we’d imagine a nuclear reactor to look like and the immersion within this room was just phenomenal. We immediately got started on the puzzles and the gameplay was lovely, our favourite room at the Leicester venue. There are some unexpected twists to this room which we really enjoyed but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything! It’s pretty much linear although there was enough for each of us to be doing, no one was stood doing nothing at any point. The host was fantastic and I don’t think we needed many clues for this one. The puzzles made great use of the props and were challenging but doable – you had all the information you needed but really had to think about the puzzle while you solved it (my favourite type of puzzle!). You have to communicate and work well as a team in this room. Another great room by a fantastic company!
ESCAPE TIME: Yep – I didn’t write this one down either (I’ve learnt my lesson!). We were in the top 3 fastest times to escape and I’m pretty sure it was forty something minutes. We were told some leaderboards will be put up soon so look out for us on there!
BEST BIT: It’s difficult to choose but the unexpected twist was good and the way the props linked to the puzzles helped to keep the level of immersion high throughout the game.