Air Traffic Control – Trapped In – Bury

THEME: Terrorists have kidnapped airport traffic control staff and you have been sent in to help guide four planes in that only have 60 minutes worth of fuel left.

We played Air traffic Control after we’d played about 6 games but there were only two of us on this occasion. We were met by friendly staff who were happy to talk to us about the company and delivered the explanation of the room. It was a pretty straight forward room and we had seen most of the puzzles before, despite this, some of them were still challenging and it allowed us to keep a quick pace throughout the room and try to escape without asking for any clues. Clues were delivered via a screen on request or when they thought you needed it and we only got one when we hadn’t looked carefully enough at a particular hiding place. It was a good room and particularly suitable for beginners. There was enough for two of us to explore and do but it was quite linear and there was only one puzzle we had to work together on. The room, props and puzzles were all very relevant to the theme and it was a well put together room with some good puzzles.

ESCAPE TIME: 34.07

BEST BITS: Using a variety of information from various sources to work something out in the first section (I don’t want to say any more as it’d give it away!). That particular puzzle was really good and came together well. I haven’t seen anything quite like it since.

SUMMARY: A good room perfect for beginners as it has a range of relatively straight forward puzzles with some team work involved.

LEVEL: Beginner

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

Trapped in

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Vacancy – Breakout – Manchester

THEME: You stop for the night at a hotel after a long journey. Then you find out the hotel was the scene of some recent murders. Your room is locked and you have 60 minutes to escape…

We had just introduced the third member of our now established team to the room ‘The Detective Office’ at Breakout Brazennose St. After the buzz and success of that room we wanted to do more! Vacancy was the only room that was still available so we made the short walk across the city centre to complete it. We were once again greeted by a friendly host who introduced the game and set us off. This is the first time we’d been in any sort of scary game and we loved it! The four stars Breakout give it are justified as some of the puzzles are tricky and being new to escape rooms we definitely needed the clues we got, which were delivered via the countdown screen. They were cryptic clues though which we definitely prefer as they just direct your thinking along the right lines, rather than spelling it out for you. This was our favourite room for a long time and is still up there at the top of our list. It combines different types of clues, observational, more complex problems and little tricks in the props in the room and we really enjoyed the variety. The puzzles were all relevant to the theme and slightly linear, but there was plenty for us all to do or search. When there was only one puzzle to be working on it was either completed quickly or needed all three of us to try it in a different way before we managed to solve it. Vacancy is a great game which was scary without being too scary and in our opinion scarier (and better) than Captured.

ESCAPE TIME: 48.37

BEST BITS: The scary element as it was enough to put on the pressure, but not scare us so much that we couldn’t concentrate. The hiding places were really good and the puzzles were in keeping with the theme and more challenging, which was a step we were ready for.

SUMMARY: A great room which is slightly scary and has some more challenging puzzles in it. It contained a good range of puzzles and hiding places. Well done Breakout (yet again!).

LEVEL: Intermediate

WEBSITE: http://www.breakoutmanchester.com

breakoutmanchester

Sawtopsy – Moviescape – Stockport

THEME: (The movie Saw). You find yourself locked in a bathroom. You have an hour to solve the puzzles to find out who the killer is.

This room was recommended by a friend and so we felt challenged to beat their time. On arrival the person who greeted us was friendly but must have been busy as there was no real conversation about how many rooms we’d done, we were just escorted to the waiting area. Normally on arrival we have a good conversation with hosts as we love to find out which rooms they’ve done and whether they recommend any, however this young man wasn’t particularly chatty. He came and got us, explained the theme and we entered the room and started working our way through puzzle. The puzzles are very linear and were mostly things we’d seen before but were quite challenging.

Unfortunately we just didn’t gel with this room. Due to the linear nature we often felt frustrated as there was nothing to do, or we got stuck and didn’t know what to do. We didn’t really have any clues (there was no clue system as such) and did eventually work things out. One thing we are beginning to dislike is videos of people using distorted voices as they are just so hard to understand! We just about understood this one but it added to our already increasing frustrations. We eventually managed to find the UV light and looking back, we knew exactly what to do with it and had pretty much nailed the clue we needed to use it for but we just couldn’t find the writing on the wall that we needed, as I searched the light in the torch got dimmer and dimmer and searching a wall with such a dim light was really annoying. They gave me a new torch but the same thing happened and none of us could find the key thing to solve the puzzle we had 90% done. To be honest, by this point we were really frustrated and fed up. Two clues had been posted under the door but we still couldn’t find it so they posted the code to us (which felt like a real admittance of defeat). We then carried on and got to the end of the game but just had no idea how to do the last puzzle. When it was explained to us we should’ve absolutely got it but I think we had just lost all motivation by that point. If we had gone through the room at our normal pace without the frustrations we would have escaped but unfortunately it was not our day! I don’t think there is anything wrong with this room, I just think it didn’t suit us and we had a bad game, and possibly a distracted host. When he came in at the end and checked the UV torches they worked fine (typically!) so maybe the battery was just low and having them on for a longer period of time made them go dimmer…who knows. He could tell we were frustrated and there was little conversation as we left (perhaps because we felt he wasn’t open to any on arrival).

Before you decide to do this game please read others reviews. I have a friend who has done it and enjoyed it and I think it just didn’t suit us. Other reviews I have read have been more positive so I think it was just one of those things. We won’t do more games here as a team but I personally will do some with a different group of people so I can see how they approach some of the things we have more trouble with (darkness, distorted voices etc!).

ESCAPE TIME: Sadly, we didn’t escape but our friend holds one of the best escape times with around 45 minutes.

BEST BITS: A big range of puzzles and as maths teachers we liked that some of them were mathematical.

SUMMARY: A frustrating room in our opinion and very linear, although other reviewers say they enjoyed it and other people we know say the hosts are usually great there.

LEVEL: Intermediate

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

moviescape

The Lost Tomb (90 mins)- Extreme Escape – Disley

THEME: You are in an abandoned gold mine in the heart of the Mexican mountains. Legend has it if you can find the hidden gold you can gain access to The Lost Tomb…

At this point we had done over 20 rooms and whenever we plan one in we always end up wanting to do another! We had just been to a room that left us feeling frustrated and disappointed and after an online search we eventually found some availability at Extreme Escape…and wow, what a find it was! This escape room is in a rural location but the postcode got us to the venue without any problems. We arrived and were greeted by Graham and Jess who were really friendly and happy to chat about some of the escape rooms we’ve done. They explained the room to us and off we went. The room is so well put together and you are immersed into the theme from the beginning. We were laughing, screaming and enjoying it all the way though. The puzzles and riddles were cleverly done and all of them were challenging but doable. We worked really well as a team throughout the room with the odd hint (and funny comment) from Graham. The room has a mixture of finding things and completing puzzles, some of which can be done independently, some of which are easier if you work as a team. It does have a linear element but not entirely and none of us were ever left with nothing to do. We completed this room as a three and it holds up to 8 and I can see how it would suit a larger group if they were mostly beginners.

ESCAPE TIME: 1 hour 8 minutes

BEST BITS: The jumpy element was timed perfectly, it really added to the room and after making us scream, really made us laugh! The puzzles were also fantastic, different to others we’d seen, challenging, but not frustrating at all.

SUMMARY: This room was amazing and our favourite ever room (along with Curio at Escapologic). Jess and Graham have perfected so much in the room, the props, the theme, the range of puzzles, the mechanical workings or the room. This room is just amazing and everyone I know who’s done it says the same. The room is suitable for any level of player as Jess and Graham are very skilled at the hints they give and adapt them depending on the ability of the players in the room.

LEVEL: Any

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

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Curio – Escapologic – Nottingham

THEME: You are in the home of an eccentric explorer, need to investigate the things he’s found and recover his most recent and elusive trinket.

We did four rooms in a day at Escapologic as it had been recommended to us by people at Lucardo and Extreme Escape. This was our third room and it was a truly amazing room. I don’t want to say too much except the puzzles are very clever and really suited us. It has a special element to the room that we have never seen before and was incredible. The theming and props were fantastic. We only needed a couple of clues and they were well timed. The problems were linear but this is very suitable for the room and none of us were stood still doing nothing at any point.

ESCAPE TIME: 50.23

BEST BITS: We can’t say as it would ruin it but it is one of our favourite things in an escape room ever!

SUMMARY: Escapologic say this is their hardest room. It wasn’t the one we found hardest as the puzzles suited us but we can see why others would find it tricky. For this reason I wouldn’t advise it for beginners. For more experienced players you HAVE to play this room and you are in for a treat! We really can’t wait for Simon at Escapologic to open his new venue in Leicester.

LEVEL: Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.escapologic.com

escapologic

Not Guilty – Mission Exit – Dukinfield

THEME: You have been framed for a murder. You must find a variety of evidence and escape!

The owner, Alex, has been one of the friendliest hosts we’ve come across and will talk with us for ages about rooms and things he’s learnt whilst being in the business. Our six year old son recently asked if he can come to an escape room with us and we thought Alex’s rooms would be perfect for his first trip, as although the two rooms are different, there’s a lot of things to find, which we thought would be more suitable for a younger player. Alex hosts birthday parties for young players so is used to having children in the rooms and adapting clues to suit them.
The game itself was very fast paced to start, we were all busy finding things and opening them. We came together a few times to focus on what we needed to find or do next and had to work together as a team to keep the game going. Then we got stuck, really stuck! The clue system is different in this game, you have to find a button and press it to get a clue which is delivered through the door (don’t remove the hand that feeds you!). We knew what we needed to find, but even after two clues, just couldn’t find it! We kept going though and found what we needed (which was VERY cleverly hidden). The game carried on and we escaped soon after, particularly enjoying the final twist.

ESCAPE TIME: 48:05

BEST BITS: His use of props in the room and a hiding place which we have never seen before so was a good change.
SUMMARY: This room is ideal for beginners and younger players but we enjoyed it as experienced players too. If we hadn’t got stuck we would’ve made it out much quicker. Usually when we get stuck we get very frustrated although that didn’t happen this time, perhaps because we knew what we had to find so kept on searching. Well written clues helped us at the right time without telling us any answers.

LEVEL: Beginner

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

mission exit

Virus – Breakout – Manchester

THEME: Find the cure to a deadly virus and save mankind!

This was the first room two of us did together with the help of two family members. The host was really friendly and explained the scenario clearly before we began. There were enough problems and things to search to keep us all busy in most parts of the game. It requires certain puzzles to be completed before you move on but I wouldn’t describe it as linear. The clues are displayed on the countdown screen accompanied by a loud noise, which is in keeping with the theme, to make you aware a clue has been given. There were some tricky puzzles to solve, one observational problem really stumped us, even after a clue. Other than this problem, we completed most of the challenges without help even though some of them took us a while and required a lot of team work. It’s a tough game for beginners and we completely missed something near the end so didn’t escape- we had the final code in front of us, just didn’t realise it was there and have time to input it!

ESCAPE TIME: We didn’t!

BEST BITS: The use of props in the problems you had to solve.

SUMMARY: This room is ideal for slightly more experienced players and larger groups. There were some good puzzles but we found some quite difficult. We couldn’t wait to do more breakout rooms but stepped down a difficulty level for our next room!

LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.breakoutmanchester.com

breakoutmanchester