Up North

- Overall rating:
Lucardo (Manchester): Gem Runner

A fun-filled adventure, packed full of puzzles and searching that kept the pair of us occupied for almost 40 minutes with barely a pause for breath. This isn’t high brow escaping with complicated puzzles, amazing backdrop or deep narrative. This is easy-access with puzzles that aren’t too daunting, a set that more than does its job and a flow that kept the adrenaline high right to the very end.

- Overall rating:
gamEscape: Armageddon

A good room with amazing potential. A few lazy puzzles and a lack of directions at time tempered the experience but the core is strong and as the game beds in I expect this to become a real highlight of the Liverpool scene.

- Overall rating:
LockIn Real Escape: Jail Break

An enjoyable game that I’d recommend but is starting to show its age. Probably the best balanced prison break game I’ve seen in terms of challenging you to reunite the team without just being frustrating.

- Overall rating:
LockIn Real Escape: Mission 60

A game that, overall, I enjoyed but I can easily see why others might not. One big skill challenge in the middle is likely to be a love or loathe and the linearity and relative shortage of puzzles means big teams could easily feel bored at times.

- Overall rating:
Timed Trap: Treasure Theft

An uninspiring room. The puzzles were disappointing and the linearity meant that all too often the team felt sidelined while one player was taking the active lead. The theming didn’t win me over and the host coming into the room for clues was the final nail for immersion.

- Overall rating:
Timed Trap: The Great Escape

A game that could have been so much more. An interesting physical set up, a good attempt at theatre and some decent tech. Unfortunately totally broken immersion, poor puzzle design resulting in some players being sidelined from the game, a limit on clues and a lack of engaging puzzles undid all that good work and left us disappointed.

- Overall rating:
moviESCAPE: SAWtopsy

For haunt fans this might have rated higher but as an escape room it just didn’t work for me. A promising story progression was hurt by a shortage of puzzles and unpleasant searching that left me feeling disappointed by the overall experience.

- Overall rating:
moviESCAPE: The Haunted House

A game I never really got excited about. It was perfectly playable with some OK puzzles, an OK theme and a reasonably good story but there was very little about it to make it stand out.

- Overall rating:
Extremescape: The Lost Tomb

The set is stunning, the puzzles are enjoyable, the theatrical moments are fantastic and, to top it off, the couple who run it are a great pair of hosts. If you’re ever in the area, and by that I mean the UK, you should head over here for 90 minutes of pure joy.

- Overall rating:
Escape Room Centre: the Bomb

Yet another great TRAP-designed room. Started off feeling quite weak but improved dramatically and by the end it had recovered and more.