August 2017

- Overall rating:
Escaper MK (Milton Keynes): Cabin in the Woods

A disappointing room from start to finish. Darkness was used to make the game more difficult, decoration was minimal, puzzles were weak and lazy. For all but the absolute novice, this will feel distinctly lacking.

- Overall rating:
The Panic Room Harlow: The Tomb

Two tonnes of sand, flowing puzzles and fun exploration during a game is hard not to love. Unfortunately there were too many parts that felt a bit stuck together with sellotape and sticky back plastic. Fun overall, but it wasn’t quite the immersive adventure it deserved to be.

- Overall rating:
Break Escape (Loughborough): The Sands of Time

A charmingly decorated escape room with solid puzzles. Where they made use of standard escape room tropes, they threw in a twist that helped retain engagement. The experience was tied up nicely by a fitting end sequence although it was a little tough to get everyone fully involved.

- Overall rating:
Ouija Bournemouth

A strange game. I’m not entirely convinced it’s even an escape room, although it probably has just enough of the elements to count as one. The puzzles were pretty poor, the decoration was no better, and the only thing of merit was really the theatre of the scare side of things.

Hidden City (London): Bright Lights Evening Trail

A basic game that takes you on a nice stroll through London. The technology that backed up the game just worked and the clues made sense but there was nothing very exciting about the experience. It’s a fun pastime if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill in the centre of London on a nice day but not something I’d make the centrepiece of a day out.

- 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.

Exit The Game: The Pharaoh's Tomb (Boxed Game)

One of the strongest escape rooms in a box that I’ve played. It isn’t a match for a real escape room, but it’s a well constructed hour of fun with quality elements and good puzzles. A great way for enthusiasts to bridge the gap between escape rooms

- Overall rating:
Other World Escapes (Southampton): Mayan

A fun game that caters well to the first-time player. The puzzles are accessible, with little to get you frustrated although enthusiasts may find them lacking originality. Their focus on immersion generally paid off reasonably well.

- Overall rating:
Elusion Rooms (Southampton): The Pandora Heist

A game that was close to greatness. A great concept, visually beautiful, with a fantastic start and solid central gameplay but, just as I was getting really excited, it let me down. All the certainty that the early puzzles had provided was undone by a finish that felt more like a lottery than a puzzle challenge.

- Overall rating:
Code to Exit (Altrincham): The Forger

A charming game which stacks up well against the other offerings at the venue. Solid, fairly varied puzzles and an original theme that drew me in.