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.

Chalice of Champions by Escape Live – Stratford upon Avon

Escape room number: #41
Completed: October 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 47m 42secs (12m 18 left)

Overall rating: 8.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-6
Success rate: approx 30%

Game Difficulty 5/5

Any Harry Potter fans out there would love this magic themed room by Escape Live. With the help of Horace the Magnificent – the magical hat – you have to solve a series of puzzles to break the curse and reveal the chalice.

The room itself is totally immersive with mesmerising artwork, vivid colours and amazing lights. The puzzles are also very varied and exciting with a great mix of padlock codes, physical games, written clues and of course, a little magic. Each one links back to a central puzzle which helps the game move seamlessly and keeps the players on track.

The gamemaster Tom was funny, welcoming and helped to make the experience even better.

We would definitely recommend this room and we are already planning when we can visit some of Escape Live’s other locations.

To book visit https://www.escapelive.co.uk/the-games/

Pavilion Perplex by Pier Pressure – Brighton

Escape room number: #39
Completed: August 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 48 mins 26 secs (2 hints)

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

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-6
Difficulty: 4/5 stars but tougher for groups of 2-3 people
Average time: approx 57 mins (with around 10 hints)

Pier Pressure have been recommended to us by so many escape room owners that we had to give them a try when visiting Brighton.

From the moment we arrived through the door, we could see why. The staff were so welcoming, cheerful and enthusiastic about their games. For anyone concerned, their Covid measures are excellent too!

Having chosen the Pavilion Perplex room, we were greeted by Mildred, a Victorian maid who explained that they desperately needed to find the stolen petition to save the pavilion. Having a gamemaster in full character and costume completely added to the whole experience!

The room itself is amazing! The decor and props magically recreate the Victorian elegance of the royal pavilion and as a player, it is easy to feel totally immersed in the period setting. Like all the best escape rooms, even their hint system is in keeping with the time.

The best thing about this room is that there isn’t a padlock, 4 digit code or keypad in sight! Every single puzzle is appropriate to the time and uses some of the amazing period items that the company have sourced. We absolutely loved every single clue. The puzzles themselves flowed extremely well and could be figured out using logic. Luckily, there were no irritating red herrings to spoil the fun.

Once we had found the hidden petition, we were awarded with some cute pin badges and a card stating our top 3 achievements: Small but Mighty; Solved in under 50 minutes; and Eagle Eyed Searchers. This was another great little added touch!

We definitely left with that indescribable escape room buzz and really cannot wait until we can get back to Brighton to try more of their rooms.

Temple Raider by Houdini’s – Birmingham

Escape room number: #37
Completed: August 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 39 minutes 34 seconds (room record)

Overall rating: 9.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 90 mins
Players: recommended 4-6
Success rate: 29% (difficulty 79/100)
Average time: approx 1 hour
Best time: 39 mins 34 secs

Having absolutely loved all of the other rooms Houdini’s have to offer, we were excited to try the only one left – Temple Raider. We made a trip to Birmingham especially to try out this room and we weren’t disappointed.

We were greeted by a fantastic, friendly gamemaster and were interested to hear the low success rate and how the room had been extended from a 60 minute to a 90 minute time limit because it was one of the most difficult Houdini rooms. Obviously, we were now feeling the pressure!

As soon as we entered the room, we were impressed by the incredible immersive setting, from floor to ceiling. We have found that Houdini’s are one of the best escape companies as far as attention to detail is concerned. We were given the imaginative story of a newly discovered temple and were left to our own devices to solve its hidden mysteries and hopefully appease the ancient gods.

Every single puzzle we faced was exciting and innovative and they only got better as we moved through the rooms. It was also refreshing to complete a room without the standard key or digit padlocks. Instead, their various boxes were locked in ways far more in keeping with the theme.

The room layouts are also brilliant with secret tunnels, areas you need to climb and a scary surprise which speeds up the sense of urgency! The whole thing is everything you would expect from an Indiana Jones film but even better!

Whilst playing the room, the gamemaster was excellent, only giving clues when we asked for them or when he could see we were totally off track. We were otherwise left to figure things out for ourselves. The puzzles flowed seamlessly and were really logical and well designed.

When we had finished, we were chuffed to find out that we had completed the room in 39 minutes and 34 seconds (especially as it is a 90 minute room)! We were then told this was a record!

We are assuming that no one actually completed it in 1 minute 20 seconds – it would’ve taken longer than that to walk through the rooms!

Overall, we actually think this is our new favorite room by Houdini’s and would highly recommend that you have a go if you’re ever in Birmingham.

The Pandora Heist by Elusion – Southampton

Overall rating: 9.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

This was a brilliant room with excellent theming, props and puzzles. It has the perfect mix of historical and modern, using technology to enhance the experience. As well as the aim of escaping within 60 minutes, there is the added challenge of working out which artefacts to steal for the biggest financial gain. We would highly recommend this escape room – it was a lot of fun to complete.

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

Escape room number: #34
Completed: March 2020
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes

Mission to Winchintzy by ClueCapers – Winchester

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

Dream team and a great time for a 75 minute game.

This was a brilliant game. The setting takes you back to a dated house where you move between the different rooms. The range of clues and puzzles were excellent, using more than one of the senses, and some of the clues we had not come across before which was refreshing. It was a good mixture of logic, skill and thinking outside of the box to solve these clues. Even though we had a big team of 6, there was usually enough to keep us all busy. The game flowed well and followed a logical order. We would definitely recommend this game if you are in the Winchester area and we hope to go back to attempt their other rooms.

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 75 mins
Players: 2-6

Escape room number: #32
Completed: February 2020
Team: 6 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 47 mins 49 secs (leaderboard)

Sherlock: The Game is Now – London

Fantastic unfolding keepsake with timings, information and a rating for how your team got on in each section.

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

This is far more than an escape room – this is a full, 100 minute immersive experience. If you are a fan of the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock series and an escape room enthusiast, you will LOVE this! Think the story, set and characters from the show plus an exciting mix of puzzles.

From the minute you arrive, the gamemasters are in character and (without giving too much away) the initial setting is all part of the story. Even this first “reception” room is impressive then you are taken through to 2 more rooms before entering the escape room aspect of the experience. As well as an amazing replica of 221B, other sets for the show are recreated, adding to the overall experience. You are also briefed by the actors/characters from the show which is a fantastic added touch.

The escape room itself is fantastic with a range of sets, themes and clues to solve. It has all be designed and planned extremely well and each part is very different from the previous section.

If all of that wasn’t enough, when you have finished, you get a full debrief from “Stamford” and then get to relax in their very own exclusive pub – The Mind Palace. Even the pub is themed well and immersive! Their cocktails are highly recommended too.

If you want an escape experience whilst in London, this is one not to miss!

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins (100 mins for the whole experience)
Players: 2+

Escape room number: #30
Completed: January 2020
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 53 mins 51secs

The Don by The Panic Room – Gravesend

Overall rating: 9.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

One of our favourite ever escape rooms! The story and theming were fantastic with a great set and high-quality clues and props. The puzzles were innovative, well designed and the whole game had a logical, seamless flow. The method for receiving clues is excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole room. We will definitely be recommending this one!

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-8
Difficulty rating: 3/5

Escape room number: #26
Completed: December 2019
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 34mins 27secs

Cell Block C by Clue HQ – Bournemouth

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

Another great escape room by Clue HQ. The design of the set and game are very good. There is an extra twist at the beginning which I don’t want to spoil but it was enjoyable to solve. The variety of clues also meant we had to work to our strengths for some clues and work as a whole team for others. Another brilliant, highly enjoyable game. And we got the record again too!

Game stats:
Allocated game time:60 mins
Players: 2-6
Best time: 29 mins 48 secs

Escape room number: #24
Completed: December 2019
Team: 2 adults, 2 teens
Escaped?: yes
Time: 29mins 48 secs (record)

Psycho Surgeon Escape by U-escape – Bournemouth

Overall rating: 9.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-5
Success rate: 76%
Difficulty: 4/5

Escape room number: #19
Completed: December 2019
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: fastest time on record

Another amazing room by U-escape. A great range of puzzles in a very immersive room. The puzzles follow a clear, logical sequence. Overall, a brilliant room we would definitely recommend.