Escape London – Casino

Summary
A twist on the normal “you need to get out” model, this game has an extra way to separate the best teams. Challenging game with a great many padlocks. Extremely friendly and attentive staff.

Review
Off to West London this time and after a very filling Five Guys (is there any other kind?) in Westfield White City, Team Judge (reb, linkaneo, emmy and myself) were excited to visit new-to-the-market Escape London. We took up their 50% off discount for booking before they opened (it’d have been rude not to) and this was the first of three rooms to play.

We were very warmly welcomed on arrival and after a few rather Spartan experiences at other venues it was nice to see jugs of water and the like on reception. Paperwork signed and all other formalities dealt with, it was time to get going.

The goal in this room is to escape, but also to “get rich” by filling a chip case with as many casino chips as possible.

Once inside we already had a whole range of clues and puzzles, with nearly a dozen locks immediately on view. This meant things were initially non-linear, but we knocked out the first few bits and banked some chips promptly before stalling. There was not 10 minutes on the clock though before the hints started through the screen. Hints were a one-way communication: with no walkie-talkie or way to communicate back, we had to take what we got. And we got a lot. Sadly, few of them were any good, merely telling us something we’d already figured out.

Directional locks have my undivided hatred and the one with which we were faced took up a good ten minutes of our time trying to decipher the required action; I am still not sure whether we were doing it wrongly or the lock was set improperly and we opened it by accident. One of the locks had not been reset from the previous game such that we encountered a key which didn’t open anything.

There was more of the same as we moved along, although the game got more linear as we progressed and codes started yielding clues directing us to the next problem as well as chips. The puzzles also got even more challenging and whilst I wouldn’t quite say the leaps of logic were too wide to make, it was only the free-flow of hints that kept us from spending an hour faffing about.

Keeping track of codes used and where we got them from was of critical importance, to avoid reusing puzzles and ideas. However, it wasn’t a task we did too well and we spent ages and ages trying and retrying codes of different lengths.

There was one prop I kept coming back to and my teammates kept saying “It’s just a prop, there’s nothing there!” I had the last laugh though as it eventually gave up its secret when I operated it properly.

After getting the exit open we were encouraged to use up the rest of the time trying to get the last chips, and we got the second-last lock open with 4 seconds on the clock before making good our escape.

Outcome
Sort of hard to explain an outcome of this, but we had the door open after 55 minutes and had only one puzzle that we failed to solve. I lost count of how many hints we’d been given in the first 20 minutes, but it was definitely into two figures. We took the top slot on the leaderboard although I don’t really set much weight in that, playing, as we were, on the game’s third day of public operation.

In numbers
Overall: 6/10
Difficulty: 9/10
Theming: 7/10
Host: 9/10
Wow: 4/10

This was a hard one to rate. The facility to collect extra chips (as well as a clear signal when there is nothing left to win) means it’s easier for teams to get their money’s worth even if they finish relatively quickly. The hosts were extremely friendly, and I am predisposed to being nice to venues that have recently opened.

However, I’m afraid a lock not being reset, a directional lock (a) existing at all and (b) not operating correctly, the tsunami of clues (and the fact that the puzzles required enough random jumps to require a tsunami of clues) can’t all be accounted for by being new, and that’s how I’ve ended up at a 6 out of 10. Other reviews by people who played after it had time to bed in may give a better picture.

Other details
Accessibility: In a basement downstairs, and pretty narrow in places.

Alerts: Directional locks, UV, required to use lockers (which are small, a medium-sized backpack would fill one completely and they only have one for each room).

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

Cost: We used their half price introductory offer and paid a very modest £40 for a group of 4. 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.

Website: http://www.escape-london.co.uk

1 thought on “Escape London – Casino”

  1. Directional locks seem like such a great idea and novices think “wow”. The problem is that they’re just too tricky to operate. For novices that means they probably don’t reset properly. For more experienced players the real frustration is that you can’t check that you just tried combination “X”. On a number/letter padlock you can look at what you’ve entered and confirm or even show it to a team mate.

    Bad resets (and problematic puzzles) are the peril of going just after rooms open. I find it so frustrating to watch people going along and enjoying games before I get the chance but experience suggests that waiting a month is best. I feel so bad when I review a game negatively in the knowledge that it was likely inexperience rather than pure carelessness.

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