Do Stuff Escape Games – Pie & Mash Shop

Summary
A nice little game which starts deceptively simple. A missing person case in a pie shop turns dark and you have to go and find what’s going on.

Review
Team Amaze took six players to Do Stuff Escape Games, with three each to play the older Hostage Hideout and the new Pie & Mash Shop. We were welcomed by the very pleasant hosts and closed up our stuff in the lockers before setting off back outside – this room’s got an external door in the car park.

There was a fair amount to do once we got going. A relatively high level of locks proportionately but several non-lock puzzles too, and what we needed to do was sensible.

Build quality was high, with some new puzzle concepts we had not seen before, and several good pieces of engineering. The story was a bit threadbare but with no red herrings or silly searching we could let that slide.

Hosting was good and our host was proactive in offering the option of a hint when needed. She knew how far along we should be at a point in time and played a straight bat.

One thing that caught us out a bit last time and is worth mentioning again is the communications system. There are microphones throughout the room which the host listens in to at all times, and whilst you’re issued with a walkie-talkie, it is only for the hosts to use to communicate with you – no need to push the button to talk back.

As mentioned in the previous review, do make time for the excellent burgers in the pub. A special offer is available to Do Stuff players.

Outcome
We escaped with a minute and a half on the clock and having had four hints. I can’t say it was devilishly difficult, but it was definitely paced well and the hosts are excellent and on top of their game.

Apologies to the hosts for making somewhat of a mess and to you readers for taking months to type this up.

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

Whilst there’s no special reason that you happen to be locked in a room at this point in time, I’m actually OK with letting that slide. The game hangs together well, there’s some innovative puzzles, and nothing falls into the irritating bucket. We had an enjoyable game even if it got a bit tense towards the end.

Other details
Accessibility: Steps to the briefing area but flat throughout the room. I expect the staff would be more than happy to come out and brief you outside. One element will require a fully-mobile adult.

Alerts: Mandatory lockers. Some fake blood.

Capacity: Pie & Mash Shop, like the older Hostage Hideout, takes 2-5 players.

Cost: We paid £55 for each of our teams of 3 using a special discount code. Normal price is £80 for teams of 2 at any time or any size team on weekdays up to 5pm and £100 for 3-5 at peak times. American Express is accepted.

Photo: Taken on a tablet; they asked our permission to upload to Facebook and it appeared promptly that evening.

Getting there: It’s 5-10 minutes walk from Battersea Park and Queenstown Road Battersea (both National Rail).

Website: dostuffescapegames.com

The Escape Rooms Newport – Torture Corp

Summary
A room that left us disappointed and frustrated. Innovative and faithful to its theme, probably a fun experience for those new to escape rooms, but enervating, unexciting and frustrating to veterans.

Review
I don’t normally back Kickstarters, but something about Escape Rooms Newport made it look like it stood out from the crowd. I went in for the top-level package entitling me to play the game in a team of up to 6 and then act as the game master for another team. I gave the room a month and a half or so to get into gear before coming down from London for the day to try it all out.

I recruited eight members of Team Judge to come and play across two attempts – playing myself in the first round, and acting as the host second time around for my friends. The experience started the day before, somewhat intriguingly, but to say more would be a spoiler.
Continue reading “The Escape Rooms Newport – Torture Corp”

Operation Escape – The Ops Room

Summary
A great example of how a low-tech escape room need not be written off as “Gen 1”. The Ops Room is a great first escape experience and tied its puzzles together wonderfully.

Review
Living in south-east London, it’s a bit of a surprise that I hadn’t been out here much earlier.

I’ve probably reached that stage that I need to stop booking rooms out of my London Escapists email, because our host welcomed us having read the site and knowing “the reviewers are in” – maybe I’d prefer it to be a surprise. She was in a period uniform and very welcoming and friendly.
Continue reading “Operation Escape – The Ops Room”

TimeTrap Escape Rooms – Rebellion – 1136

Summary
TimeTrap have found themselves a new permanent venue in Reading and opened up quite a good room – a non-linear game good for beginners and with a pleasing mix of puzzle types.

Review
To celebrate a Team Judge moving-house party, we booked into TimeTrap’s new game soon after it opened. The theme of the room is, as the name suggests, acting as rebels after the death of King Henry I who was laid to rest in Reading Abbey – and the goal is to enter through a time portal and obtain the crown, which has been stolen, to restore it to the rightful monarch.
Continue reading “TimeTrap Escape Rooms – Rebellion – 1136”

Lucardo – Espionage

Summary
I’d heard a lot of good things about Lucardo and so when I knew I’d have a Saturday evening free in Manchester it was top of my to-do list. Espionage is a World War II themed room with very little linearity and mostly straightforward puzzles, great for beginners.

Review
Espionage is rated as the least difficult of Lucardo’s five rooms. A new subset of Team Judge was playing, with a total of two games’ worth of experience between everyone other than me, so it seemed a sensible choice. I had hoped to play The Dream on recommendation, but as we booked so late it wasn’t available.
Continue reading “Lucardo – Espionage”

Modern Fables – The Escapist

Summary
In a warehouse in the deep depths of South Bermondsey lies The Escapist, a rough speakeasy where you can get rough drinks and meet rough people. Lavinia, one of the operators, has turned up missing. We needed to go and discovery what on earth was going on.

Review
I’ll try not to over-egg the pudding in terms of travel, but you could scarcely believe this venue is in Zone 2 – we took a bus to South Bermondsey station from whence it was a 15 minute walk, but it felt like we were much further out. We arrived just on time and after getting through the gate found ourselves in, well, a very rough-looking room with board walls and a bar in the corner. And Alfie, Lavinia’s assistant.
Continue reading “Modern Fables – The Escapist”

Escape this Room – London Bank Heist

Summary
Quite a crop of pop-up escape games in London these last few months. Escape this Room has gone to a lot of effort to build something for a month-long run and London Bank Heist was a good example of attention to detail and had something for everyone in terms of puzzles.

Review
Team Judge hit Escape this Room in its final week of operations. As it’s now closed I’m potentially going to be a little looser than usual in terms of spoilers, though only a little as I have a feeling that they will turn up again.

The story here is that you are entering the bank in the role of engineers to sort out some problems with the vault.
Continue reading “Escape this Room – London Bank Heist”

Time Run – The Celestial Chain

Summary
If escape room design had a school, homework questions would probably be things like “how can you make an adequate sequel to Lance of Longinus”, “what can you do to make the entire length of an escape game as close to a tense finish as the last 5/10 minutes of an hour-long game”, and “is Babbage really a garrulous chrome sphere or is he just chatty”. The answer to each of the above is found in the Celestial Chain. Frenetic, flawless, and fun in a way that pushed the boundaries of live action games.

Review
Team Pig made its way back to London Fields for our second encounter with Luna and Aubrey on a sunny May evening with high hopes. Last year we just about scraped through rescuing the Lance of Longinus with a few minutes before the portal closed. Tonight, reactivating the Celestial Chain was the mission to contain a vengeful goddess.
Continue reading “Time Run – The Celestial Chain”

Enigma Quests – School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Summary
A variation on “you’re in here, now get out”, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry makes progress more tangible and has great theming of its puzzles.

Review
Let’s leave the intellectual property question out of this particular review – it’s a good storyline, and the room theming and decoration were certainly on-point.
Continue reading “Enigma Quests – School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”

Upcoming time-limited events in London

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.
Continue reading “Upcoming time-limited events in London”