Outside the room
After two previous visits to Escape Hunt, to play Kidnapping in the Living Room and Murder in the Artist’s Bedroom, it was finally time to complete the set, and go into the laboratory. This time there were six of us along for the ride, so we we’d booked both the rooms that host this game.
Going here for a third time, with new people, and with a break since my previous visit, gave me a chance to look on the venue with fresh eyes. My previous two reviews haven’t been amazingly complimentary about the game rooms themselves, but once again I was impressed by the other aspects of this setup.
Firstly there are two waiting areas, one for before and one for after. With ten rooms that’s probably a necessity, but it does mean there’s no chance of you overhearing other teams discussing the room you’re about to go into. The waiting rooms themselves are both gorgeous and in character for the (loose) Sherlock Holmes theme, with heavy wooden furniture and big leather sofas. The host was better than last time and what she lacked in really setting the scene and convincing you of the story, she made up for in enthusiasm.
At the end of the game they have the photo “booth”, where you can dress up as Sherlock Holmes with your team mates and take funny photos. Or alternatively try, but fail miserably at, taking said funny photos. Escaping is our forte, timing and photogenicness, most certainly aren’t…
A marginally better story than the other two Escape Hunt rooms. This time you’ve been called into a laboratory to use your sleuthing skills to find out who’s been stealing some dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately you’ve been locked inside and fumes are slowly seeping in. Unsurprisingly, it’s going to be about, well, dead on, an hour before the fumes kill you…
Inside the room
If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll know that I wasn’t amazingly impressed with the other two Escape Hunt rooms. My main complaints were that there were few puzzles, that one of the puzzles in each room seemed unsolvable (or perhaps given this is the Laboratory review, I should go for insoluble?), that the rooms were bare and that the game structure was similar between the rooms. So, how does this room stack up against the other two? Let’s take those points in turn…
Number of puzzles. I think this was on a par with the other two. With only three players in my room, there were just enough puzzles to keep me interested, but only just. Were you to be playing with four or five, I think you’d feel frustrated at lack of access to the puzzles, especially if you had any escaping experience.
Solubility of the puzzles. As with the other rooms, most of the puzzles were just fine (in fact, maybe slightly better), but again there was one puzzle that required a leap that I just don’t see people making without getting a clue. I don’t mind being unable to get past a puzzle, but I do mind when I find out the solution and just can’t imagine how I’d have solved it.
Decor of the room. It felt like they’d taken the space, made the game and only decided afterwards that it was a laboratory and so kitted it out with about five items that were vaguely related to a lab. There was one puzzle which made vague use of the science setting, but that was about it. Other than that, pretty devoid of character.
Similarity to the other two rooms? I held out high hopes that this would be different, because there was a suggestion on the site that it was more difficult, but my hopes were soon dashed. As well as the overall structure of the room being the same, there were three parts to its puzzles that were basically identical. I was content to stand back and watch other people playing with them, but if we’d all done one of the other rooms already it would have been a bit of a let down.
Other than that, there’s not much to say. The hint giving was good – we were left to our own devices in general, but got called up when we were stuck, and obviously could call out whenever we wanted. The clues themselves were good, although perhaps a little too helpful at times, rather than just gently nudging you in the right direction.
The two teams got out with 15 and 25 minutes left on the clock (no comment on which team I was on…). We’d both taken a clue (although the host seemed to have forgotten one of ours) and for my room at least, we had a couple of calls to put us on track. As mentioned above, I think one clue is pretty much inevitable, but the rest was our incompetence and lack of observational skills.
Of the three Escape Hunt rooms, I’d say this is, marginally, the best. Taking along three people who were new to escape rooms, I had it strongly confirmed that even the poorer escape games in London are great fun for beginners – they all seemed to have a good time. Escape Hunt, with its central location, professional waiting rooms and space for up to 50 people simultaneously, has a lot going for it, so if you’re organising a large event I’d recommend it without hesitation.
If, on the other hand, you’ve enjoyed escape rooms before and want to book a new one, then there are better, cheaper escape rooms all across London.
The City isn’t the best place to find exciting eateries, and since the rest of the group hadn’t eaten there before, we headed to the Counting House. For a pub that doesn’t play music, it’s very noisy, but apart from that I’d rate it highly. We’d reserved a table for six, which was ready when we got there, and there was even a name sign to point us in the right direction. I ordered their pie of the day which I have to confess looked a little disappointing from the outside but turned out to be very good indeed. Kind of the reverse of Escape Hunt.
Detailed Room Ratings