- Overall rating:
Extremescape (Disley): Viking

The team behind Extremescape have done it again, delivering a beautiful set with engaging puzzles and fantastic moments of theatre. I was a little worried that they’d struggle to improve on their previous two games, but they absolutely have – coming up with plenty of new ideas to keep their loyal customers happy and putting even more polish into the experience.

An afternoon in Manchester

A review of three rooms at The Escape Room in Manchester. As with most of the games at this chain, they were linear, relied heavily on darkness and didn’t generally produce puzzles that impressed. The one highlight between them was the Secret Lab, a game that used to be raved about but even that is showing its age.

- 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:
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.

- Overall rating:
Clue HQ Manchester: CSI - the Panic Room

An impressive looking game that showed Clue HQ are more than just a bunch of padlocks in a room. A few too many rough edges left me feeling disappointed but excited for what they might produce in the future.

- Overall rating:
Lucardo (Manchester): Contamination

A room with reasonable theming that went down the route of quantity rather than quality for its puzzles. If you’re looking for (individually) hard challenges then look elsewhere but if you’re looking for a mad dash race through a bunch of puzzles then this is the game for you.

- 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:
Lucardo: Virginia House

A very solid escape room with a good number of decent puzzles but nothing that really stood out. A few rough edges along the way leaves it in that range of games where I’ll still recommend people play but won’t do so enthusiastically.

- Overall rating:
Lucardo: The Dream

A great game with bold imagery and good use of lighting throughout. Aside from an annoying directional puzzle and fiddly technology, the puzzles were logical and fun. A joy for enthusiasts and experienced players alike.