So, if you’re reading this blog, you probably have a fairly good idea of what escape games you can play in London. This post is about exposing you to things that might not quite be on your radar, such as temporary escape rooms, puzzling of a different variety or perhaps moving away from puzzling to the more immersive theatre style of events.
You’re probably already aware of the Clockwork Dog and Escape This Room popups. They will be ending very soon so (the latter on Saturday!), if you’ve not done them already, I suggest you book your tickets asap!
There are a few even shorter-term ones coming to the capital: Fosters are running a short escape game event on 24/25 May in the London Fields vicinity. Look closely at the video and you may recognise a well known local escape room company as the venue…
clueQuest are heading to ComicCon again and, as with previous years, they’re taking along a mini escape game. I’ve played before and I can confirm it’s a lot of fun – think of it like a single big puzzle from a full escape room (worry not – it’s not actually from their rooms so no spoilers). They’ll also be giving a sneak preview of a new comic book project they’re working on that makes use of augmented reality technology. They’re also running a promotion on Facebook where you can win tickets to ComicCon and see for yourself.
If you want something that’s a little more meaty (but possibly less escape-y), then SCRAP are running an “escape game” event in Islington. SCRAP Zelda has been touring the USA for a while to mixed reviews. From what I’ve heard, it’s fun if you approach it as a puzzle event but you’ll be very sorely disappointed if you go in expecting a traditional escape room (which it absolutely isn’t – you’ll be in a room with around twenty other teams, sitting at tables solving puzzles).
A Door in a Wall have been running puzzle/immersive theatre games in London for years. This time round, they’ve taken over Camden Market for May and early June, where you’ll be investigating the murder of a horse-racing agent in Horses for Corpses. If you like horrendous puns, immersive theatre, puzzles and/or wandering round London, then this is three hours that will likely delight. Not convinced? You can read my reviews from previous events here.
If you fancy another murder mystery but a bit darker this time, Whitechapel is back for a new season. 90 minutes of exploring the area, finding out about the characters and the time and maybe, just maybe, cornering Jack the Ripper himself.
If you know anything about immersive theatre, then you’ll be well aware of Les Enfants Terribles, a well known London company and one of the team behind the Game’s Afoot (my review here). After a short show last summer, they’re back at the Vaults for an extended stint of Alice Underground. It’s not cheap, but expect impressive, immersive experiences that you’re unlikely to get from anyone else. Fancy taking your kids along? They also run a version for 5-10 year olds called Adventures in Wonderland.
The Immersive Ensemble hit the streets six months ago with their fast-paced spy experience culminating with a high-speed outing on the Thames. They’re back with something a little less frenetic set across a variety of spaces against a backdrop of the 1920s, jazz and general excess… The Great Gatsby seems to mix theatre, dancing and a bar together to produce a heady cocktail that, for the right people, will be a true delight.
If you’re into having fun out in the streets in teams but as part of a game, Fire Hazard are the go-to company. They’ve pretty much single-handedly defined the genre, partly by trailblazing but, I suspect, also by being so damned good at it that no one dares compete.
City Dash sees you take on a relatively simple hour-long hunt across a London space (various spaces available). Solve cryptic clues, find the corresponding tokens and check in to gain points. Avoid guards who patrol the various areas and amass as many points as you can before heading back to base to find out who’s won. You *can* run if you want to, but careful tactics are more important and walkers are more than capable of taking home the prizes.
Undercover is a ninety-minute session which sees you taking on all manner of spy-related activities. Expect to be making dead drops, intercepting messages, meeting with contacts, cracking codes and tailing fellow players around Leicester Square. I played last year and had an absolute blast.
Evasion is Undercover Plus. I’ve not played myself, but team-mates raved about their visit. Take some of the fun stuff from Undercover, throw in some escape room elements and you have what sounds like a very fun time indeed. I’ll be signing up as soon as I manage to clear my diary!
If you fancy something a little more sedate, then on the second Tuesday of each month Puzzled Pint takes place in a London pub. I’ve only been once myself (I enjoyed it immensely but it clashes with another commitment), but I can tell you that it’s a very friendly experience. You needn’t be worried about the puzzles being too difficult – the event coordinator is there to help you with clues – but, if you do want to know more, you can check out past puzzles on their website.
Fancy getting some puzzling in while also soaking up some culture? Then head along to Raiders of the Lost Archive, run by Fire Hazard (of the urban gaming mentioned above). Wander sedately round the V&A while solving puzzles and gaining points. It’s another game I’m yet to play but, again, my team-mates said it was great and have already signed up for the sequel.
Hidden City run various puzzle trails around London, the most famous of which is Moriarty’s Game. I’ve never been, but I gather it’s a fun couple of hours, and the fact that it’s backed by Time Out makes me feel it must have a certain amount of pedigree. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty of alternative games to take a look at on their site.
Finally one that is a total unknown: City Questing has come up a couple of times in my searches for escape games and looks like it might be of interest to escape enthusiasts. Read through the website and make your own mind up. And, if you do go, let me know how you found it in the comments below.