Escape Hull – Contagion

Game date: 31/05/2017

Where: Hull

Theme:

“You’ve been infected with a virus. You have two options. Sit around and let it take you or redouble your efforts and retrieve a vaccine from an old medical facility. This is not your only problem. After retrieving the vaccine you must find a way to defeat the lock down on the laboratory. The quarantine timer is set to 60 minutes, after which the room and all traces of your work will be incinerated. You must do this if the rest of humanity is to benefit from your work.”

The decoration was your standard lab setup, metal cabinets, work benches, periodic tables and maps on the walls. We had seen a lot of this rooms props and furniture before,  in the Area 51 room at the Doncaster branch. Luckily this was not the case with the puzzles, and we only came across one that was similar.

While not hugely immersive, the room was clean, and well finished, and the puzzles fit well into the theme, with a few of them giving us a little bit more of the story throughout the game, and an insight into the progression of the virus and how it affected the world.
The game:

Our second room of the day with Escape-Hull, and our second game playing as a 2, and we were feeling a little bit more confident in our abilities now after our previous escape. Despite that, it took us a while to get going, mainly because the first clue was hidden somewhere we didn’t even think to look, as its something that isn’t usually part of the game, I doubt we would have ever actually have found this without a hint. After that things got moving a bit quicker, but we found ourselves over thinking pretty much every puzzle, and ended up needing quite a few clues. We overcomplicated almost everything in this room, when what we actually needed to do was quite simple. The room felt linear, but we were tripped up a lot by receiving items that we didn’t need to use until a lot later on, every time we found something along with a clue we had picked up, and we assumed the two would work together.

The room didn’t flow great for us, but this could have been more down to us than the game design, and there was a good variety of puzzles, a mixture of math, observation, code-breaking, practical and logic puzzles, with only a little searching to do. There was a lot of gadgets in the room which were fun to play with, and we really liked this aspect of the game, and the clever puzzles they had created around these gadgets were definitely a highlight for us, but some of the puzzles didn’t make sense to us. We got the harder puzzles quickly, but some of the easier ones just weren’t logical and seemed to be mostly down to guesswork.

I had loved the previous room we had played (Taken) but I just couldn’t get into this one, and felt as though we were getting nowhere. Often when we solved a puzzle, instead of the feeling of accomplishment, it was more a feeling of confusion, as we tried to figure out why that was something we would have ever done, or what we had actually done, there was no logic behind them and again this just didn’t make sense to us. I wouldn’t recommend this room to experienced players, as you are likely to over think a lot of the room, and some of the guesswork may leave you frustrated, but this would be a great room for new players, and the lack of experience would actually make the room easier, it’s a good room to introduce you to escape rooms.

For newbies, and I would recommend around 4 players, experienced players I would recommend 2, but be careful over thinking things!

 

Host, briefing and clue system:

Again Mike was our game host, and again he ran our game very well, and we really would have struggled to complete this room without his help. Like the previous room, clues were delivered to the TV screen, and they came exactly when we needed them, and again he was happy to chat with us after the game.

Did we escape?

Yes! In 54:25

Contagion

 

Booking and prices:

You can book online, and there is a phone number on the website so you may be able to book over the phone. I like the booking system they use, as it lets you add multiple rooms to the same booking,

Price:

Two players – £48 (£24pp)

Three players – £57 (£19pp)

Four players – £64 (£16pp)

Five players – £70 (£14pp)

Website:

www.escape-hull.co.uk

 

Escape Hull – Taken

Game date: 31/05/2017

Where: Hull

Theme:

“Tricked by a notorious serial killer your team will have to rescue the hostages and escape from the killer’s grasp. Do you have what it takes to stop the killer and get out?

The decoration in the room was really good, unlike the rooms we played at Escape-Doncaster, there was a lot of stuff on the walls, and not just a few posters, and a lot of this actually played a part in the game. There was a lot of furniture in the room, all in keeping with the theme, giving us plenty of places to look, and the puzzles all fit into the theme and gave us a little bit more of the story as we progressed through the game.

The game:

This room was for 2-5 players, and this was our first ever game as a team of 2. My boyfriend and I had been talking about playing with just the two of us for quite a while now, we have always played with the same 3, and we have 6 others who join us for the odd game depending on who can make it at the time. But it was becoming increasingly harder to organise as many games as we would like, so we finally decided to start playing a few on our own. We had been a bit hesitant, as we thought we would struggle with only the two of us, but it turned out we did just fine, it took us a bit longer to complete the room, and this impacted on our escape time a bit, but we weren’t really bothered about this, and it felt like we got to do a lot more in the room, and I loved that we got to experience every puzzle ourselves.

There was a lot to do in this room. a lot of puzzles and a lot of stuff to open, and there were a few points in the game where I didn’t think we would get it all done. The room was a little linear, but some things could be done in any order, and the flow was really good. Due to not being completely linear, it meant that if we got a bit stuck on something, we would come back to it and figure out something else first. There was actually one puzzle we spotted straight away, but we didn’t figure out the answer until alot later on, and I liked the fact that we could just come back to it later.

The puzzles were a great mix, this room had a little bit of everything, observation, word puzzles, code-breaking, logic, practical and number puzzles. There was some searching to be done, but not huge amounts, and we loved how much variety this room had. We flew through the room, there was so much to do that we were always kept busy, and we found we didn’t need a lot of help. One puzzle mid way through did trip us up though, we thought we had to remove something from inside something else, however it was (intentionally) tricky to do, and after trying it a few times we started thinking that we were doing the wrong thing, and I was worried we were actually breaking a prop, so we left it alone for a while – until we were given a hint to say we should actually be doing that. The puzzles were great fun, and were very satisfying to solve, some of them we were familiar with, but they were done in original ways so they were still interesting, and there were a lot of things that we hadn’t seen done before.

There was only one puzzle I didn’t like too much (towards the very end of the game) and that was only because it made me very nervous solving it – it was actually really clever – but without saying too much, it was a very different take on a maze puzzle, and to me solving it felt like I was playing one of those ‘beat the buzzer’ games, the puzzle itself wasnt anything like that, but that’s the best way I can describe the anxious feeling it gave me solving it, and several times I felt like I may completely mess up our game.

Overall, the room was a lot of fun, the puzzles just kept on coming, and I didn’t think it would actually end! This would be a good room for newbies, as it has such a wide variety of puzzles, although if it is your first room, completing them all within the hour may be a challenge! That being said, none of the puzzles were overly difficult and they all made perfect sense, we always knew what we had to do, even if we couldn’t figure out the actual solution straight away! For experienced players I would recommend a team of 2 or 3, and for newbies 4-5 due to the amount there is to do in the room.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Mike was our game host, he talked us through everything then took us into the room for the back story, he was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to be there. Clues were delivered to a TV screen in our room,  and he ran our game really well, giving us a nudge in the right direction only when we really needed it. We didn’t need a huge amount of clues in this room, but when we did they came at exactly the right moment, giving us enough time to try to figure things out on our own, and not too long that we became frustrated. He chatted to us for ages after the game (or at least put up with me going on about escape rooms!) and gave us enough time before our next room to have a bit of a break.

 

Did we escape?

Yes! In 51:10!

Taken.jpg

 

Booking and prices:

You can book online, and there is a phone number on the website so you may be able to book over the phone. I like the booking system they use, as it lets you add multiple rooms to the same booking, making things a lot easier and quicker if you are making several bookings.

Price:

Two players – £48 (£24pp)

Three players – £57 (£19pp)

Four players – £64 (£16pp)

Five players – £70 (£14pp)

Website:

www.escape-hull.co.uk

 

 

Great Escape Leeds – King Arthurs Secret 

Game date: 14/05/17

Where: Leeds

Theme:

“Know this brave knight, man’s darkest hour is upon us. Following King Arthur’s death, the banner which held the United Kingdoms together has all but vanished. Houses of the North, South, East and West battle in a constant struggle for power, causing reckless destruction of everything we hold dear. The North is set to storm the capital, beginning what only can be imagined as centuries of needless war and devastation. However, there is just one glimmer of hope. To find a new King of England and reunite the seven kingdoms under one true leader. Legends speak of secret chambers built into King Arthur’s Castle, riddled with mysteries and guarded by Merlin’s magic. It is said that when the time comes to pass, the secrets of King Arthur’s castle will only speak to the worthy, the one who has what it takes to become the King of England. This is where your journey begins, brave knight. Here, deep in the heart of King Arthur’s castle…Can you evade Merlin’s magic, unravel the mystery and unearth King Arthur’s secret?”

We hadn’t planned to visit the Great Escape when we did, but after playing the two great games at Look Key Escape we really wanted to play another, and the Great Escape was only a short walk. We opted for king Arthur’s secret as we had already been planning to play all the rooms at some point in the future, and thought it might be good to play them in order, starting with the easiest.

I had heard that the theming at the Great Escape was very good, and now that I’ve seen it for myself, I can definitely agree. They are situated in a modern, office type building, which was smartly decorated, and the place was massive! Someone came down to meet us at the door and took us upstairs. Just like the rest of the building, the reception area was HUGE, and it wasnt just a reception, there was an actual bar serving food and drinks, one large area filled with loads of lockers, and a bar with iPads lined up on it so you could sign in, another side was a conference room, and in the main area were tables with various card and board games on them. My favorite part, and something i was excited to try here, was a PS4 virtual reality headset, surrounded by sofas where you could sit and play (obviously I had to have a go before we left) We arrived a little early, and were given the option to either have a drink at the bar, or go straight into the room, we opted to go straight in. We put out stuff into a locker, and were taken up more stairs (ALOT more stairs!) and into our own private briefing room by our host.

The king Arthur room isn’t the biggest room we have played, but literally every inch of the room was themed. There was no paint or wallpaper on the walls, but actual imitation stone bricks that looked and felt so real. The room was immaculately done, everything was made from thick sturdy wood, the floor was real wood, and the centerpiece in the room that played a part in some of the puzzles was amazing. It was like being on a movie set, the room was very immersive, and if we all hadn’t been wearing our every day clothing I may have actually believed I had gone back in time. The room contained a lot of hidden secrets, but there isn’t much i can say about these without giving away all the surprises. The music was good and fit in really well, and both the music and light levels changed and reacted to things that we were doing in the game. Every inch of the room had been decorated, there was nothing at all that looked out-of-place, no plug sockets or wires, and even our light sources matched the theme, and it was much more fun and fitting than using torches.

The only downside to the room was that it was VERY hot in there, to the point that halfway through I thought i was going to have to leave, but i managed to stick it out and im glad i could complete the game. The day we played was during the unexpected, excessively hot weather in may, so i would assume that under normal weather conditions the room would be a lot cooler, and if we had known it would be so warm outside, we would have been dressed more appropriately for it.  

The game:

We were a little slow getting started in here, this was our first Great Escape room and we weren’t really sure what to expect. We actually figured out the first puzzle pretty quickly, but didn’t find the actual lock that the code was for until a while later, once we found this we were on our way, and things started to move a lot faster then. The room was pretty linear, but most of the puzzles involved team work and required having people in different places at the same time. There wasnt much searching to be done in the room, but the things that we did have to look for were hidden well. The actual types of puzzles didn’t have a huge amount of variety, and involved a lot of code-breaking and observation, and it was more a case of decode something, open a lock, decode something else, open a lock, but this was done in a different and interesting way every time, and brough different parts of the room into play. They were fun to solve, a good difficulty level, and once we had got going, we didnt really stop for the rest of the game. The room had some really clever and well done puzzles, and the starting puzzle and centrepiece puzzle were highlights for us.

Most of the locks in the room where the same, so once we figured out a code, we would have to try it in all of the locks, there wasnt too many of them though, so this wasnt that time-consuming, and as most of the locks led to a secret or a hidden compartment, it made it rewarding enough that it didn’t matter that we had to try a few locks, and we were excited to find out what we would discover each time we opened one. Overall the room flowed pretty well, was alot of fun to play,  and the theming made it just a really fun room to be in, I actually wished I could take some of the props home with me! 

Great Escape do things a little bit differently, the game is only 45 minutes, but you get to pick a character each that gives you a different perk. I won’t say what they all are, but they are different in every game, and there is always a character which will give you a bit of extra time. I liked this idea as it gave you further reason for being in the room, gave you a role and made you feel like a part of the story (although a few of the characters were a bit tough to choose between!) 

There wasn’t a TV screen in the room, we could get clues using a walkie-talkie, and our time was measured by a sand timer, this was a nice touch, and fitted in much better with the theme than having a screen would have, but it also meant we only had a rough idea of how much time we had left.

It was recommended to us by our host that we play the games in difficulty order, and that this is how they intended them to be played. Experienced players may find this room a bit on the easy side, but it is definitely worth playing, and i would recommend taking 2-4 players depending on the experience of your group (or try one of the more difficult rooms – I can’t wait to see how they are decorated!) Newbies may be better off with 4-6 players to have a few more people for the trickier puzzles.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Kiera was our game host, She was lovely and had so much enthusiasm and energy. Her brief was really good and in-depth, and her storytelling was great, and really set the scene and built up suspense. She put so much effort into creating atmosphere and a build up to the game and we were really excited to get started. She ran our game perfectly, checking in on us every now and then and asking if we were ok. As mentioned earlier, we had a walkie-talkie to ask for clues. We didn’t need many clues, but when we did she pointed us in the right direction. She was there waiting to greet us when we escaped, with the same enthusiasm as before. Not bad for 9pm at night!

Did we escape?

Yes! In 45:00.

King Arthurs secret

Booking and prices:

We booked online, about two hours before the time slot, we got a confirmation email and we even got a phone call to remind us to arrive half an hour before our game!

Price:

Off peak (Monday-Thurs 10am-4:30)

2 players – £50 (£25 each)

3 players – £54 (£18 each)

4 players – £68 (£17 each)

5 players – £80 (£16 each)

6-7 players – £96 (£16 each)

Monday-Thurs 4:30pm-9pm, Friday-Sunday all day

2 players – £52 (£26 each)

3 players – £57 (£19 each)

4 players – £72 (£18 each)

5 players – £85 (£17 each)

6-7 players – £102 (£17 each)

Website:

www.thegreatescapegame.co.uk/leeds

Look Key Escape – Alice in Wonderland 

Game date: 14/05/2017

Where: Leeds

Theme:

“Curiouser and curiouser. You awake to find yourself trapped in Wonderland once again with the Queen of Hearts after your head. With your friends scared into hiding you need to uncover the clues to find them and then plan your escape before the Red Queen and her guards arrive.”

 WOW! This has to be one of the best themed rooms I’ve played so far, and ‘wow’ is exactly what our entire group said in unison as we walked into the room. The theming was lovely, the room was so pretty and really felt like you were in Wonderland. They had thought of absolutely everything and included every little detail possible. There was a lot of beautiful props and decorations in this room, but it wasnt cluttered or distracting, and practically everything in the room played a part in the game. The puzzles were right on theme, and could have been straight out of wonderland, everything you would expect to find down the rabbit hole was in this room, but used to make creative puzzles unlike anything we have ever seen. Like Murder Motel, you could really see how much time, effort and thought had been put into this room, and everything just fit together amazingly to create a perfect game. I LOVE Alice in Wonderland, and really wanted this room to be great, and it did not let me down!

The game:

The game is for 2-6 players, we played it with 4. Just like the previous room, there was a such a variety of puzzles in this room, that there was something each person in our group did really well at. Something I really liked about this game, was that you could actually see quite a few of the puzzles you would have to solve, but we knew that we would need to find more clues or parts in order to solve them. It added to the excitement, being able to see a few of the really fun puzzles and waiting until the time came to solve them. All the puzzles in the room were so much fun! They fit in so perfectly with the theme and we loved solving every one of them.

The room flowed really well, we flew through the room and never really hit any road blocks, we didn’t need a single clue while we were in there. Almost all the puzzles in this room were new to us, and it was so refreshing to play two rooms in a row with such unique puzzles, each really satisfying to solve, and really felt magical. There was only a little searching to be done, and the puzzles were a great mixture of hands-on, logic, math, observation and code-breaking. Everything was so well done, the room looked amazing and we just didn’t want the game to end.

This room would be great for newbies, as there is a little bit of everything in here, I would recommend 4-5 players for newbies, and 2-4 for experienced players so you can play a part in solving every puzzle.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Kieran and Lucy (the owners) were our hosts, and Kieran did our brief and back story, his story telling was great, and he really set the scene for us. They were both really friendly and happy to chat to us before and after both the rooms. Clues were delivered to a TV screen in the room, but we didn’t need any clues in this room, although im sure that if we had, they would have come exactly when we needed them.

Did we escape?

Yes! In 41:59 with no clues, and we got on the leaderboard!

Alice3

Booking and prices:

You can book online up to 24 hours in advance, and for last-minute bookings you can call them for availability. The booking system is really easy to use, and lets you add both rooms to the same booking if you intend on playing both (which we did!)

Price:

6 players- £78 (£13 per player)
5 players- £70 (£14 per player)
4 players- £60 (£15 per player)
3 players- £51 (£17 per player)
2 players- £40 (£20 per player)

Website:

www.lookkeyescape.com

Look Key Escape – Murder Motel

 

Game date: 14/05/2017

Where: Leeds

Theme:

“You run a down trodden motel situated on Route 70 on the outskirts of Pittsburg, Kansas. People come and go. Some use it as a pit stop as they head to better things. Some stay far longer than they had ever expected. Sam has been renting room 130 for some time now. He keeps himself to himself but that’s the way you prefer it. Recently he has caught your attention. His rent hasn’t been paid for over a month and he has been keeping unsociable hours, disappearing for days on end, hiding in the shadows and bringing young girls back to his room late at night. Enough is enough. You decide to investigate, letting yourself into his room one night just after you see him leave. But do you really want to discover the secrets that are hidden inside room 130?”

The decoration and in the room was perfect. It was exactly what you would expect from an old-fashioned motel room, only with a bit of a dark twist. The props and furniture were old-fashioned to match the era, and the room lacked a lot in tech, but this fit perfectly with the theme, and anything too fancy or automated would have looked really out-of-place. The room had the ‘homemade’ look, but in a good way, and you could see a lot of thought and work had been put into the room to get it just right, and the sense of immersion was great. The puzzles were really clever and fit so well into the theme, as you progressed through the game, both the items you found, and the puzzles, gave you a little bit more of the story, and a glimpse into Sam’s life. I loved how the story had been woven into every aspect of the room, and unfolded as you progressed through the puzzles.

The game:

The game is for 2-6 players, we played with 4, and this was a really good number for this room, all of us had played escape rooms before, and we flew through the room, the puzzles were a nice difficulty, and we didn’t get stuck on any one puzzle for too long. There was a lot to do in the room, and such a good variety that all of us did well at something and felt like we had contributed plenty to the group once we got out. The game was very linear, and there was a lot of searching to be done, the puzzles were a great mix of logic, math, observation and word puzzles, and they all made sense and were so much fun to solve. the flow of the room was amazing and we never really hit any major road blocks. Whilst the room was linear, there were a few things that we could start doing, whilst some of the group worked on something else. All of the puzzle were unique and memorable, but there was one puzzle in particular that really stood out for us, I wont give anything away, but it was beautifully done, and unlike anything i have ever seen before.

I would recommend at 4-6 players for newbies, for those who have never played escape rooms before, a few extra people would be helpful for the harder puzzles, and to help with all the searching, and a maximum of 3 or 4 experienced players.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Kieran and Lucy (the owners) were our hosts, and Kieran did our brief and back story, his story telling was great, and he really set the scene for us. They were both really friendly and happy to chat to us for ages before and after the room, and even recommended some places for us to eat after.

Clues were delivered to a TV screen in the room, we only needed a few hints, but they came exactly when we needed them, they gave us the right amount of time to try things for ourselves, and didn’t give us a clue until we were really stuck, they ran our game perfectly. They could also hear what we were saying which probably helps a bit when running the games, but this was a slightly strange experience for us, as this was our first room where our hosts could actually hear us, although we did soon get used to it and eventually completely forgot they were listening.

Did we escape?

Yes! In 42:56, and we got on the leaderboard 🙂

MM

Booking and prices:

You can book online up to 24 hours in advance, and for last-minute bookings you can call them for availability. The booking system is really easy to use, and lets you add both rooms to the same booking if you intend on playing both (which we did!)

Price:

6 players- £78 (£13 per player)
5 players- £70 (£14 per player)
4 players- £60 (£15 per player)
3 players- £51 (£17 per player)
2 players- £40 (£20 per player)

Website:

www.lookkeyescape.com

 

 

 

Parapark – 9th Gateway

Game date: 08/05/2017

Where: Leeds

Theme:

“Welcome to the 9th Gateway. Locals and townspeople will tell you to steer clear of this place – that evil seeps from its very walls. Little is known about the incident that took place here decades ago. Whoever you ask will tell you a different story of seances gone wrong, possessed children or ancient evils. The only thing that stays the same in every account is that 9 people entered the basement, and none ever left. Since then, all who enter have been consumed by the same evil and have never been seen again. Even those who approach the door will tell you tales of extradimensional whispers and a bone-chilling sense of being watched. Do you think you have what it takes to enter the portal of the 9th gateway and live to tell the tale? Explore the portal of evil and unravel the riddles of the dark forces keeping you inside. Can you escape before time runs out and the gateway closes forever?”

The room is down in the basement, which adds to the horror theme a bit, it also makes it very cold in there, I would recommend taking a coat in with you if it’s cold outside, I doubt this will be a problem in the summer, however when we played it was FREEZING!

The room was clean, parts of it had a lot of space, and everything was in good condition. However, i’m not too sure what they were going for with the actual theme of the room, it wasnt massively immersive and I was very aware I was in an escape room. I really couldn’t pick out one thing that this room was supposed to be, there was a piano, a mixture of old-fashioned cabinets and chairs, an old tv, old lamps, and for some reason a computer, (which seemed to only be there for the sake of a puzzle) there was a collection of old-fashioned kids toys, and a few demonic looking symbols painted on the walls. I don’t know what this room was trying to be, and it just seemed to me like a random collection of furniture in a room with no real theme, other than ‘horror’.

We were told during the brief that some of the drawers and cabinets contained equipment to run the game, and if we saw a padlock with a skull sticker on it, it meant that it was not part of the game. Whilst this was a good idea and let us know which things not to bother with, it turned out that there was A LOT of these padlocks, so many that we kept forgetting where they were, and would become excited when we discovered another lock, only to find out that it had a sticker on it. It also made it difficult to judge how far in the game you were, as even towards the end of the game it looked like there was still a lot of things to open. I understand that some equipment does have to be in there, but everything was in the cabinets or drawers, and some of it could have been boxed off to avoid some of the padlocks. It took away from the immersion a bit, and we wasted a lot of time returning to things which we thought we needed to unlock, only to realise that they had a yet another sticker on them.

The room is advertised as horror, and we thought we were in for something scary  when we entered one section, it was pitch black, and all we could see in the darkness was a creepy image flickering on a TV screen, and we all hesitated for a few seconds before proceeding. Unfortunately, that’s as scary as it got, because a few seconds later someone found the light switch, and the atmosphere was gone in an instance. It would have been better fitting with the theme if the light levels had been kept low and we had been given torches. I’m not a huge fan of dark rooms, but in some games it’s necessary to create the right atmosphere.

Some of the puzzles did fit well with the theme, or more specifically, with the back story, but some seemed a bit out-of-place considering the story we had been told, such as the generic remote control car puzzle which made no sense being in this old-fashioned room. I’m not too sure what room the photos on the website are taken in, but the majority of them are definitely not the one in Leeds, there were a few we recognised, but most of them we didn’t see, and they are things that would have been practically impossible to miss!

The game:

This is currently the only room at Parapark Leeds, but they were in the process of building a second one. The current room is for 2-6 players, we played it with 6. Normally we don’t like playing in large groups, but I had found a deal on Groupon for 6 players and we thought we may as well take a full team. It didn’t take me long to regret this decision, as one part of the game was quite small, and we spent this portion of it tripping over each other, and in the end some of the group just sat down out the way whilst the rest figured out what to do. There really wasnt enough for 6 people to do, some of the puzzles you could only fit a few people round due to where they were located, and left the rest of the group stood there waiting, and not being able to see anything that was happening. I found myself sat down for a while towards the end of the game, just waiting for a puzzle to be solved so I could join in again.

The flow of the room was OK, mostly linear, and we never really got stuck on anything for too long (other than the issue with the radio I mention below) and we only needed a few clues during the game. There was a mixture of word and observation puzzles, a few that could be very loosely described as practical, a little searching to be done, and a number of generic escape room puzzles. None of the puzzles really made a lasting impression, they were ok, but for me there wasnt a great sense of achievement when solving them, and we had seen pretty much every one of them done before. That being said, some of the group did enjoy the room, so maybe this was down to that fact that there was simply not enough for us all to do, leading to some of us having a very different experience of the room. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this room much, I found the theming and puzzles really underwhelming, and so far its the only room we have played where so many of us have been sat around for so long, and again, this may have impacted on the experience for me, and afterwards we vowed never to play a room with 6 of us again.  Its worth noting that those in our group who enjoyed the room most, where the ones who had played the least rooms, so this may be a good room for newbies, or more experienced players who enjoy escape room tropes.

Towards the end of the game, we hit a brick wall, we had found a radio, and it was clear that there wasnt much else we could do at the time, so we spent 10 minutes walking round thinking we were doing something wrong, until eventually it just came on all of a sudden. When we asked about this after, our host said that the transmitter had not been working and he had fixed it when he realised. I’m not sure if this meant he wasnt actually watching our game, or if he had just thought it was working and that we couldn’t figure it out (but considering we were walking round the room holding it up and pointing it at things, I think it was fairly obvious it wasnt doing what it was supposed to be) I understand things go wrong sometimes, and it doesn’t bother me too much as generally the host will acknowledge it and apologise, either fixing the problem or giving us back the wasted time, but our host didn’t actually mention it and we had to ask about it.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Clues were delivered to a TV screen in the room, although we only had a few. I don’t know if this is down to our host thinking that we didn’t need the help, or if he wasnt watching us. He did run our game well, and the clues we did get were ones that we really needed, but the length of time it took him to resolve the radio issue got me wondering if he was preoccupied.  I didn’t catch (or can’t remember) our hosts name, but he was polite and friendly, gave us an in-depth briefing, then took us downstairs for the back story, he seemed genuinely excited about the room, and asked us what we thought of it when we got out.

Newbies would probably like this room, it isn’t too difficult, and with the escape room tropes in there, is a good way to acquire some understanding of the more commonly used puzzles. I would recommend 4-6 players, as a few of the puzzles could be a little tricky, but enthusiasts may not enjoy this room as much, again due to the number of generic escape room puzzles in the game, if you have played a lot of games, I would recommend a team of 4 maximum.

Parapark have two huge walls that you can write your names/team names on, which was fun to do afterwards. If you want a photo, I would recommend getting your host to take one on your own phone, as it takes them at least a month to put the photos online (which he offered to do for this reason) I think due to them adding their logos etc to the photo.

Did we escape?

Yes! In 51:22

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Booking and prices:

We booked online, im not sure if you can book over the phone, but i cant see why not, you can pay on your card or with Paypal, and the website actually accepts the Groupon vouchers!

Price:

6 players- £84
5 players- £70
4 players- £60
3 players- £51
2 players- £40

Parapark have a deal on Groupon at the minute, which is £49 for up to 6 players (Monday-Thursday), if you make a Groupon account you get another 15% off your first purchase too, definitely worth doing for this price!

Website:

www.leeds.parapark.co.uk

Enigma? – Bank Job

Game date: 08/05/2017

Where: Sheffield

Theme:

“After years of planning you and your crew have planned the perfect bank job. All you need to do now if pull it off!!” 

The theming was a little basic in parts, but what you would expect from a bank, and I found the game actually quite immersive despite this. The way of entrance was really clever and they made great use of what was already there in the building. I don’t want to give anything away, but it really added to the feel that you were breaking into the bank. There was also no music in the room which was unusual, and it seemed strangely quiet at times, but it didn’t really effect the game too much.

The game:

This is the second room at the Sheffield Enigma, which had been open around a month when we played it. We played it with 3 of us (our usual group) and had been warned it was very difficult so had been hoping to go with a few more people, but couldn’t get everyone together at the same time. We ended up doing a lot better than we thought, but the extra brainpower would have been nice.

The room flowed really well, and until the final stages of the room we didn’t hit any major blocks, only getting stuck briefly when we didn’t read something properly. The puzzles were fun to solve, and had that sense of achievement when we solved them. The game only got really difficult for us towards the end, with a complicated looking maths/conversion puzzle which threw us off, there was a lot of information that wasn’t actually part of this puzzle, but appeared to be, and we spent far too long on this one. We tend to prefer rooms where clues are delivered when we need them, as we often forget to ask or spend way too long on something without realising, which we did with this one. I got really frustrated at the puzzle, im very bad at maths puzzles (ones involving sums and large numbers to be specific) and really don’t like them, but the rest of the group were busy doing other things, and I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out unsuccessfully. We often get told we didn’t ask for a clue soon enough, or didn’t ask for enough clues ( I think we only had clues for two puzzles in this one) in games which we have to self clue, as just like I did on this puzzle, we get wrapped up in solving it and forget to ask.

The game had a few aspects to it, we had to steal the gold to win, but there was also the optional objective of collecting money bags, there were various codes hidden within the game, each giving access to one of these, so if you had time at the end there was still a little something to do, or you could do it as you went along if you were feeling confident. We had said before going in that we would leave them to the end to make sure we had enough time, but found ourselves finding codes during our searches and automatically putting them in. Due to either our lack of self-control when seeing a code and a padlock, or our fear of forgetting where we had got the codes from, we ended up collecting all but one of the money bags before we had even got the gold.

The puzzles overall were a good mix of word, observation and math puzzles, with a few practical type puzzles too. There was a bit of searching to be done, aswell as a few red herrings, and quite a bit of information that wasn’t relevant to the game. The game was a lot of fun (minus the one puzzle we got frustrated over) with the start of the game definitely being a highlight for us, and a decent mixture of padlocks and tech in the room.

I wouldn’t recommend this room for newbies, Enigmas other room (voodoo) would be a better choice for new players, however if it is your first room and you fancy a challenge, I would go in a group of 6. For experienced players I would still recommend at least 4.

Host, briefing and clue system:

Chris was our game host again, this time we had a walkie-talkie for clues, and we could ask our ‘getaway driver’ for help if we needed it. There was still a TV screen in the room, but the way it was laid out, we couldn’t actually see it for a while and even though we didn’t need any help during that part, the walkie talkies made things much easier to communicate throughout the whole game.

Did we escape?

We finished the game and got the gold, but were a few minutes over the 60 minutes when we got out.

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Booking and prices:

Same as Enigma Doncaster, you can book online or over the phone, they have the same website with a different booking page for each site.

Price:

6 players- £72 (£12 per player)
5 players- £65 (£13 per player)
4 players- £60 (£15 per player)
3 players- £48 (£16 per player)
2 players- £40 (£20 per player)

Website:

http://www.enigmarooms.co.uk