Normally everything you read on this blog is written by me, but it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever make it to this room in Mexico City, so here’s a guest blog by one of my regular team mates. You can see their ratings for London escape rooms here – just search for “the Blasphemer”.
Outside the room
On a recent business trip to Mexico City I had a Sunday afternoon ‘at leisure’ and was enjoying lunch with some local colleagues (in the Mexican style this started at 14:30, finished at 17:00 and involved several courses and some Mezcal), when the subject of escape rooms came up. I’d casually noticed before my trip that there was an escape room quite near my hotel, in the “up and coming” Roma district and I wondered whether anyone fancied trying it out. One of my friends had enjoyed ClueQuest’s ‘Operation Blacksheep’ on a recent trip to London and was very keen, another was easily persuaded, so we had a team of 3 and were quorate – so we gave them a quick call and booked in for the next available room!
A lovely stroll across Chapultepec Park on a warm January evening later and we were there. Outside the room there’s not much to see – indeed we walked past the anonymous gateway before street numbers helped us find the right gate and buzzer and get inside. An “Up and Coming” district in a city as dangerous as Mexico City could have been a problem but the area’s actually fine and I felt perfectly safe (that said, I probably wouldn’t recommend walking anywhere in Mexico City on your own at night). Inside there’s no waiting area to speak of (at least that we saw) – there were three hosts crowded around a computer desk in a brightly painted hallway, some stairs disappearing upstairs and two doors to escape rooms.
They have three different rooms and we’d actually booked onto “Jigsaw” but it turned out that “Cold War” was both more immediately available and reputedly harder, so we went for that and were taken straight into the escape room for the briefing (which was mercifully in English, as I speak no Spanish)!
The Soviet Union are planning a nuclear strike on a US city. You have broken into the nerve centre of the Commies’ operation and have exactly sixty-one minutes (it was never explained why exactly 61) until the missile launches and the first strike in nuclear war dooms the planet to annihilation. And then you also need to get out of the room, in the same 61 minute time limit, because a guard is coming back (I think).
Inside the room
There’s an immediate “wow” moment on coming into the room – the ‘missile console’ is one of the best props I’ve seen, it looks just in keeping with the theme and realisation that you will have to interact with it as the game goes on is quite exciting. That was just the start – the room was consistently decorated, there were some good artefacts scattered around and a real highlight for me was a slightly crackly recording of the booming, imposing, Soviet National Anthem playing on a loop in the background throughout.
There was a really good mixture of puzzles, including some pretty novel ones, some nice adaptations of themes I’ve seen elsewhere and one that truly requires teamwork and communication, which is always my favourite sort. We got really stuck (for ~5 minutes) twice, but both of those were entirely our fault – failing to find something that was pretty obvious with hindsight! There was nothing unfair in here, but there were some satisfying things to crack.
If I had one criticism it would be that it was a bit linear – most of the time the three of us were hunting for the same thing, or solving the same puzzle – with a team of three it actually worked fine, but I struggle to imagine what a team of 5 would have got up to…
My lack of Spanish wasn’t an issue at all – everything that needed to be read was also written in (good) English. It definitely made things a little trickier for interactions within the team, but thankfully my teammates speak excellent English
We got out after 48 minutes, with no clues at all – which is pretty respectable given that the record was 42 mins, that there were only 3 of us of whom one was a total newbie and one had only done one room, plus the language barrier. And the Mezcal.
I really liked this room – the variety of puzzles were good and the props and ambience really pulled it together into a good experience. This was my first room abroad and, given that they have limited competition (this seems to be the only room in Mexico City), I wasn’t expecting too much but was delighted to discover that it compared really well with the best rooms in London.
Beforehand we’d eaten at Porfirio’s in Polanco district where I was introduced to all manner of niche Mexican delicacies (highlights included the biggest piece of pork crackling I’ve ever seen and delicious tamales) – throughout which, to my delight (less excitingly for my Mexican hosts), we were regaled by a sombrero-wearing mariachi band.