When reviewing and coming up with ratings, we come up with several different ratings. Here are the ingredients:
- Overall: a rating based on our overall feelings and thoughts about the room. Will take into account the other ratings but will not be a straight average, as we will also take into account how we felt about the room as a whole.
- Difficulty: what it says on the tin really – how taxing we found the room and its puzzles. Difficulty does not take hints into account.
- Theming: the back-story, the room’s raison d’être, how closely everything fits with that theme, whether there are anachronisms, and so on.
- Host: factors in welcome, before and after, helpfulness if we needed hints, enthusiasm, and skill.
- Wow: A general impression of times we felt really impressed at the design, construction, or solution to a puzzle.
(By hints, I mean requested or unrequested outside assistance from the host to prompt or assist teams in difficulty. Anything that’s given to all teams at a fixed time I would call a clue.)
What do the ratings map to?
We’ve chosen to rate out of ten rather than on the more usual five-star basis. We don’t rate the same as TripAdvisor or Yelp, where a 5-star (maximum) rating seems to be the starting default unless something’s gone seriously wrong — and many of the reviews are really rating the concept of an escape room rather than the actual room’s pros and cons. Our benchmark is other escape experiences, and here’s what our overall ratings mean.
|10||The best rooms and the best experiences, a 10 rating means we had an amazing time. These are the rooms we’ll reel off when someone asks us to name the top games we have played. A 10 will automatically gain our Generally Awesome award (see below).|
|9||A very solid experience with only a few small flaws.|
|8||A good room which we enjoyed a lot.|
|7||Above average: An enjoyable room with several positives and which we enjoyed. This is the lowest score room that I will actively recommend to people.|
|6||Average: a reasonably decent game with its good and bad points. On the occasions that I write for TripAdvisor or the like, I will give a 5-star rating to a room scoring 6 or more on my overall scale.|
|5||Slightly below average: reasonable room but some annoyances.|
|4||Below average, boring or badly thought-out, but a few positive bits.|
|3||A disappointing game with limited redeeming features.|
|2||Well below what we consider acceptable. Numerous flaws.|
|1||Very poor. Unless you’ve played every other game in the area, or need this venue for its specific capacity, I really wouldn’t bother.|
|0||A disaster from start to finish, steer well clear.|
We’ll mention in the “other details” section information about accessibility and any hazards or issues we found, if the venue was particularly difficult to find, and any alerts. Alerts would include if we think a room is at risk of scaring or putting off someone of a nervous disposition, if it’s particularly dark or uncomfortable, if there are tight spaces, or similar things that we think someone would take into consideration when deciding whether to play. We will also alert where games contain UV torches or directional locks, because we know some people feel strongly against either or both.
We don’t take the base (advertised) cost of games into account in our ratings, though unexpected extra costs or extras not announced until we are on site may militate against a rating. We’ll include details of the capacity of the room (as well as how many copies of the same room are available for simultaneous play, useful if you have a bigger group). As many of us are also keen collectors of loyalty points, we’ve also started to mention whether American Express cards are accepted, as they normally tend to give the most rewards.
We will include whether a team photo was taken and made available to us (as well as when and how).
In terms of accessibility, we are not aware of any rooms suitable for people with severe visual impairment. Unless stated otherwise, rooms are suitable for people with hearing impairments as long as at least one member of the party does not.
At the moment we have one award, which is the Generally Awesome award. The clue is in the name here – if we’ve come out of a room, win or lose, and said to ourselves “you know what, that was really great” then it wins the award, otherwise it doesn’t. Generally Awesome award holders are the gold standard of escape games and come with our recommendation.
Reusing and quoting our reviews
We’re always happy for room operators to use our reviews or quotes from them. Attribution to londonescapists.co.uk is requested and sending us a link to where you’ve reused it (either email prof at this domain or comment the review in question) would be appreciated. We do reserve the right to ask for reviews/quotes to be taken down in the event something is quoted materially out of context or used in a way that tends to denigrate or belittle this site, but I’m sure that won’t happen.