Seven Sins by Elusion – Southampton

This time we went head to head. Hens vs stags, albeit 3 weeks apart. It was tough going first and not being able to talk about the room for that amount of time!

The room itself was dark and sinister with a gruesome setting that didn’t leave much to the imagination! The task is to work your way through the 7 sins whilst collecting items needed to escape. Clues can only be asked for as a trade.

The theming, clues and concepts are all brilliant and this turned out to be one of the best rooms we had completed in a while. It was very well thought out, worked seemlessly and gave us that rush of adrenaline that we had missed over lockdown. Better still, many of the hens and stags who had not completed escape rooms before, were inspired to do more.

To the girls annoyance, the boys smashed it in 42 minutes (compared to the girls’ 57 minutes) although both times are quite impressive with only a 30% success rate overall. Highly recommended!

Escape room number: #48
Completed: July 2021
Team: 5 adults/ 6 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 57 mins/ 42 mins

Overall rating: 9/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 5/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Success rate: 30%

From Beyond by Elusion – Southampton

Having completed Cursed Waters we rushed back the next day to have a go at From Beyond.

There were some great clues and some that we needed help with to connect the dots. Whilst not as seemless at their other rooms, it does work on a brilliant concept which would excite fans of Sranger Things.

We managed to escape the room by skipping a couple of clues and working out missing combinations in other ways. Despite this, we still really enjoyed the room and would recommend Elusion as a fantastic company in Southampton.

Escape room number: #47
Completed: June 2021
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 45 minutes

Overall rating: 7/10
Puzzle quality: 3/5
Puzzle range: 3/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 3/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins

Cursed Waters by Elusion – Southampton

A very fun room by Elusion Escape Rooms in Southampton. Set in the subterranean caverns, you are tasked with followong in the footsteps of an old friend who has been missing for a long time.

The set up is very imaginative and the clues were largely very logical and to follow. There are some some great effects and surprises as you move through the room and the final task leaves you with a difficult decision to make.

There are a great range of puzzle types with some physical, some ciphers and codes and some logic needed! We did need a clue or two so we enjoyed the level of challenge it provided. We managed to get out in 49 minutes and definitely left with that escape room buzz!

Escape room number: #46
Completed: June 2021
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 49 mins

Overall rating: 8/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 3-8

Hexmore School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Houdini’s – Southampton

Finally, we have made it back to the world of escape rooms after lockdown struck again and we really missed them this time.

When we found out that Houdini’s had created a new room, we knew we had to have a go ASAP as we have done all of the others and loved them.

This room is Houdini’s answer to a Harry Potter style room and the set up does not disappoint. Split into two classes – Potions Class and Spell Casting – you have to work your way through clues to earn your place in the Hexmore School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You are greeted by a house prefect who takes you through the school rules and then you make your way to the impressive entrance of the great school which sets the scene fantastically. You then go down the enchanted corridors and enter the first class. Without giving too much away, the spell casting room in particular has some fun surprises. Overall they use some excellent decor, props, technology and effects to make the experience really immersive.

As Houdini’s rooms go, this is one of their easiest but that makes it perfect for a family activity that children as well as adults can enjoy.

Escape room number: #45
Completed: June 2021
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 35 mins

Overall rating: 7.5/10
Puzzle quality: 3/5
Puzzle range: 3.5/5
Storyline: 4.5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 2/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-8

Best time: 35 mins (team of 2); 15 mins (team Of 8)

Jacobe Castle online escape room by Castle Crusaders

We were beyond excited to be invited to try out Jacobe Castle by Castle Crusaders – and we must say, we loved every minute!

As fans of Crystal Maze, we throughly enjoyed working our way through a range of puzzles split into four distinct sections. There was something for every member of our team from memory and intellectual puzzles to more physical tasks. With a total of 16 challenges, we loved taking it in turns to earn a letter for our team’s final puzzle and it definitely pushed us out of our comfort zones in a fun and entertaining way.

To add an extra bit of humour and atmosphere to the evening, Jackson Jacobe was a brilliant host and kept us engaged and laughing the whole evening!

Without a doubt, this is the most fun we have had doing any kind of online adventure or escape game. We can’t recommend it highly enough and will be looking to complete their second experience, Cardeby Keep, as soon as we can!

Players: 2-6 recommended. We had a team of 4 which was perfect for 1 game each per section.

Monday-Thursday:       

£40 1-4 players

£70 (5-8 Players)

Friday-Sunday:

£55 (1-4players)

£80 (5-8 players)

https://www.castlecrusaders.com/

M.A.R.V.O Archives Online Escape Room Adventure Series – phase 1 and 2

Lockdown #3 has seen us missing the thrill of escape rooms again. It was an obvious choice for us to have a go at M.A.R.V.O’s online offering.

With 3 in our team, we were tasked with putting our technical, practical and problem solving skills to the test. Although we got off to a quick start, there were plenty of challenges ahead. We were excited to recognise some familiar locations from the Marvo Mysteries escape room in Bournemouth that we know and love.

Having finished phase one, we were keen to get straight on with phase 2 of the operation and completed both in approximately 1 hour and 20 mins.

We were really amazed by the impressive interface, fantastic graphics and seamless interaction. A definite recommendation for a fun night in with friends (whether that be in person or virtually).

Phase 1: Uplink (approx 45-60 minutes)
Phase 2: Security Breach (approx 45-90 minutes)

Players: recommended up to 6 players (but unlimited)
Difficulty: medium
Price: £15 per phase or £25 for both (per game, not player)

Link below

Online Escape Room

Timelock by Locked in a Room – Southampton

Escape room number: #44
Completed: October 2020
Team: 4 adults, 1 child
Escaped?: yes
Time: approx 48 minutes (from memory)

Overall rating: 7/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 3/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-6 (we’d recommend 2-3)
Success rate: high

Difficulty: 🔐🔐🔐

We loved Locked In A Room from the moment we walked in. As we entered, we were met by the lovely and energetic gamemasters who were so welcoming and full of enthusiasm.

As slightly crazed scientists, we had to work our way through clues to discover Professor Pottenger’s secret and escape the room in 60 minutes.

The Locked In A Room games are all linear which makes them really logical and avoids any confusion. This does mean that the room is slightly easier and that all participants can only work on one clue at a time. We found that as a team of 4, some of us were hanging around a bit whilst the others worked on a puzzle. For this reason, it would be enjoyed best by smaller teams of 2 or 3.

The room itself is intriguing with a traditional study feel crossed with the eccentric scientific world of Prof. Pottenger. There is a good range of puzzle styles with some cypher, some hunting, some practical and some logic. We did find, however, that it was slightly repetitive in that for each one solved, you would be given the next clue on a laminated piece of paper.

Locked In A Room offer 2 different rooms – Timelock and Parallax. However, they have 4 rooms of each meaning that there is the opportunity to go head to head with other teams. A great idea!

We escaped in 40-something minutes which reflects the moderate level of difficulty. We had a child as part of our team so went at quite a slow but steady pace so it can be done in a much quicker time.

Overall, a great room and we will definitely be returning to have a go at Parallax very soon!

Escape From Dead Town by Professor Puzzle

The latest home escape game range we wanted to give a try was Professor Puzzle’s.

With a set up of four separate enveloped clues to solve, we set to work. A couple of the puzzles we thoroughly enjoyed and loved applying some logic and skill. The others we found a bit basic or almost an afterthought. One basically involved doing some algebra and using trial and error. As much as we don’t mind a bit of maths, we decided that we didn’t want to spend half an hour of our free afternoon doing it so looked up the solution to that one! The four clues then come together at the end to help you find the final solution – where the safe zone is located away from the zombies.

This was a slightly cheaper option compared to others on the market but it really did show. The puzzle range, quality and enjoyment were not quite in the same league as Unlock, Exit Games and Trapped have to offer.

Game information:
Players: 1-4
Age: 12 +
Length: 45mins
Approximate Price: £8

Our ratings:
Overall: 4/10
Difficulty: 5/10
Puzzle range: 4/10
Logic and flow: 5/10

The Betrayal of Cluetankhamun by Clue HQ – Bournemouth

Escape room number: #43
Completed: October 2020
Team: 2 adults, 2 teens
Escaped?: yes
Time: 55m 43 secs (4m 17secs left)

Overall rating: 6/10
Puzzle quality: 3/5
Puzzle range: 3/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 3/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-6
Success rate: approx 40-50%

We had been waiting for Clue HQ to bring their Cluetankhamun room to Bournemouth for so long after loving their Bunker 38 and Cell Block C rooms. It opened last weekend so we went at our earliest opportunity!

Walking into the room, the aesthetics and props were really impressive. The hieroglyphics, chests and lights created a wonderful, intriguing setting and we were eager to get to work.

We were tasked with venturing into the tomb after an earlier group of explorers had gone missing and finding the valuable crystal but of course, with many obstacles in the way.

As always, we don’t want to give away too many spoilers for anyone wishing to have a go at this room. The set up and immersion is excellent whilst a handy screen lets you know how much time is left and conveys any clues that are needed. Most of the puzzles simply require the use of logic rather than guess work which is always refreshing in an escape room.

There is also a lot to do in the time, especially compared to their other rooms, which made us feel we got good value for money. This, however, also makes it much more difficult to complete in the time given. We managed it with just over 4 minutes remaining and were told that very few groups had completed it since opening.

Whilst there are some puzzles that are a little different, the vast majority are finding 3, 4 or 5 digit codes which had to be entered into padlocks. Altogether, we counted over 20 padlocks – unfortunately, this was slight overkill! There were so many chests and boxes to be opened that they just kept getting in the way and it got quite repetitive.

Overall, we still enjoyed this room and it scratched our escape room itch for the day. Is it our favourite from Clue HQ? Theming – yes; actual game play – definitely not. It was still a fun way to spend an hour and we are glad we gave it a go.

Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures – Brighton

Escape room number: #42
Completed: October 2020
Team: 4 adults
Stars: 12

Overall rating: 8/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty (time limit aside): 3/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 3-12
Best stars (group of 4): 20
Worst stars (group of 4): 3

What a mixture of awe and fun! Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is a cross between an escape room, Crystal Maze and a walk through adventure experience.

From the moment you enter the building, you are greeted by Queen Victoria as she takes you through the story and all important safety rules.

Once the experience begins, you are met by Phileas Fogg himself. With his guidance, you go through room after room, each a different stop on his world adventure tour. Our Mr Fogg was a fantastic actor with a huge presence and a great sense of humour.

The rooms themselves are INCREDIBLE! They are totally immersive and the theming has been created with attention paid to every minor detail. Each location is filled with amazing sets, props, sights, sounds and smells.

Along the way, you are given challenges of varying degrees of difficulty with the opportunity to win stars and make it onto the leaderboard. Most of these are fairly straightforward in themselves but the short time limits make it a tricky race against the clock. Some are simply puzzles to piece together; many are mechanical puzzles and sequences to input; and some are purely down to skill and teamwork. We did thoroughly enjoy them.

So what could have made the experience better for us in order to award it a 10/10? Unfortunately, we felt really rushed the whole way through. It was clear that each room has many different puzzles to explore and we only got the chance to experience a fraction of them. We barely had the chance to take in the amazing scenery and appreciate the room before being whisked off to the next.

Secondly, we felt the instructions we were given were not always clear or we were told important information too late into the time limit. An example of this is that in the first room, we thought we simply had 5 minutes to complete the task we were shown so took our time . It turned out that there was a second challenge which we very nearly completed but ran out of time. If we had known, we would’ve worked much more quickly on the first task and would have been successful on the second.

When we asked at the beginning, we were told there was a possible 35 stars but we were definitely only given the opportunity to collect about 20 ish of them so we are not really sure what we could have done differently to be in with a chance of the rest. Were there 3 challenges in some rooms? More? Were some challenges worth more stars than the ones offered to us? It wasn’t really explained.

Overall, we still loved this experience. It really does have the potential to be a solid 10/10 with just a few tweaks and a bit of extra time in each room.