Review: Codebreakers – Mission:Breakout, South Kentish Town Tube Station

In the atmospheric surroundings of the old South Kentish Town Tube Station, can you crack the codes and escape the room of Codebreakers – Mission: Breakout

It has been a little while since our escape-the-room group has actually tried to escape a room, rather than just meeting to drink gin-based cocktails, but a special offer in Time Out led us over to Kentish Town to the home of Mission: Breakout. 

Housed in the brilliantly quirky ghost tube station of South Kentish Town, the Mission: Breakout team have two games up for grabs – the brand spanking new The Lost Passenger which opens on Easter Monday and Codebreakers which was where we found ourselves. Continue reading “Review: Codebreakers – Mission:Breakout, South Kentish Town Tube Station”

Review: Hostage Hideout, Do Stuff Escape Games

Just a quickie for this escape-the-room down in Battersea. Hostage Hideout is one of two games at Do Stuff Escape Games and has to be one of the more enjoyable that our squad has gotten round to, not least because we actually managed to finish this one!

The set up is a hostage situation at a shopping centre which you find yourself in the middle of. And as ever, you’ve got to solve puzzles, find clues and dance a light fandango in order to save everyone and get out in time. It is all inventively done and with a keen eye on a real variety of challenges. Continue reading “Review: Hostage Hideout, Do Stuff Escape Games”

Review: Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop, The Depot

“Can you turn the twisted key?”

Another weekend, another escape-the-room challenge, this time in the form of Handmade Mysteries’ Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop at The Depot, the pub that is underneath the Pleasance in North London. Handmade Mysteries’ take on the problem-solving genre is a richly fantastical one as we’d previously experienced in their Lady Chastity’s Reserve and Poppa Plock proved to be no exception.

The set-up for the game, as best I can recall, is that your team needs to complete one final project by toymaker Plock in order to escape the workshop, which is fantastically eerie with its childhood-games-gone-wrong aesthetic. In order to find the component parts for that project, there’s a whole series of clues to find, puzzles to solve, codes to crack, games to play, you get the picture… Continue reading “Review: Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop, The Depot”

Review: Escape the Theatre, Millbank Tower

There’s something inevitable about ending up at something called Escape the Theatre but that analysis aside, a half-price offer with Time Out led our regular team of intrepid escape-the-roomers to Millbank Tower, fortified by a Bloody Mary or two. There, you can find an interesting twist on the locked room genre in that this challenge is a large team-based one – you could be one of up to 15 trying to solve the puzzles, competing against another team against the clock.

 The premise of Escape the Theatre is that you’ve been invited to a swanky film premiere and as we enter the auditorium for an exclusive pre-film event, the lights go off, the doors are locked and a decades-long mystery is unveiled. There’s a lot to get to grips with and just 45 minutes in which to do so in order to, dun dun duuuuh, escape the theatre. Continue reading “Review: Escape the Theatre, Millbank Tower”

Review: Escape the Room, Namco Funscape

Escape-the-room games can become addictive, as one particular circle of my friends have found out to our cost, and every time a new one comes to our attention, off we trot. Even when one is to be found in the raucous surroundings of Namco Funscape, the amusement arcade/entertainment centre in County Hall which is filled with the likes of slush puppies, techno bowling and even a set of dodgems.

Here, the escape-the-room concept has been tailored down to a trim 765 second, just under 13 minutes in which you and your team of up to six need to hunt down clues, figure out a set of puzzles, and save the day if you can. There’s a code of silence as with all these games which means I can’t say too much because – spoilers! but I don’t think it is too much to reveal that you take on the role of policemen. Continue reading “Review: Escape the Room, Namco Funscape”

Review: The Million Pound Heist, Enigma Quests

“Fill the briefcase”

As the hunger for escape-the-room games increases, so too does the ingenuity of those who come up with these activities, tweaking the format a little every time so that we keep on coming back for more. One of the more ambitious of these companies are Enigma Quests, proprietors of the Harry Potter-inspired School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and newly opened game The Million Pound Heist

And as the name suggests, The Million Pound Heist sees your group take on the role of thieves and rather than escaping the room per se, your job is to break into the vaults of an international art crime syndicate. This you do by solving a series of increasingly fiendish challenges, testing your ingenuity, resourcefulness and downright lateral thinking techniques to make your way through a series of rooms towards the loot. Continue reading “Review: The Million Pound Heist, Enigma Quests”

Re-review: Time Run, London Fields

“Listen to Babbage”

One of my favourite discoveries last year was the plethora of escape-the-room games in London, sparked off by a trip to Time Run over in London Fields. It was a hugely enjoyable experience and you can read about it – well as much as I could say in a spoiler-free manner – in this review here. So I was delighted to get the opportunity to go back again and see if we could get any closer to completing the range of challenges that are posed for you.

For the uninitiated, Time Run is a game for teams of 3-5 people, lasting an hour, in which you have to solve a quest of historic importance that stretches across time and space – think along the lines of The Crystal Maze and you’re not too far off, just with less Richard O’Brien. And it remains an excellently conceptualised piece of entertainment – from its quirky beginnings to the neat introductions to the superbly executed production values. Continue reading “Re-review: Time Run, London Fields”

Review: Lady Chastity’s Reserve, The Four Thieves Pub

“Look for my plum bottom”

Not strictly speaking an escape-the-room adventure but very much in the same arena, Handmade Mysteries’ Lady Chastity’s Reserve is a raucous take on the live team game experience and with a bottle of wine, nay an aphrodisiac, up for grabs, it has the distinction of being the first of this type that our team of regulars actually completed (who knew the incentive of alcohol was all we needed!). 

Located in the depths of The Four Thieves pub in Battersea (and a very nice pub it is too), Lady Chastity’s Reserve is a game for up to 5 players in which a series of puzzles, conundrums and clues have to be solved within the hour in order to liberate the final bottle of the “exclusive wine” for which she was famed. Guided by the idiosyncratic and slightly filthy-minded host Gabriel (who will offer up an assist or two when summoned), it’s all really rather good fun. Continue reading “Review: Lady Chastity’s Reserve, The Four Thieves Pub”

Review: HintHunt, King’s Cross

Image result for hinthunt

“Don’t trust your teammates to check everything properly”

So naturally, I post a review mentioning how much fun a live version of The Crystal Maze might be and within a couple of days, they launch a Kickstarter for that very thing and I found out too late to get the earlybird tickets (I don’t doubt it’ll be ace but £50 is a bit steep…). But in slightly more serendipitous circumstances, a walk back to the office from a meeting revealed to me that HintHunt London was actually less than 10 minutes away from us, just down a side street from Euston station. So gathering the team that tried (and failed) Time Run and adding one more to the mix, we once more attempted to escape the room.

HintHunt has been knocking around for a couple of years now but ever fashionably late to these things, the escape-the-room fad is one that has only recently come to my attention and so I am still ridiculously enthusiastic about it. And because of the nature of the game(s), it is impossible to say that much without spoiling it and I really recommend that you go in blind as it undoubtedly enhances the experience. HintHunt London has two rooms – JM’s office and the Zen room (we did the latter) and is designed for teams of between 3 and 5 people (we definitely benefitted from being 4 as opposed to our Time Run trio).     Continue reading “Review: HintHunt, King’s Cross”

Review: Time Run, London Fields

“I promise it will be quite the adventure”
As a kid, there were few things I wanted as much as to go on The Krypton Factor (that assault course aside), it seemed the height of sophistication and Gordon Burns was a bundle of avuncular joy. Along with the pesky kids of Knightmare and the more grown-up charms of The Crystal Maze, the early 90s were awash with these challenge-based game shows, so it is little surprise that a range of escape-the-room immersive theatre experiences are available across London.
The first (and it won’t be the last) of these that I have been to – Time Run – is located in an unassuming building just off of London Fields and is designed for groups of 3-5 players, so you can pick your own team. The set-up involves time-travelling scientist Luna Fox who is in dire need of help to save the very fabric of time itself (or something) and requires our assistance in locating a precious artefact. Over the space of an hour, your team will have to…well, I can’t give it away…exercise a whole lot of problem-solving skills, shall we say.
It is huge amounts of adventurous fun – so much fun you might not even want to escape the room – with some seriously impressive production values and the three of us all really got into the swing of things, once we’d finally clocked the kind of thought processes needed to crack the various puzzles in front of us. They’re far from easy as well so the experience becomes an all-consuming one as you’re trying desperately to beat the clock. Safe to say, we could have done with a little more time, well a fair bit more, as our lack of focus at the beginning meant we ended up very much against it. 
The only real criticism we had was that it was all over a little too abruptly. Dumped like Sarah-Jane Smith out of the TARDIS, there’s no opportunity to compare scorecards or share your experiences – You Me Bum Bum Train’s bar at the end was brilliant in this respect – and find out if that particular thing took as damned long to work out for anyone else. With some help from Luna’s inspired robot colleague Babbage, we just about got there but if you’ve got a spare spot on your team, give me a call, I’d love to do it again! 
Running time: 60 minutes
Booking until 2nd August