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

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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

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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

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Contamination – Lucardo – Manchester

THIS ROOM IS CLOSING ON SEPTEMBER 17th TO MAKE WAY FOR A NEW ROOM. DO IT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

THEME: A vial of a deadly poison has gone missing. You must break into the lab and find it before it’s too late.

We had just completed The Dream and really wanted to do another room so stayed on to do Contamination. The hosts explained the scenario with enthusiasm and off we went! The puzzles in this room mainly linked to locks which we like, but the puzzles themselves were brilliant. Throughout the game there was something for us all to be working on. You did have to complete certain sets of puzzles in order to move on but we were all busy all of the time. The puzzles were challenging and we managed most of the game without many clues, which were delivered through the countdown screen when the host thought they were needed. We were so close to the end of the game and really struggled with the final puzzle, mainly because of the time pressure! The host gave us the perfect amount of clues and we managed to escape with seconds to spare. This was a great room with lots of puzzles that we’d never seen before. We really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to more Lucardo rooms!

ESCAPE TIME: 59.47

BEST BITS: The variety of puzzles and that we’d never seen anything like them before.

SUMMARY: This room is ideal for more experienced players and larger groups. A great room!

LEVEL: Advanced

WEBSITE: http://www.lucardo.com

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The Killers Code – Mission Exit – Dukinfield

THEME: A killer has you locked in their warehouse – you have 60 minutes to escape before he returns and you become the next victim…..

We were greeted by the owner Alex who was a superb host, it was the first time we have been to his rooms yet he treated us like an old friend. The pre-room explanation was great as he gave us the background information to the room.
This is a very large playing area built in a massive warehouse. There are lots of areas which need to be investigated by players. We played as a team of two and found the sheer size of the warehouse a little over whelming as there was so much to look at and play with. However we soldiered on looking in things, observing our surroundings and eventually using the clue system. The clue system is great, you can ask for help at any time using the killer call button – but be warned every clue costs you a minute of your escape time. The clock is continuous and the time is deducted immediately. The reason for the time penalty is to stop constant use of the button, the owner Alex built explained his reason for this, “It makes the help button mean more as people only come to it as a last resort, we have found that players try harder before asking for the help.”
At the start we were a little worried that within the first ten minutes we felt we had not made much progress but with a little more investigation we found our first lead and the game played out from there. We asked for help a couple of times as we struggled to cover all the room with the limited number of players. The clues were nice and cryptic but gave us enough to move forward without giving us direct instructions.
We would recommend this room to teams of 4+ as there is so much to look at and explore however as we proved it is possible to escape in just a pair.

ESCAPE TIME: 49:24

BEST BITS: Having to observe more closely all the areas and making decisions as to which items/puzzles were useful and those which were red herrings.

SUMMARY: This room is ideal for larger groups with a vast area to explore and discover.

LEVEL: Intermediate

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

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The Detective Office – Breakout – Manchester

THEME: You are being framed for the murder of a young detective. You are in his office. Can you find out who killed him, how and why?

After enjoying Virus the two of us came back with a friend to do this room. As soon as the time began we were off finding clues while our novice friend didn’t really know what she was looking for in the first 20 minutes of the game. Eventually she got in the right frame of mind and got stuck in (although removing the loose floor boards is not required as part of the game – oops!). This was an easier room than virus and we overthought some of the puzzles. There were a lot of locks, which we enjoy, and it was a relatively straight forward room. It was very linear and I would recommend it for a smaller team or beginners.

ESCAPE TIME: 44:15

BEST BIT: It comes together well. We got more engrossed as the game went on and the ending was quite fast paced which we enjoyed.

SUMMARY: A great room for players who like to search high and low for clues and puzzles.

LEVEL: Beginner

WEBSITE: http://www.breakoutmanchester.com

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The Dream – Lucardo – Manchester

THEME: (It’s quite difficult to describe and is done best by the staff when you arrive). You are in a dream and have to solve puzzles to escape.

We were ready to venture away from the Breakout rooms we had developed a liking for and came across Lucardo after searching online. As we had done over 10 rooms by now we decided to go for a middle difficulty room. We were massively impressed with Lucardo and The Dream. The foyer and all the rooms are really clean and professionally put together. We were greeted by friendly staff who introduced the room enthusiastically and were happy to chat with us about our love of escape rooms. There were a lot of locks in the room which we like as it gives you a sense of satisfaction every time you get one open. It wasn’t very linear to begin with and we could all get on with solving something and dip into one another’s puzzles. One thing we have learnt as a team is to discuss puzzles with each other, especially if it’s not immediately obvious what to do. A puzzle may be really difficult to one person but another person can often just ’see’ what needs to be done immediately (which is possibly why our team works so well!). Lucardo use a similar clue system to Breakout, a screen shows the countdown and clues are given when they think you need them. The clues are usually cryptic and point you in the right direction rather than just tell you what to do. The Dream ends with a particularly difficult puzzle that the staff were impressed with us completing relatively quickly. For this I’d say just think about it, take your time and try different things. A great room and we couldn’t wait to come back for more!

ESCAPE TIME: 46:23

BEST BIT: The variation in puzzles and more than one puzzle can be done at once (initially).

SUMMARY: A brilliant room with a great theme and puzzles throughout – well done Lucardo

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

WEBSITE: http://www.lucardo.com

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Blueprint – Code to Exit – Altrincham

THEME: You are in the 1950s and must find The Blueprint of a hydrogen bomb, fix the time machine and take it to the future.

We came across this room on Groupon and as one of the usual team was unable to come we did it with three other family members, only one of whom had done one room before. The room was quite small for 5 of us and it was surprising how many puzzles could fit into one room. The owners are from Hungary and have made all the rooms themselves, which is impressive given how clever some of the puzzles are. After being used to a lot of locks in rooms it was refreshing to experience something different. It wasn’t particularly linear so there was enough for all of us to be working on or looking at something as individuals or in pairs most of the time. We needed a few clues and whilst the system wasn’t as technically advanced as Breakout or Lucardo it worked in a similar way and was just as effective. We all enjoyed it so it’s suitable for more experienced players as well as beginners. The Groupon offer was also great as Escape Rooms are an expensive hobby! We would definitely recommend this company as a more unusual experience compared to some of the more corporate escape rooms out there.

ESCAPE TIME: 52:14

BEST BIT: We enjoy rooms with lots of locks but the more cleverly put together clues in this room were a welcomed change which we really enjoyed.

SUMMARY: The puzzles themselves were great but the theme wasn’t particularly strong. I don’t think this had that much impact on our enjoyment of the game though.

LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

WEBSITE: http://www.codetoexit.com

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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