Whilst London is not exactly underserved for escape rooms, it’s very heartening that new options open all the time. Today though I’m taking a break from reviews and writing about four rather time-limited opportunities to play at locations which you might want to look into.
First of all, the London escape game community will soon need a different answer than Time Run to the question “I’m coming to London for a visit and can fit in one or two games, which should I go to?”. Owing to an impending lease expiration, and no doubt an ensuing demolition in favour of luxury flats, Time Run’s occupancy in London Fields comes to an end in August and they are not taking bookings beyond August 20th. Their website does allude to new games at a new location coming later this year, and whilst I have every reason to believe it will be as amazing as the existing two, you will need to get your temporal skates on if you want to play Lance of Longinus or Celestial Chain before the portal closes.
Clockwork Dog are back on the scene with a three-month run at Loop (we’ve reviewed it, but if you’re thinking of going, please don’t read the review until you’ve been). It and their previous game, Langstroth’s Last Riddle, have picked up Generally Awesome awards from this blog and show how it’s eminently possible to make an amazing scenario out of a limited space. They have a great game going in Dalston and you should definitely go along. They’re around till June 11th.
I suppose I probably can’t quite call it East London, but Escape this Room is the latest in pop-ups for our fine metropolis, and its initial game, London Bank Heist, retreads a familiar enough theme. Nevertheless, its promise of an immersive, cinematic experience looks attractive, and a per person cost of £20.30 (including the introductory discount) is relatively wallet-friending in the London context at least. We’ll be along later this month and will report back, hopefully in good time before they close so we can let you know what we think. Last day for Escape This Room is May 27th.
And finally for this one, what happens when massive puzzle game organisers and massive video game franchises collide? You get Scrap Zelda‘s Defenders of the Triforce. Announced last year for a tour through major US cities, it was announced last week that Real Escape Games were bringing their popular puzzle game across the ocean for stops in Europe: Barcelona, Paris, and London stops have been confirmed for July, and a visit to Köln is also slated. They hit Islington Assembly Hall for three days from July 14-16, running five sessions a day.
Some of you, readers, possible including those who frequent escape room experiences, may have taken careful note of my choice of words, and this is quite deliberate. This, like other similar Scrap games, doesn’t involve carefully-built rooms played by one or two teams at a time. Think instead of 20 or more groups working on substantially the same paper puzzles at a time on your tables, and when you think you have a solution, taking it to a character somewhere around the edge of the room to receive your next set of clues. Staff roam about to provide hints if you’re having difficulty. But you will spend most of your time sat around a table doing much the same as the others in the room. Based on the reviews I’ve read from the American stops, plus the appearance that Scrap seems quite disorganized, I’m giving this one a miss.
As Scrap also only sells tickets on an individual basis and can’t guarantee you will be grouped with your friends, it’s important to be very early and to come in a group of a full 6. As solo adventurers are rare, a group of 5 may well be broken into 2 and 3 to be combined with others.
Demand for the London stop has been intense, with most of the Saturday slots selling out in the first few days. What’s less impressive is that the system seemed to be stuck on “only 5 seats left” for a few days. Was it trying to rush people into buying? Was the system bugged? I don’t know the answer to that, but what I do know is that several fellow London Escapists team members got emails in a hybrid of French, Japanese, and English earlier this week saying their bookings had been cancelled due to oversales. They were offered an upgrade to gold packages (or a refund of the gold package supplement if they already had it) as well as a transfer to a session of their choice… but the session they chose also sold out between them emailing back and asking about it and the email actually being dealt with. Their bookings remain in Scrap limbo, and all the while tickets for the sessions that aren’t full are still on sale. If it were up to me, I’d have shut off sales for a few days until everyone caught up in the overbooking was accommodated, but it isn’t…
Edit: To my knowledge everyone has now been accommodated in an alternative slot and as mentioned above received the £20 gold package complimentary as compensation.
Anyway, that’s all for this update. If you like it, please comment below and I’ll do them more often.