Escape Reality – Machina

Game date: 03/06/2017

Where: Leeds


“A team of high‐tech scientists and programmers have assembled to perform ground breaking experiments in developing the first instance of true artificial intelligence known to man.You have just been accepted into the team of scientists and have arrived at their headquarters. After a few days you realise that scientists are suddenly leaving and that these robots are showing frightening human‐like emotions. You decide that you need to leave as quickly as possible as something peculiar is happening, but all of the doors have been locked, trapping you and the rest of the team inside. Can you escape before you reluctantly become a part of the experiment?”

We had high expectations for the theme of the room, the website claims Escape Reality to be the world’s number one escape room game! We weren’t disappointed, the room was amazing, it was one of those rooms that I wish I could go back and play again. It was very immersive, the music and lighting were spot on, the floor was covered with metal tread plate, and there was a huge structure in the middle of the room that looked like something out of a video game. It felt a little bit like we were in the future, there was so much tech in the room, half of which i had never seen before. Even the key pads they used were like something out of a sci-fi film. Another aspect that made it all the more immersive, was the lack of laminated paper clues, everything was printed on some kind of ceramic or tile, and it just felt so much more real than the usual printed paper.

The game:

The game was for 2-6 players, and we played with 2. It was a little tricky with 2, but not too difficult, and it is mainly down to our poor maths skills that we struggled. Playing as just a couple really shows you your strengths and weaknesses, and unfortunately for us, our seem to be quite similar. Despite this, I’m glad we didn’t play the room with more than this, as I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on doing some of the puzzles, even if a few extra brains would have helped – there are a few puzzles I can pick out that some of the others we have played with would have got really well.

I really liked this game, and part of me wishes that I hadn’t chosen this as our first game, we weren’t sure what to expect from Escape Reality, and think we would have done a lot better if we had played a different room before this one. The room was unlike anything we had played before, and it took us most of the game to get used to it. That being said we had to start somewhere, and this would have been the case no matter which game we played first.

Annoyingly, we really messed up at the start of this game, we found the first puzzle pretty quickly, and it was so easy that im still angry at myself for messing it up! Basically we had to take away a number from a large (ish) number, and we spent 20 minutes trying to put the code we had into a keypad, we ended up asking for a clue, as we were sure we were doing the right thing and couldn’t figure out why it wasnt working. Our host just told us to check our maths, and we quickly realised we had just added up wrong! This was really frustrating for me, as I should have known better to check our maths to avoid making such a simple and stupid mistake, and we could have been halfway through the game by this point.

With that aside, we flew through the rest of the game, which flowed beautifully, and we had a lot of fun solving the puzzles, most of them were really original and had a lot of variety, a mixture of math, logic, observation, word, code-breaking and practical, often with a single puzzle incorporating a mixture of these elements. There was practically no searching to be done, and most of the room was automated, I can only remember seeing one or two padlocks. A lot of the room involved physically doing things, connecting things correctly, putting things in the right position or place, and actually having the objects in your hands made it so much fun and really immersive. Exiting the room was a highlight for me, and done in such a way that we could figure out the exit code whilst running to the door!

Due to the iPad clue system (more on that below) the puzzles were numbered, which to start with I didn’t like the idea of, but as we progressed I actually found that I quite liked knowing how much we had left to do, we knew exactly how far through the room we were, and while i prefer playing games which give you clues when you need them, it did help a lot when deciding if it was time to ask for a clue, and stopped us spending too long on one puzzle. It also made it more exciting when you reached the final puzzle, knowing that if you could solve this you were out!

New players may struggle a bit with this room, so I would recommend 5 or 6 players, and 2-4 for experienced players.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Escape Reality use a clue system that I havent seen done before, you get an iPad with your timer on it, and you can also use it to scan QR codes next to the puzzles and get a hint, but doing this has a time penalty which is added on to your final escape time. It also shows you how many puzzles will be in the game. I’m not sure what kind of hints it gives you or how in-depth they are, as we didn’t like the idea of time being added on for needing help, so we never used it. When you get out you have to use the iPad to scan an exit code, which then records your time, this was probably the most stressful part of the game, and a very anxious couple of seconds while you tried to line up the iPad, so make sure you have the iPad in your hands when you leave or you will find yourself running back for it!

If, like us, you don’t like the idea of receiving a time penalty, there is also a switch in the room that you can press, and your host will enter the room and give you a clue. You can do this as many times as you want with no penalties. I wasn’t sure about this at first, as I thought having someone come into the room would ruin the immersion a bit, but it turned out that it’s so much easier to get a hint from an actual person rather than a TV screen, plus if something goes wrong you can let them know instead of trying to communicate with hand gestures. Our host never told us exactly what to do, and it was more a case of ‘have you tried this’ and a lot of the time we found we were on the right track and had just missed a small detail.

Prateek was our host, (Someone else did our brief, but I didn’t catch his name) he was always there straight away when we needed a clue and was waiting for us outside the room when we got out. He was friendly and happy to chat with us about the room afterwards.

Did we escape?

Yes! I forgot our time was on the iPad, so didn’t think to check it when we were done! But we got out in time, although we must have had a few minutes left at the most.


Booking and prices:

We booked online, you can book several different rooms or time slots at once, just make sure you click on the right location as they are all on the same website!


2 Players – £44 (£22.00 each)
3 Players – £60 (£20.00 each)
4 Players – £72 (£18.00 each)
5 Players – £85 (£17.00 each)
6 Players – £96 (£16.00 each)

Escape Reality have a 20% discount code on their website, use ESCAPEREALITY20 when booking, it may not be around for long though!


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