The Curse of The Golden Lion – Wirral Escape rooms.

THEME: A valuable secret is hidden deep in the jungle, can you find it before the boat leaves…

Amy and Ian invited us to a preview of their room the day before it officially opened. They are some of the most enthusiastic owners we know and their love of escape rooms clearly comes through in their room. It is obvious that they have thought about the room in a lot of depth so that it can stand amongst some of the best rooms out there, which it really does. Amy gave us a room briefing and back story and the timer started as soon as we entered the room. We got stuck in straight away and made progress, even our 6 year old team member was able to get involved. There are two elements to this game. One is that you can follow the story and work through a logical, linear route to escape the room. The other is that you can choose to solve some stand alone puzzles to find some extra items. These two things can be done simultaneously (ideal for larger groups), or once you have found a way to escape, you can choose to stay to retrieve some of the extra items (perfect for enthusiasts). The puzzles themselves are fantastic. They are varied, logical, challenging but doable. We got stuck on a couple and were given nudges at just the right time to help us complete them. Our youngest member was able to get involved in many of them so newbies would be fine in this room too. There are no logic leaps, everything flows well and is connected. We particularly enjoyed the unique ending!

ESCAPE TIME: 52.20 with all four extra items.

BEST BIT: The fact that everyone could be busy due to the two elements of the game. As enthusiasts we could let two people get on with the linear element of the game whilst the other two pursued the extra items. There was never a time when any of us were not busy doing anything. We enjoyed every single puzzle!

SUMMARY: There is a lot to do in this room but it would be suitable for any level due to the two elements. The room is a must for enthusiasts but would also be a great introduction to rooms for newbies, as all the puzzles and the links are all so logical.

LEVEL: Any

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

wirral escape rooms

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2017 – round up

As we escape 2017 we thought it would be good to summarise our first year of playing escape rooms. We first escaped as a trio a year ago and have loved becoming part of the escape room community since then. It is such a friendly community and we just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome. We wanted to take a moment to mention some of the most impressive games we’ve played. As we’ve played sixty games we decided to do a top six, but then argued over the order of these six! As a result we will list the top 6 alphabetically, rather than in rank order as they are all must play games (in our humble opinion).

Contagion – Lockdown (Oldham). We enjoyed this challenging game, in particular the special feature at the end. It’s such a great feeling to have a good quality company so close to home. Well done guys, we know the last three months have been a whirlwind but you’re a great addition to the escape room industry.

Curio – Escapologic (Nottingham). A fantastic game with a very special feature. We can’t wait for this company to expand in 2018. A special thanks to Simon Stokes for encouraging us to become bloggers and welcoming us into the escape room community.

The Lost Tomb – Extreme Escape (Stanley Hall Farm, Disley). A lovely family run company with a genuine passion for escape rooms. This is a quality room and we can’t wait to play Vikings in 2018.

Curious Encounters AND The 13th Element – Escape Quest (Macclesfield). What can you say about Mike and Elaine…such a genuinely nice couple with a flair for room design. All their rooms are amazing and worth playing, these two were just our favourite. It was an absolute pleasure to visit their beautiful rooms last week. What a great way to finish our first year of escaping!

University of Magic – Lucardo (Manchester). What an amazingly unique room. You nailed it with this room, it was a pleasure to experience and we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for this company.

That’s it for 2017. I think 2018 will be an even better experience for us as escape enthusiasts, as so many good quality rooms have been recommended to us that we can’t wait to try. Escapologic Leicester is first on the list and a few more are planned in. Life has become much more exciting since escaping has become part of it, and this is only going to grow in 2018. #changeiscoming

The Neglected – Lockdown (Oldham)

THEME: Your friends dare you to enter an abandoned orphanage. Once you enter, the door shuts behind you and you have 60 minutes to escape before the spirits take out their rage on you.

Lockdown Oldham is a great company so we were really looking forward to playing their new game. The room is pretty dark but you are given a head torch each. We normally don’t like games in the dark due to the difficulty increasing due to the darkness rather than the game. The head torches minimised this as you each have one and both hands are free to do things rather than always holding a torch or lamp. Some head torches are brighter than others meaning you still have to work as a team when you need more light to examine things.  We got through the first section of the game pretty quickly and were quite lucky that between us one person got each clue/puzzle almost straight away. We found the middle section of the game much slower and got a bit frustrated here, this is the section that took us the most time and we definitely needed a few hints to get us through this part. The room is pretty much linear and the clues are given via a screen. Once we overcame a big hurdle (of our own making) we got back on track and worked our way through what we think is the section of the game with the best puzzles to escape. Unfortunately our escape was just over the 60 minutes but we really appreciate being able to complete the game rather than it stopping seconds before completing the final puzzle.  If we hadn’t got stuck on that pesky observational puzzle in the middle we would have escaped with loads of time to spare!

ESCAPE TIME: We missed it by just over 1 minute.

BEST BIT: There were some fantastic puzzles in this game that we hadn’t seen before, a couple at the beginning and more towards the end.

SUMMARY: A good room with a scary/creepy feel. We did it with a 12 and 14 year old and they did a bit of shrieking but were generally ok. This is a tough room. It contains some excellent puzzles but lots of places where even experienced groups could get stuck if they miss something. Its difficulty rating is justified and it provides a great challenge for experienced players looking for a more challenging game. Another great game from Lockdown Oldham.

LEVEL: Advanced

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

lockdown oldham

ROOM: The 13th Element – Escape Quest (Macclesfield)

THEME: Scientists are mysteriously going missing at Dr Argons Labs whilst he tries to activate the 13th element. Your job is to harness the power of the 12 elements, activate the 13th element and destroy it to prevent Dr Argon from using it for evil.

We had to bring re-enforcements for this game as it requires a minimum of 4 players (which it definitely does, there’s too much for 2 or 3 people), luckily we had some family members who were happy to step in. We entered the lab corridor and after a slow start managed to get into the main lab which is where the game really gets going. We loved that we could separate to do different puzzles and come back together when we got stuck or when one puzzle unlocked a hint for another. Some puzzles could be done without any hints and these then gave you access to vital information for others. We worked our way through these puzzles which enabled us to harness the energy of the 12 elements. They were all very good puzzles. None were overly complicated or arduous, just well thought out, made you think a bit and we completed most without any additional clues (given via a screen). We then continued the game and the final few puzzles before making a vital decision (which we loved deliberating about) which luckily allowed us to escape just in time!

ESCAPE TIME: 52.46

BEST BIT: The actual lab was fantastic. It was lovely to have a big array of puzzles that we could split up and work our way through. Every single one was a great puzzle, there wasn’t a single flaw in any of them.

SUMMARY: Another fantastic room. Mike and Elaine are gifted at developing games. This was amazing and we’ve never before experienced having to complete a range of puzzles like we did in the lab – we loved it!

LEVEL: Any

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

 

Escape quest

Mr Chuckles Funhouse – Escape Quest (Macclesfield)

THEME: Mr Funhouse likes to play games. He has some puzzles for you – can you complete them and find the golden tickets (or ticket) before an acid shower rains down?!

This was the third game we played at Escape Quest after we stopped for lunch (the pub down the road is lovely). We think the food hindered our quick thinking as we felt much slower on this one and didn’t perform to the same standard as the other two rooms we’d just done. The game is great with lots of well-designed puzzles that flow well. We did need a few hints to point us in the right direction as we weren’t quite as observant as we should’ve been. There were some jumpy moments which were scarier for some than others! The room is linear and Elaine and Mike have made good use of props within lots of the puzzles. We chose to complete the room as a team and enjoyed the slightly scary element to the game (well…most of us did).

ESCAPE TIME: 51.33

BEST BIT: The final puzzle was the highlight for us, we really enjoyed working together to complete this, especially the person who ended up in the ball pool!

SUMMARY: A great and slightly scary room with well flowing puzzles.

LEVEL: Any

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

 

Escape quest

Curious Encounters – Escape Quest (Macclesfield)

THEME: Mr Copplestone’s time machine has broken. You must fix it and save him, and yourselves, from being lost in time forever!

Elaine briefed us fully the back story to Curious Encounters and we then entered Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe. Wow! The shop and theme are phenomenal. The attention to detail and props in this room are fantastic. We got some puzzles done straight away and had to think about others. The puzzles were cleverly done and were mostly linear. All of us got involved and most puzzles were done in a group of two or three. There was always something for us all to be working on or searching for. I don’t want to say too much about this room except that anyone who enjoys escape rooms should make an effort to do this one, it is amazing! We loved this room, and it was my personal favourite of the four we did at Escape Quest.

ESCAPE TIME: 45.58 (a new record!)

BEST BIT: All of it…the entire room…it was fantastic!

SUMMARY: This is a fabulous room and has been developed with a lot of care and attention to the detail in the props and the puzzles. The story is good, the game play is clear and it is an all round superb room.

LEVEL: Any

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

Escape quest

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