Amazon Escape – Escape Quest (Macclesfield)

THEME: You get lost in the Amazon and need to find a map and way out before the local cannibals get their hands on you!

We were met by the owners Mike and Elaine and started our day with the Amazon room. We have been looking forward to these rooms as we’ve heard such good things about them. We had a lovely chat and a very engaging, charismatic briefing from Elaine. There was nothing irrelevant in the back story, she adapted it knowing we didn’t need any sort of briefing on locks etc which is the benefit of an owner/host/game creator giving a briefing rather than someone who is just being paid to do it. We loved the added element before the start and entered the room and enjoyed ourselves more in the first 5 minutes than in the whole of the previous day! We blitzed the first few puzzles and remembered what elements a good escape room needs. Walking in, looking around and instantly knowing what to pursue, what will probably be useful and being able to start something pretty quickly are key to a good game. We slowed up a bit as we went on and were given well timed clues (via a screen) but also left to think about puzzles and talk through possible solutions and try things out until we found what worked. We were able to complete puzzles alone and come together when we got stuck so were all busy throughout the game. We loved this room and escaped with big smiles on our faces looking forward even more to the day ahead.

ESCAPE TIME: 46.18

BEST BIT: Completing the first section of the room in record time and all three of us being kept busy and feeling success immediately as we stormed through the first few puzzles.

SUMMARY: A fantastic room, great theming, lots of well thought out puzzles all of which we thoroughly enjoyed!

LEVEL: Any

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

Escape quest

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Bomb – Exit The Room (Manchester)

THEME: A renegade agent has managed to get his hands on a nuclear weapon. Diffuse the bomb before it is too late!

This game starts in a really well themed room. We were led to the room by our lovely host and shown a video briefing and back story of the room. Being keen to get started with the game, we struggled to focus on the back story video and were scanning the room ready to begin. The game was mostly linear and individual puzzles were good, we missed some pretty obvious things and struggled to make connections between individual clues in the first section of the game. The second part of the game had some excellent props and puzzles which linked well to the theme. At Exit the Room you are given 5 clues and have to request these via walky talky. We used a few of these clues and the host was good at getting us back on track when we got stuck. The big error in the room was that a door we found opened straight away when it shouldn’t have. This led to us getting to the end then having to go back and complete an earlier puzzle that we should have done to release the door. When we discussed this with the host afterwards it was a known fault that needed fixing.

ESCAPE TIME: 53.36

BEST BIT: The props were linked really well to the theme and some of the individual puzzles were good.

SUMMARY: This room has great props and puzzles that really link to the theme. Puzzles are mostly well connected, particularly in the second part of the game.

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

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

Madness – Exit The Room (Manchester)

THEME: Prevent the mad professor from executing his psychiatric tests.

Exit the Room are an international escape room company who (as far we I know) have opened their first room in the UK in Manchester. The host was nice and chatty and welcomed us to the rooms. We entered the room, then listened to a safety briefing and a short back story which was played through a TV. We struggled to fully focus on either of these as we were busy looking around eager to get stuck in to the puzzles we could see! Once the video finished, the countdown started, and we busily searched the room. We got stuck into the puzzles and made good progress but on occasion got a bit stuck as we weren’t really sure what to do next. We asked for a couple of hints (hints have to be requested via walky talky with a maximum of 5 per game) that pointed us in the right direction. One of the puzzles requires the use of a personal item, which is quite unusual as all other rooms we’ve done ask you not to do this. There were some red herrings (which luckily we didn’t spend much time on) and a couple of puzzles that could be more interesting if thought about carefully. We started the final puzzle, which we have seen once before. This is arguably a good but complex and frustrating puzzle. We got stuck at one point and in the end we had to skip a step in the puzzle. We escaped quite quickly after this feeling annoyed about the unnecessarily over complex final puzzle. When we talked to the host it turned out that there was a small error in the final puzzle, which is why we couldn’t complete it.  We have since found out that the error in the final puzzle has now been corrected.

ESCAPE TIME: 49.06

BEST BIT: The eye bending puzzle was good.

SUMMARY: The room was very linear and had some good puzzles in it. The props were well themed but we would’ve felt more immersed if the host had delivered the back story, rather than a TV screen in the room, as we struggled to engage with the story due to wanting to play the game. There were some leaps in logic required but the host helped us to do this.

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

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

The Poltergeist – Emergency Exit (Ashton)

THEME: You have 60 minutes to escape the spooky haunted Manor House…

We were met by Liam and Josh who were fantastic hosts.  They were happy to talk to us about all things escape and were some of the best hosts we’ve come across. The owner has done well to employ people with enthusiasm and passion for their rooms as this always enhances our experience as players. The room is a scary game which we haven’t really enjoyed in the past, for reasons such as the darkness is there simply to make it more challenging, but this wasn’t the case in this room. It was really well themed with some well-chosen props and no red herrings. The game was linear and involved locks with a few unique features in puzzles which was nice to see. The darkness and scary elements were timed perfectly by Josh so that darkness never hindered us whilst solving a puzzle, it was only used to add to the scary atmosphere of the room. We really enjoyed this room and will definitely be going back to play Exorcist.

ESCAPE TIME: 59.12

BEST BIT: One of our team members accidentally being scared by an unexpected feature of the room (possibly the worst bit for her though!).

SUMMARY: A challenging room with great theming and darkness used really effectively.

LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.e-exit.co.uk

emergency exit

 

University Of Magic – Lucardo – Manchester

THEME: You have been invited to attend the University of Magic, where you are required to graduate to become young witches and wizards before you run out of time…

Finally the wait was over it was time to take on Lucardo’s new room. We had assembled a super team of the owners of Lockdown Oldham, the owner of Mission Exit and our usual team as we knew the room would be a challenge.  Professor Jack was our host who greeted us with a smile and welcomed us as old friends.  Prof Jack then led us to the room and gave us the back story making sure we were all suitably dressed to enter the University of Magic.  On entering the room it became clear that Lucardo have worked extremely hard on the theme of the room – it was fantastic.  The room immediately immersed us in to the world of witch craft and wizardry. The theme of the room was unbelievable. It is the only magic themed room we have seen, the props were wonderful and well positioned for all to see and use.  In the room there are a great array of puzzles and a number of different types of locks which require thought, team work and visual inspection. It was relatively linear but even with six of us we were never short of something to think about or do.  It was clear that Prof Jack was watching our every move as he gave clues when required to move our game on at a steady pace.  We worked hard as a team in order to escape using all our experience of past rooms.  Lucardo has raised the bar yet again – well done guys!

ESCAPE TIME: 46:50

BEST BIT: The theming of the room totally immersed us in the game play and made it a really enjoyable escape. Some clever and different puzzles made it really enjoyable.

SUMMARY: The University of Magic is a wonderful room with lots for all players to do throughout the game with a great variety of puzzles and props which help set the scene.

LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.lucardo.com

lucardo

 

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