So…early on the next morning after we had been to Clue HQ, Adam jumped on Facebook to alert the team after noticing that Escape Quest in Macclesfield had a slot open that same day for 6.30pm. Arrangements were quickly made, albeit once again without Leese unfortunately and Julie still not feeling 100%, and the three of us met in a very wet Macclesfield at 6pm ready and raring to go.
Just one minor problem, we couldn’t find it.
This was through no fault of Escape Quest though. We’d managed to park outside the building they are housed in, and somehow miss the massive sign on the door…and instead walked around the back, the side, and everywhere else whilst getting absolutely drenched. Eventually Adam managed to find the front door and in we trooped, shivering and soaked. Thankfully Escape Quest have a room for players to store valuables/handbags/coats in, and you get to keep the key whilst you play so you can be assured that the room is secured. This came in very handy as we didn’t have to worry about wet coats getting in the way! We thought this was a great innovation and would be an excellent addition to any escape room!
Escape Quest only have one room available at the point of writing, which they called “Curious Encounters”, the narrative being that you have travelled back to 1873 in a mysterious Professor’s time machine in order to explore “Mr Copplestone’s Curiosity Shoppe”, so it was this room that we played. We’d heard good things about this room from the Clue HQ guys and the Breakout guys – just going to show that really in this area of entertainment, all the competing companies will recommend each other! As it happened, the team from Breakout Manchester held the record for this room, and only 2 teams had escaped, so we were expecting a tough time.
We had a nice chat with our host, Elaine, who explained the room and the H&S details before we were taken to the room (after we’d warmed up a bit and dried off!). Before we could enter the room though we had to undergo a unique briefing…we’ll leave it there to leave some mystery! There is also an addition with this game. You can get out of the room, but not complete the game! There is an additional task to be undertaken which is required to fully complete it! Once the briefing was complete in we went and the clock started ticking!
We were obviously expecting a circa 1870s room, and we did get that…eventually. The lead up to the main room was completely different to anything we’ve seen before or since. The puzzles in the first room were every bit as unique as Clue HQ’s were, and actually made us use our brains rather than moving from puzzle to puzzle. Just by doing a number of very small things, Escape Quest definitely raised the bar to a height pretty much attained by Clue HQ as well in terms of style, look and feel of the room. And then, we entered the main room…
Without giving spoilers, the room is laid out beautifully. Escape Quest have used genuine antiques in the room which really helped us get completely immersed in the story. This actually caused an issue for us, as in previous blogs, we have noted that we tend to “destroy” rooms, with puzzles and props ending up everywhere whilst we play, so naturally we were a little nervous. The last thing we wanted was to break anything valuable!!
In the “main” room, there is at one point a decision to be made. We obviously can’t say what this decision is about, but we had to hammer it through between us for quite a while!! It is a decision which directly impacts the game and the gameplay, and will cause consternation between team members ( it did to us for approx 10 mins).
Now, we had absolutely flown through the rooms, and with nearly 20 mins left we had the last lock off the final door… BUT we hadn’t finished. We still had the task to complete. We started absolutely checking and re-checking everything and everywhere until we finally found what we were looking for, and opened the door…..
In a RECORD time (which we still hold today, albeit jointly but by a bigger team) of 49 minutes 10 seconds!
Obviously we were a tiny bit ecstatic, with Julie coining our new team motto of #BeatTheExperts as she managed to start a bit of a friendly rivalry with the Breakout guys…who immediately promised to send a second team in to try and beat our time. (They escaped, but they didn’t beat our time)
Overall, the experience was brilliant. The story is a good story and the team at Escape Quest have managed to create a genuinely unique room ( which is a difficult task in itself), and the use of antiquities really adds to the feel of the room. They have some ingenius puzzles that we hadn’t seen before and the “side mission” will genuinely make you smile, especially if you are a fan of what these escape games are actually based upon… but for the specifics, you’ll have to go and play yourself and find out!!
A big thanks goes to Elaine and Mike at Escape Quest, for being fantastic hosts, having a lovely long chat afterwards, and for all the pics they have provided us to add to the blog!