Escape London – Area 51

Highly linear, lots of different and new kinds of puzzles to enjoy in a sci-fi themed adventure. Accessible for beginners.

A week later and a player shorter, Team Judge (linkaneo, reb, and I) returned for our second visit to Escape London, on this occasion full of Nando’s. The staff were as pleasant as ever and made small talk until the appointed time.

The story here is investigating an alien invasion incident in a restricted area. I’m not sure why we only had an hour to do it, although it might have been because we’d get nicked, or abducted, or something. It didn’t really matter, as you will see.

Our briefing was in a spooky and somewhat dark back corner of the building and the emergency exit was pointed out. The usual warnings given about not unplugging things or using excessive force, and we were in. Pretty sparse to start with, but immediately we were presented with a technological puzzle that had obviously taken plenty of work to build, a puzzle that needed cooperation, and more besides. This “wow” pattern continued throughout.

After a while the direction of progress became much clearer. The puzzles changed tack frequently between search, logic, the obligatory UV, and a few leaps in the dark. More original challenges and technological additions presented themselves as time went on. And audible clues needed to be discerned from time to time too.

We got derailed for an extended period by a puzzle with a disputed answer. I eventually forced the combination arising from the puzzle, but this is where the lack of a walkie-talkie hurt the experience because we didn’t know whether we were going about things the wrong way or whether we had the correct solution but were entering it wrongly. That particular clue is still imprinted in my head!

Whilst the host had hammed it up quite a lot in terms of making the room out as scary, there were no jump scares, though there were some fake body parts and the like. We were fine with this – I get really bugged out by jump scares and the attendant anxiety though. (So does linkaneo, and one of the props gave reb the opportunity to perpetrate one on her 😛 )

We escaped handily enough with 16 minutes to go, having burnt a good deal of time on the above-mentioned problematic puzzle and having been given two hints.

In numbers
Overall: 7/10
Difficulty: 4/10
Theming: 5/10
Host: 9/10
Wow: 8/10

Nice and straightforward, this one. Pretty clear what you needed to do most of the time, and I picked out four unique/innovative puzzles or tricks that I’ve not previously seen. On the negative side, one misconfigured puzzle (which without the ability to communicate out to the hosts was rather frustrating).

Other details
Accessibility: In a basement downstairs, reasonable manoeuvrability.

Alerts: UV, required to use lockers (which are small, a medium-sized backpack would fill one completely and they only have one for each room), those of a nervous disposition may find some segments disturbing.

Capacity: Each of the three different rooms takes 2-6 players.

Cost: Our group of 3 cost £33 after the 50% introductory discount. Standard price is from £55 for 2 to £110 for 6 players. American Express is accepted.

Photo: Taken by phone and uploaded promptly to their Facebook group.

Getting there: Nearest tube is Shepherd’s Bush Market, 5-10 minutes’ walk. Shepherd’s Bush and White City are also near enough.


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