Escape Plan Ltd – The Battle for Britain

Summary
Launch the Battle of Britain by mobilising the RAF from a secret air base and make sure you save yourselves.

Review
Team Amaze made the trip back to Elephant & Castle, where we had previously been for “The Adventure Begins” (now moved to a new venue in Shoreditch). The chilliness of the evening evaporated inside – if anyone has ever found an escape room too cold, please send us a postcard.

The genial Brendan welcomed us and offered to explain the game at hand. Our members not having arrived all together, we were instead offered some 1940s postcard puzzles (of the “spot the internal inconsistency” type) to try out whilst we waited.

Once everyone was in place, we had the briefing and were underway. I very much liked the setting and how they had striven to obtain (or at least make) props that were appropriate to the period.

The room is very non-linear and whilst finding one’s way out at the other end is an important feature, the actual goal is to gain entry into the RAF bunker and then determine which planes to send where. The first aspect we achieved without major incident, and it was then back to splitting everyone around the room whilst we dealt with a huge range of cues and clues.

The puzzles varied in construction, style, and difficulty without ever becoming insurmountable or boring.

Without getting too trivial, this really was a case of getting on with it. Things went too smoothly for me to call out any area where we felt stuck, and managing a team of 6 was not complicated enough to interfere.

Hints came by way of prerecorded audio and were timely without being giveaways.

One puzzle was counter-intuitive enough to admit several solutions, and when we fed this back to Brendan he immediately agreed, mentioned a couple of teams had said the same, and undertook to change it.

Outcome
We got the maximum possible score of 71 in 58 minutes. We did spend about the last 5 minutes checking and rechecking that we’d done everything right before launching.

In numbers
Overall: 9/10
Difficulty: 5/10
Theming: 8/10
Host: 10/10
Wow: 8/10

Escape Plan has done it again with a very solid game. They’ve steered away from padlocks and towards a range of ingenious mechanical, electronic, and other tricksy puzzles whilst staying very much on theme. Best of all, the scoring system means that there’s plenty to do for teams who have the skills and/or the numbers to do more, whilst you can still get a reasonable result even if you’re starting out or having a bad day.

The little touches such as the contemporary puzzles to play whilst waiting, the finale, and the painstaking avoidance of anachronisms in the room make it clear that they attend to every detail.

We also had an email from the owner beforehand asking us if we were sure we wanted to bring a team of 7 (we ended up with 6) – he knew me from the booking address – and I was able to confirm that most of the players were new and it would be fine.

Other details
Accessibility: Stairs to main room, narrow corridor and confined briefing area. Toilets in a separate building entrance.

Alerts: None

Capacity: The one room takes 2-7 players. I can imagine two experienced enthusiasts doing well (though see below about price), and the non-linearity makes a larger team feasible too.

Cost: There’s a flat rate regardless of the number of players, which is £89 on weekdays and £120 on weekends, except that teams of 2 pay £65 weekdays and £89 weekends. American Express is accepted.

Photo: Taken with a DSLR and emailed promptly. Dress-up gear available.

Getting there: The room is a short walk from Kennington (Northern) and Elephant & Castle (Northern, Bakerloo, and National Rail) stations. It is in a quaint little gated-off business park type of affair; gates are often closed in the evening but you can ring the number on your booking confirmation and they will come down and get you.

Website: https://escapeplanltd.com/

Scrap – Defenders of the Triforce

Summary
The Legend of Zelda themed Escape Room? It’s not like the usual Escape Room we’ve all come to know and love.  Be prepared for what happens when an Escape Room and a Pub Quiz have a baby…

Review
It’s easy enough to sell themed events to Zelda and or Nintendo fans.  They are more than willing to support the brand no matter what shape the product takes.  Special Edition item?  They’ll buy it. Limited run concert?  It’ll sell out.  Is this another way to make easy money from the fans?  Well Yes and No.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Clue Adventures – Book of Secrets

Summary
Chock-full of puzzles, a room where if it isn’t nailed down (and maybe if it is) it’s a clue. Great build, wonderful host, and originality of theme. Just a little over-stuffed.

Review
This venue had been quite a while coming, and it seemed like months ago that I signed up to a mailing list which promised a reduction in price when they opened. The email jogged the memory and I put it onto Team Amaze’s list.

As the story goes, a legendary magician’s apartment in London is being demolished in an hour, and you are tasked with extracting his legendary book of secrets from the apartment before it was demolished.
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Escape London – Casino

Summary
A twist on the normal “you need to get out” model, this game has an extra way to separate the best teams. Challenging game with a great many padlocks. Extremely friendly and attentive staff.

Review
Off to West London this time and after a very filling Five Guys (is there any other kind?) in Westfield White City, Team Judge (reb, linkaneo, emmy and myself) were excited to visit new-to-the-market Escape London. We took up their 50% off discount for booking before they opened (it’d have been rude not to) and this was the first of three rooms to play.

We were very warmly welcomed on arrival and after a few rather Spartan experiences at other venues it was nice to see jugs of water and the like on reception. Paperwork signed and all other formalities dealt with, it was time to get going.

The goal in this room is to escape, but also to “get rich” by filling a chip case with as many casino chips as possible.
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