Locked in Games – Leeds – 2 VERY challenging and fun rooms

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The third venue for the fourth and fifth games of the epic day was to be Locked in Games in Leeds, which required a scoot up the motorway. Locked in had also allowed us to alter the times of our games, which we are truly grateful for ( especially as we ended up changing twice due to a booking error by me in the first place!!).

classroom of doom

Whilst the majority of escape rooms tend to be about an actual escape story, ie, solve a crime, break out of a prison etc, we knew that with Locked in, this was going to be slightly different, given that the names of the 2 rooms are the Classroom of Doom and Nursery Nightmares.

Before talking about the rooms I will mention this. Locked in were the first rooms, at that point, where the background music truly added to the experience. Others, such as the Escape Room in Manchester, use very good sound effects, but this was a little different, and in particular in the Nursery Nightmares room, was pretty haunting, and worked very well.

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As seems to be the case with the majority of the escape rooms, the host was absolutely superb with us, especially between rooms, as we needed to basically think about anything else but escape rooms              ( definitely a new experience, escape room fatigue!!), and I do think we received a little bit of sympathy assistance in the second room we played.

Both the Classroom of Doom and Nursery Nightmares were set up absolutely perfectly. If you can imagine a 70s/80s style primary school room, that’s the Classroom of Doom, small desks, a HUGE desk for the teacher and all the appropriate features. The task in the Classroom of Doom seems a simple one, you’ve been accused of something in the classroom, and it’s your job to prove it wasn’t you, as well as who it actually was. ( Any more info given than that will start to give the game away, so it’s all you’re getting!!) As well as all the usual styles of puzzles that are associated with escape games ( in this case based on schooling as expected), Locked in also apply completely different aspects as well which, if you don’t get them right, are down right frustrating! It’s the one place where checking and re-checking everything comes to the fore.

nursery nightmares

Nursery Nightmares has a similar, although obviously different storyline, and as with the wonderful Escape Quest, we were kind of scared to touch and move some of the great items in the room for fear of breaking them! This is the type of room we actually find tougher to play, on the surface, there seems to be very little to do, where in reality, we just needed to pay much more attention to the room and the features in it. However, as you can imagine, our brains were totally gone by this stage, but somehow we struggled through it all.

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The actual endings to both games, if successful, are very skillfully put together, and definitely adds to the occasion and the sense of achievement when finishing, and it’s the little touches like this that stand out when comparing to others!!

Many thanks to Locked in for having us, ( apologies for taking so long to review!), and just to mention, we did manage to get out of both rooms, escaping with about 10 minutes remaining in both rooms.

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Crack the Code Sheffield – cracked, smashed, destroyed and beaten

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Way back in April, Crack the Code in Sheffield was to be the third game of our epic day. Before we started, Crack the Code were already amazing to us, moving the time of our game to accommodate our attempts, and did so without any fuss, and extremely quickly ( luckily the time slot we wanted was available!!)

Crack the Code is set up on a main Sheffield street, surrounded by offices, and have used this well to ensure their storyline, based during the Cold War, reflects the location. The storyline, as shown on the website is:

The year is 1973 and the cold war is in full flow, Soviet agent “Hudya Nickafilov” has intercepted a dossier containing the names of CIA operatives working behind the Iron curtain. Fortunately Nickafilov has nipped out for his usual lunch of Vodka and potatoes and won’t be back for an hour… Your teams’ mission, should you decide to accept it, is to enter the Russians office and decipher the clues to find the hidden file and save the American dream of “Liberty, Freedom and a McDonalds on every street corner”

crack the code 3

Crack the Code had the usual good assortment of puzzles, and they all tie nicely in with each other, with some clues for puzzles much later in the game as well as others keeping the game flowing along. There were some very unique hints that we’ve not seen elsewhere, and with all escape rooms being, in effect multiple rooms, there was a very novel way of progressing through the room. It’s also one of very few rooms to use lighting effects, and they are put to good use. The use of an objective, as well as escape, adds to the game play.

We progressed very rapidly through the rooms, and seemed to be making decent time, and as they often do with us, clues came together, puzzles were solved very rapidly, and before we knew it, we were out the door with the file with more than 20 minutes to go. This absolutely threw the game host, as he couldn’t understand how we had successfully escaped so quickly!! He took us back into the room, and it very quickly became clear that we’d somehow skipped 2/3 puzzles, but after we’d all gone through it, it was just completely random good luck with a puzzle answer that isn’t random ( obviously), but we’d got the answer right. However, by doing that, we’d managed to miss what is surely the most “fun” puzzle we’ve ever laid eyes on!! We played it anyway!!

Game 3 of the day was the only record we broke, so it obviously takes us a while to dial in to getting our speed up, and as far as I’m aware, the time has since been beaten just the once since then.

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As a last addition, Crack the Code hold a monthly giveaway on Instagram for a free game, so people may want to pop to that!!

St Helens Arts Service…. did a “temporary” venue work?

After my (Adam’s) success in Las Vegas solo, I noticed that for two weeks, the St Helens Arts Service had a one of a kind escape game running over the summer holidays. Amazingly, it was free to play! Sadly nobody else on the team was available due to work commitments so I headed over there alone to give it a shot. The game was called “St Helens vs the Lizards” and the story was pretty good. You walk through a time portal back into 1984, into the bedroom of a kid called Sam, who believes that there is a conspiracy where Lizards rule the world.

The website describes it as follows: “Sam seems like any other teenager – problems with authority, fed up of school… except there might be something more going on… What if dad isn’t just embarrassing, but is actually much more sinister? What if the teachers at school aren’t only tracking grades, but also texts? There are strange messages in music and on Facebook… patterns in the news, odd occurrences in the town. Something is going on, but no one else can see it. From now on, nobody can be trusted – they could all be lizards! Sam has been busy in the library, researching the local history, making connections between the books people read and the bizarre goings on. Sam’s even built a research lair in the heart of the library – a makeshift hut of bookshelves and surveillance, hidden in plain sight. From there, the puzzles will be solved, the conspiracies revealed and the lizards unmasked.”
 
The room is actually in the middle of St Helens Library, and there are a few warnings to be careful of the walls as a lot of pressure could see them being damaged. After the usual safety blurb my host explained the story and led me into the room.
The first thing that hit me was how realistic the room was. There were no signs of anything that hadn’t been invented after 1984 and it was exactly what you would expect for a kid’s room in that time period. Needless to say I was a bit wary of destroying anything and got off to a start. I got stuck pretty early on because I made an “error”…where the same code opened two locks. Normally it is one code = one lock but it did make sense when the host explained why afterwards.
The room is a bit linear but there two puzzles in particular which wouldn’t look out of place in The Escape Room, never mind in a free game in the middle of St Helens! They also have the most unique way of giving you a hint I have ever seen, which definitely adds to the atmosphere! There are a couple of negatives, only small ones…but if the library is busy you can hear the outside noise which can be slightly annoying at times. Thankfully I was booked for the last slot of the day so it was quite quiet but in the middle of the day I assume it could be different. Sadly I can’t go through the other negative here without giving a major part of the room away unfortunately, but it has been discussed.
As they have opened up some extra slots (at time of writing) I’m not going to give much away but if you can get one of the last few slots then do so. It’s not the hardest room in the world to do but it is a good room, certainly better than some efforts by the “professionals” and well worth a visit. Hopefully they will come to some sort of deal with the company that put it together (which I discovered afterwards had help from our friends at Exit Strategy, which I should have realised before after comparing the rooms) and be able to use it to make some money!
No pictures with this one, as I’ve misplaced them somewhere, but will add them when I find wherever I’ve hidden them!