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Welcome to Escape Reviewers – Fanatics about all things escape room!

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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A.W.O.L – Lockdown Oldham

THEME: You are part of an elite group of army personal who have been sent on a mission to Africa, however you soon learn that the government want to close down your operation………

Lockdown Oldham is a very new company which we have visited before; we were met by the owner Adam who was delightful as ever.  He welcomed us back like old friends and took us to their new room A.W.O.L.  He gave us the background story to the room and the mission we were about to undertake.  The description was detailed and immersive – we felt like we were about to enter a bunker/barrack in Africa.  The theme of the room was great, there were lots of props which you would associate with being an army person.  The room had a good variety of locks, 3-digit, 4-digit, colour, directional and word locks.  There was plenty in the room for all players to be busy all of the time.  The story developed as the time passed by.  There is a monitor in the room which is used primarily as a clue system, which also doubles up as a story teller to help the players understand more about the squadron and its members.  There were some good little puzzles in the room using a good selection of our team’s expertise from search and find, to much needed thought provoking ones.   The game play is largely linear but at times players can break away and do puzzles on their own.

ESCAPE TIME: 58:56

BEST BIT: A fantastically themed room which helps to make players actually feel like they are in Africa.

SUMMARY:  This is a challenging room with lots to do for all players.  If you are looking for an army themed room then this is a must.

LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.lockdownescape.co.uk

lockdown oldham

CSI – Trapped In – Bury

THEME: You are investigators who have been given the task to track down and bring to justice the culprit of the crime.

This was our second game of the day at Trapped In. This is a well-dressed room with lots of detail giving you the real feeling that you are under pressure to find the criminal. There are a wide variety of locks (and lots of them) from 3 digits, 4 digits, 5 digits, directional and word locks. In the beginning the amount of locks may seem a little overwhelming however after around 15 minutes there were over half of them unlocked. The game play is linear as once you find something that leads you to another code/lock which then carries the story forward. There were some great puzzles which suited the variety of our team playing to each other’s strengths. As the game plays out it soon becomes clear how you will eventually find out who has committed the crime. There were good uses of props which led to codes and unlocking boxes. Observation is key as it is necessary to read all information to help you move forward in the game. Clues were well timed via a screen in the room – you can also request clues if you feel that you have become stuck.

ESCAPE TIME: 55.55

BEST BIT: The number and variety of locks, we feel this suits our group better as we like to all be busy, find codes, use them and move on.

SUMMARY: The room has a fantastic theme throughout and the story expands as the game plays out. There is a real sense of CSI and you feel like you really are an investigator.

LEVEL: Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.trappedin.co.uk

Trapped in

Intersellar – Trapped In – Bury

THEME: You have been taken to the future and are in space heading towards black hole in the space shuttle – your mission take control of the shuttle to avoid a disaster.

We returned to Trapped In to try their new rooms and were met by a nice young man (didn’t catch his name) who gave us a warm welcome. We entered the room, which has only been open a few weeks, and were given the back story (as this is a new room the host was reading off a pre written script). This did not take away from the story – and in time will be addressed. On entering the room it became very clear that this is a different type of escape room – THERE WERE ZERO LOCKS! The room was very well decorated and detailed. The idea is to solve puzzles by doing things to make things switch on/work. To start we seemed to be a little lost as there didn’t seem to be any direction however after a good look around it started to unfold. The game play wasn’t linear as such as we felt we can do the puzzles in any order (as and when we found them). There are a great variety of puzzles which use technology we’ve never before seen in an escape room.

ESCAPE TIME: 58.07

BEST BIT: The end section when we were running around doing lots of things to start the shuttle.

SUMMARY: The room was well put together with some great theming, the game play will suit some groups but not others – definitely a room which a more experienced players need to try.

LEVEL: Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.trappedin.co.uk

Trapped in

The Killers Code – Halloween Special – Mission Exit – Dukinfield

THEME: You are out celebrating Halloween with your friends, you come across warehouse 13. All isn’t as it seems as you enter – TRICK or TREAT?
On arrival we were greeted by Alex (owner) the game host. He welcomed us to mission exit and briefed us with the background to our Halloween night trick or treat night. We have played Killers Code before and were excited to see what Alex had changed for the Halloween special. On entering it was clear that the game had been transposed from the original it had a totally different layout, new additions and new puzzles. The game play is linear in essence; there are lots of areas for players to explore individually and also times the group needs to come back together. The theme of the room was great, there was music playing throughout the game until…………………footsteps were heard – on hearing these it was time to hide. The killer is portrayed fantastically; the suspense builds and builds, our heartbeats increased, until it is time to come out from hiding. The clue system works really well as the killer leaves them behind as required. There are a variety of different puzzles to solve, locks to unlock and areas to explore but there are not a lot of puzzles – however the theme of the room takes centre stage as you become immersed in trying to escape the killer. The final puzzle is very imaginative and not like one we have seen before. In the back of your mind you will be thinking “I must get out!”
Alex explained that the game can be done both in the daylight (for players like us) or at night if you prefer to play in less light – which will increase the intensity of the theme.

ESCAPE TIME: 53.53

BEST BIT: Listening out for the footsteps and taking cover when the killer was on his way.

SUMMARY: A fantastically themed room which will have your heart racing both up and down throughout the game play. Make sure you get out……

LEVEL: Intermediate

WEBSITE: http://www.missionexit.co.uk

mission exit

Contagion – Lockdown Escape Room – Oldham

THEME: You are young journalists who have been tipped off about strange activities in apartment 4A. You enter to investigate….

On entering the room it becomes clear that apartment 4A is hiding something which needs to be discovered. The room has a brilliant theme throughout which helps you to become immersed in the story. As the game plays out the story starts to unfold and you soon start to understand what has been happening in 4A. The room is well structured with lots to do for all players – we were all busy all of the time searching and solving puzzles. There is a wide range of puzzles which lead to opening padlocks, draws and cabinets. The puzzles were well made and took some thinking about. Overall the game play was linear but everyone had plenty to do. There a variety of combination, word and directional locks which link to the puzzles perfectly. The clue system is via a screen in the room. The host Darren was very good at monitoring our progress and gave us cryptic clues as required to enable the game to flow.

ESCAPE TIME: 56:50

BEST BIT: The use of the “natural” feature within the warehouse itself. (Not saying anymore or it will give the game away).

SUMMARY: A fantastic room with a brilliant story and theme to match. Make sure you use your eyes throughout.

LEVEL: Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.lockdownescape.co.uk

lockdown oldham

Condemned – Lockdown Escape Rooms – Oldham

THEME: You have been put on death row for crimes you didn’t commit – you need to escape and collect evidence to prove your innocence.

When we arrived at the venue we were met by Darren, the owner, who was very friendly and chatty about escape rooms. It is a family run business as we also met Adam (the son) who was to be our host. Adam was an excellent host. He told us the back story of the room which had us gripped with anticipation – then he locked us in jail.

The room was well decorated and themed very well, at times we forgot we were in an escape room and felt that we were in the sheriff’s office. There are a variety of different types of puzzles and locks; there were combination locks, word locks and directional locks. The puzzles were well made with some being more difficult than others. The game play was linear in structure with lots of things to do and explore. The clue system was a screen which displayed hints and clues as required. The clues themselves were great as they didn’t inform you exactly what to do but gave enough information so we could progress. Adam made sure that we could always move forward in the game at the right pace for our group, it was obvious he was watching us all the time, always on hand to help if necessary.

ESCAPE TIME: 35.55 (current record to date)

BEST BIT: Very clever final puzzle – well thought out and a brilliant use of props.

SUMMARY: A great room with a good selection of puzzles. Make sure you understand exactly what you require to be cleared of all your alleged crimes.

LEVEL: Beginner/intermediate

WEBSITE: http://www.lockdownescape.co.uk

lockdown oldham.JPG

Forsaken – Breakout – Manchester

THEME: You are staying at a remote lodge with distant relatives but things aren’t exactly as they seem…

We were met by a friendly host who explained the room to us and led us to our starting point (we’ll come back to this explanation later). Immediately we got started on puzzles and it was good to see slightly less padlocks and more use of different types of physical puzzles in the room. The puzzles were all good and matched to the theme well, some particularly so. It was mostly linear but enough for all of us to be working on or thinking about something most of the time…until we got stuck. The host was very good at offering hints at these times though and the only thing that slowed us down was a time delay on one of the locks because we put the wrong code in three times. We really enjoyed this room and the number of good puzzles we had to solve. We can see why it is one of their harder rooms, it was more challenging and we think this was one of the reasons we really enjoyed it. Whilst the theming was good, the only thing lacking was an understanding of why we were trying to escape. The introduction to the room that we received was that we had arrived at a relatives lodge but they’d just gone out for supplies and would be back in an hour (which begs the question why did we arrive blindfolded?). There was an envelope in the room addressed to us and when I opened the envelope I expected it to invite us to a ceremony (as the explanation of the room on the website states) but it just reiterated the story the host had just told us about them being out. When we thought about it afterwards we could see perhaps at which point we were supposed to realise why we were trying to escape, but we didn’t until we had left and discussed it. The envelope was a nice touch, perhaps is there is a better way it could be used.

ESCAPE TIME: 54.07

BEST BIT: That there were less padlocks than in typical breakout rooms and more puzzles that use things like magnets to release things.

SUMMARY: A challenging room with lots of puzzles to complete that aren’t all code based. A good theme throughout the room (just more clarity needed on why we’re trying to escape).

LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.breakoutmanchester.com

breakoutmanchester