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”

Clockwork Dog – Loop

Summary
I wasn’t sure that Clockwork Dog could outdo their last attempt at a pop-up escape game. And yet they have. I’m still not quite sure how. We’ve rated it Generally Awesome, and you should go and play it, ideally before reading the rest of the review.

Review
First and foremost, this room is highly difficult to review without causing potential spoilers. If you read further it is at your own risk of finding out something you may not want to have known. I’ve put in some collapsed spoiler boxes but they don’t cover everything.
Continue reading “Clockwork Dog – Loop”

Time Run – The Lance of Longinus

Summary
Well-renowned as London’s top escape venue, Time Run has it all. Theming, technology, puzzles, settings, media, interactivity, staff attention, and everything else are out of this world. This room is simply amazing. Go and play it already.

Review
Time Run was on my radar from shortly after I discovered escape rooms in 2014. It was a clear favourite of the reviews I’d read. I was saving it for a special occasion, and that actually started to drag on a bit.
Continue reading “Time Run – The Lance of Longinus”

The Crystal Maze (London)

Summary
Simply brilliant. An hour of pure, unadulterated fun. I had been waiting 25 years for the time I got to actually play the Crystal Maze for myself — and it was everything it was billed to be.

Review
In a world where lots and lots of people accumulate lots and lots of stuff, experiences have been suggested as the new “want”. The Crystal Maze captures the zeitgeist perfectly: Gen X and millennials who watched the TV show in the late 80s and early 90s, all the while wanting to take part, now have the opportunity (and the disposable income) to do so.

I booked our trip nine months in advance to coincide with Emmy’s birthday and the presence in London of some of the further-afield members of Team Judge. A long time to count down. Would it be worth the wait? I was certainly hyping it up in my and my team’s heads…
Continue reading “The Crystal Maze (London)”

Clockwork Dog – Langstroth’s Last Riddle

Summary
Extremely immersive pop-up location, themed exquisitely to a limiting venue. Amazing hosts. Mixture of puzzles including search, logic, calculations, combination locks, and the obligatory trapdoor. Best room I’ve played to date.

Review
Note: This room is no longer in operation (and this review got caught up in a backlog, hence why it’s been nearly two months coming). I’ve taken somewhat of a liberty and am a bit less cautious about spoilers in the review as a result. I accept it’s possible that Clockwork Dog may try the same thing again sometime in the future, in which case I guess I’ll cut it back or deal with the consequences, but I think they’re planning something different.

I read about this room’s short tenure over on The Logic Escapes Me in early June. With an escape planned with Team Nintendo and no room booked, I proposed this location to the group but got overruled in favour of Professor Oxford’s Experiment by nintendomad. Still had a good feeling about Clockwork Dog and therefore I polled Facebook for interest. With positives from reb and linkaneo who would be playing their third game, this became a Team Judge outing.
Continue reading “Clockwork Dog – Langstroth’s Last Riddle”

Escape Salisbury – Murder at the Museum

Summary
If you’re in Salisbury, you should have played this already. If not, you should book and go there. Quite soon. This room has just about all the things that make an escape room fun, none of the annoying things that wind players up, and it’s a well thought-out room which receives our Generally Awesome award.

Review
Salisbury is the smallest city in the UK, and many visitors come to visit a certain church and piece of paper. Not so for us: Emmy and Nintendomad joined me on this Team Ninty outing to visit temporary South Wiltshire resident Hipsterdashie and take on the challenge at Escape Salisbury.

This room is rather like your typical murder mystery but with additional twists in terms of collecting certain items, on your way through a set of challenges set by the “Wessex Police”, from whom a briefing document accompanied our email confirmation. We were met in character by our host who was very much up to speed with everything and gave us enough explanation of the room and process, and no more. The customary explanation of how to identify items not to be touched (police tape!) aside, it was time to begin.
Continue reading “Escape Salisbury – Murder at the Museum”

Omescape – The Penitentiary

Summary
A Generally Awesome award winner, The Penitentiary is a challenging game that you need to bring your A-game for. Technically excellent, well-themed, and a genuinely difficult one to get through. New to escape games? ClueQuest is up the road…

Review
Having knocked out Escape Plan a couple of weeks ago, Team Amaze was looking for a step up, and Omescape looked like just the ticket. With two sites in California and a shoal across China, this new arrival to the UK had plonked down a stone’s throw from ClueQuest and has brought across two of its popular scenarios as well as adding a third.

Arriving in good time, some wood puzzles were available to play about with at reception. With black walls and simple theming, we were put in the mood for the game pretty quickly.
Continue reading “Omescape – The Penitentiary”

clueQuest – Revenge of the Sheep

Summary
A challenging room that’s not for newbies, builds on the previous two rooms in terms of story and style. The goal is in the style of a specific task rather than simply escaping. Style and build quality top notch. The inaugural winner of the London Escapists “Generally Awesome” award.

Review
Some rooms have got one or two unique puzzles or features that make you go “Wow”. Revenge of the Sheep doesn’t. It is one constant wow from start to finish. Right away when entering the room one of the earliest puzzles is so amazingly intelligent and precisely designed that I don’t know how someone conceived of it. This theme continues throughout, with beautiful design style, tricky but eminently solvable puzzles, plenty for everyone to do and little linearity, a great story, and even a couple of puzzle answers that were in-jokes.

Team Amaze returned for its second and my third visit to clueQuest. We had three rooms booked, one of Revenge of the Sheep and two of Plan52, with the returning players primarily on the former. Our four-person team was pretty early for our slot — the start time for Plan52 being 20 minutes earlier, but we all travelled and arrived together – but this didn’t cause any issues and we were able to get going promptly. And so it was that Mig, Vicky, Agent P and I got ready to prevent the Revenge of the Sheep.
Continue reading “clueQuest – Revenge of the Sheep”