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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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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Escape Rooms Angel – The Dark Side of the Moon

Summary
One of London’s newest rooms, sadly disappointed us with the theme and with a mechanical breakdown that terminated our game part way through. I suspect they’ll get over the teething problems in due course, but few of the puzzles made sense much less indicated what to do, and this isn’t saved by the amazing technology, set design, and build.

Review
At an enthusiasts’ meetup a few months ago, The Logic Escapes Me and I were discussing the relative merits of attending and playing rooms early in the run. I like the idea of getting in early to deliver a review which will help others decide whether they’d like to play or not. The opposing viewpoint is that you could get caught up in teething issues or untested rooms. And sadly, that was what happened to us this time around.
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