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.

Escape the Vault – Brighton

We were chuffed to be invited to play Escape the Vault in Brighton so jumped at the chance to give it a go.

This intriguing escape room is hidden inside an old bank vault in Brighton and players are tasked with breaking into it and stealing the codes for the account of world renowned arms dealer, Charles Fawkley.

This is a solid, back to basics classic escape room, filled with hidden codes, safes and padlocks. What makes it different from most escape rooms is that it is one of only 4 unmanned escape rooms in the UK. Don’t worry though – you have your man on the outside, Terrance the getaway driver, on hand to assist if needed. All you need to do is send a quick message for a hint or a hack and you’re helped on your way.

The escape room itself is a shorter 40 minute experience (which is reflected in the price) and has about a 70% success rate. We didn’t find it particularly difficult but it flowed extremely well and logic could be applied throughout. This makes it a great room for beginners or for anyone who wants an affordable and enjoyable activity on a free afternoon.

The room is found inside an amazing, quirky café – Presuming Ed’s Coffee House – which completely adds to the experience. It is decked out with interesting posters, art, installations and furniture which captures your imagination from the moment you set foot inside. Whilst there, we enjoyed the most delicious toasted baguettes and drinks – highly recommended.

As well as all this, they also have arcade games, art for sale and even a VR room upstairs which we enjoyed having a go at! They are also in the process of creating their new room – Escape the Cell – which should be ready very soon. Without giving too much away, it continues the story with what has happened after the vault robbery. We were lucky enough to have a sneak peak!

Overall, we had a great afternoon experiencing all that Presuming Ed’s has to offer. If you are ever in the Brighton area, be sure to visit! Book now at https://escapethevault.co.uk/

Escape room number: #40
Completed: August 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 18 mins 50 secs

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 40 mins
Players: 1-4
Success rate: 70%
Best time: 7 minutes

Cost: £12.50 each (with £1 of each sale going to charity!)

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.

Houdini’s Secret Room – Printable Escape Room Kit

Another first for us in the ever-growing escape game market – a printable escape room kit.

This brilliantly designed escape game, which is aimed at children aged 10+, impressed us from the off. The easily downloadable pdf files showed incredible graphic design with vivid colours and mysterious-looking documents. Unsurprisingly, we couldn’t wait to print and get going.

Using the handy set up guide and game master’s how to play guide, one of us set to work on organising the resources and sorting them into the three challenges. The guides themselves are colourful, detailed and very easy to follow.

It is very simple and can be set up anywhere – all you need is a printer, scissors, glue and a stapler.

We did find that a lot of ink was required and used about 1 and a half ink cartridges to print it all. However, some of the pages we printed at A5 size. We also decided to laminate those which don’t need to be cut up during the game so that we can reuse them (it is worth checking the “How to Play” guide for which sheets need to be full size for the puzzles to work). Overall, spending on the ink is worth it to give justice to the high-quality graphic design.

The game itself involves working your way out of Houdini’s museum after being trapped inside. The mission is to find the hidden key by solving a series of clues. Along the way, there are characters to help you with specific clues or to give you hints and extra time should it be needed. With an hour on the clock, would we escape?

As escape room enthusiasts and primary school teachers, working with the target age group on a daily basis, we were interested to see how the game had been pitched. The whole challenge took us about 25 minutes but bearing in mind this is aimed at children, it provided a decent level of challenge. We can easily imagine our year 6 (UK – age 10-11) classes grouping together to come up with theories and ideas for how to solve each of the clues. We would love to try this out with them in the future.

Considering all of the components were printed, there was a large variety in the type of clues – some logic, some riddles, some physical and some skill.

Overall, we would recommend this printable escape room kit for older children and think many of the accompanying adults will love it too. It is a fun way to spend an hour and the quality of the artwork is outstanding.

Recommended teams: 2-6 players (additional copies can be printed for larger groups)

Age: 10+

Price: $29

Visit https://houdinisecretroom.com/ for more information and to purchase.

Mayan by Other World Escapes – Southampton

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

We enjoyed this escape room. The set and puzzles were well designed and brought the Mayan theme to life. The story was clear and hints were only given when we asked for them. The best quality of this room is that it incorporates clues that use all of the senses. A very enjoyable room that was suitable for our team which included two teens.

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

Escape room number: #35
Completed: March 2020
Team: 2 adults, 2 teens
Escaped?: yes
Time: 43 mins 13 secs

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

The Magician by The MacGuffin Project – Bournemouth

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

Another really enjoyable room by MacGuffin. As with their other rooms, they create a fantastic atmosphere with their setting. The puzzles followed a clear logical sequence and there were a nxjd range. The quality of the puzzles varied – some were well made but others were on the cheaper side. We did enjoy this room but preferred the other ones Macguffin have to offer.

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-6

Escape room number: #33
Completed: February 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 37mins 48secs

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)

Escape from Titanic by Houdini’s – Southamoton

Overall rating: 7.5/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Another great escape room by Houdini’s. This was a very immersive escape room with different parts of the Titanic ship forming the setting. The story was used well and gave a sense of urgency. The puzzles were good and well planned but none of them particularly stood out as clever or unique. Overall, not our favourite from Houdini’s, but a good one nonetheless.

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 90 mins
Players: 4-7
Success rate: 38%

Escape room number: #31
Completed: January 2020
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 1h 9m

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