Do Stuff Escape Games – Hostage Hideout

Wonderful hosts make this a memorable game. Innovative puzzles. Quite cramped inside. A couple of defects.

Battersea is probably best known for the dogs and cats home, but a recent addition to the local businesses is Do Stuff Escape Games. Sharing space with the Grove, an amazing gaming pub with all sorts of cult memorabilia strewn around, it’s a recent addition to south London’s escape room stable. Team Judge was taking up the Groupon offer to try it out.

Tipped off by the various reviews, we arrived in good enough time to order from the bountiful menu of burgers (lamb, beef, horse, venison, chicken, and veggie all feature) and these were most enjoyable.

To the room itself. Our bubbly hosts made us very welcome and we spent some time chatting about the rooms we played and fun features we had found around the place. After that we were briefed on the game – a hostage situation in a shopping centre – and told to search everything a lot. This was inevitably necessary.

The hosts were extremely attentive and really knew their game. They said they built it all themselves and I would readily believe that.

In the room, there was a lot to do initially, and two or three puzzles of types I hadn’t previously come across. Plenty to search for, but not a lot of room. We were playing with five, the maximum for the room, and I daresay that was one too many. We probably should have had one person acting as manager to avoid people duplicating effort.

Where unorthodox types of lock were in use these came with full instructions and worked to perfection, which is a big plus. Regular readers will know of my intense hatred for directional locks and therefore it was good that we did not have any issues of that type. What let things down on the technical front, however, was a lock coming open before it should have – I am not sure whether it was defective, not reset, or by freak accident a key operating a lock it shouldn’t have. Later on, we also had a lot of difficulty getting technology to do what it was meant to, when a computer froze. Minor in the scheme of things, but a little tiresome.

That lock coming open gave us the tools and clues to solve the final puzzle well in advance of when we were meant to have it. The hosts were promptly on the radio to say “actually you really shouldn’t have that yet” and we closed up the offending box and waited to be told we were entitled to open it again. They couldn’t solve the computing problem, but the oldest trick in the book (turning it off and on again) did the job.

The communication system took me a little while to get hold of. Whilst we were given a walkie-talkie, there were ambient microphones inside the room and so the hosts could hear us without us having to push the button. They had the button held down at their end permanently. Once I’d figured this out it was easy but before that communication was a bit stilted.

Other nice things included the whiteboard and marker being fixed to the wall (so none of the “where did I put the clipboard” moments) and not using UV to excess.

We finished in 47 minutes having used 1 hint. That hint annoyed me because it was for a puzzle that was an exact duplicate of one I’ve seen in another room, and I did just as badly with it.

Special mention for the burgers in the adjacent Grove bar. These are historic and you must have one.

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

I found this to be a decent middle of the road room. Excepting the technical problems (for which I have somewhat reluctantly deducted a mark), we had fun without feeling rushed or pressured at any stage.

Full disclosure: We were offered and accepted a full refund owing to the technical issues in the room. This does not influence our review.

Other details
Accessibility: Very little room, steps to get in and around the room.

Alerts: UV, cramped space, no emergency exit and only exit door fully locked, mandatory lockers. One section potentially not suitable for those of a nervous disposition, but can be avoided/moved away from.

Capacity: A single room nominally for 2-5, but 5 (or maybe even 4) will find themselves falling over one another after the initial rush.

Cost: We paid £60 through Groupon; normal price is £100 flat price for the room, or £80 for 2 players any time or larger teams on weekdays before 5pm. The Escape Game Card is accepted for 25% off.

Photo: They took one on a phone, but I haven’t seen sight of it.

Getting there: 10 minutes or so on foot from Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea (both National Rail).


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