Room rankings – As of end Feb 2016

I’ve been asked ( well, pestered), by Ken of the excellent escape game review blog the Logic Escapes Me for a few months now, to present my ranking list of escape room games. I’ve done this list as a strictly personal list,  based on several things. It’s not based on the thoughts of the whole team of us ( that will be done another time)The quality of the room as a whole, the flow of the game, the storyline,the quality  and relevance of the puzzles, the game hosts, but to me, the most important part, the enjoyment and fun that I had.

Some of the games I’ve played have been reduced in price/free for varying reasons, and this bears absolutely no impact in the list. I’ve also not taken into account overall difficulty levels as that’s a different kettle of fish altogether. When I have a bit more free time, I’ll edit the ranking to link to reviews, but for now, I’ll just put the list out there….

  1. Escape Quest Macclesfield – Curious Encounters
  2. Cluefinders Liverpool – Remy’s room
  3. Extremescape Disley – Pirate Ship
  4. Clue HQ Warrington- the Vault
  5. Escape Quest Macclesfield- Bad Clown ( 90 minute)
  6. Clue HQ Warrington – Dungeon of Doom
  7. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted -Indians
  8. Breakout Manchester – Sabotage
  9. Clue HQ Blackpool – Detonation
  10. Breakout Manchester – Madchester
  11. Escape Quest Macclesfield- Amazon Escape
  12. Breakout Liverpool – Wanted – Cowboys
  13. Great Escape Sheffield – Homicide
  14. Clue HQ Blackpool – Quarantined
  15. Crack the Code Sheffield – Cold War Room
  16. Exit Strategy Liverpool – Illuminati
  17. Breakout Manchester – John Monroe
  18. Code2Exit Altrincham – Blueprint
  19. Locked in Games Leeds – Classroom of Doom
  20. Clue HQ Warrington –  Bunker 38
  21. Breakout Manchester – Classified  (only now in Liverpool) – test game
  22. Great Escape Sheffield – Mad Scientist
  23. Gamescape Liverpool – Golden Cage
  24. Escape Room Manchester – Room 13
  25. Locked in Games Leeds – Nursery Nightmares
  26. Tick Tock Unlock Liverpool – Blueprint
  27. Breakout Manchester – Facility
  28. Breakout Liverpool – Shipwrecked
  29. Escape Room Manchester – Slaughterhouse
  30. Breakout Manchester – Virus
  31. Escape Room Manchester – Secret Lab – test game
  32. Tick Tock Unlock Manchester – the Hatch
  33. Breakout Manchester – Infiltrate ( room has been changed since we played)
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3 reviewers, 1 room ( and a bit of a chat)

A few weeks ago, after a quick Twitter conversation, Ken, the main protagonist behind http://thelogicescapesme.com/ was asking for a room ranking of the many North West rooms that I’d played, as he was planning a trip up encompassing  the Preston, Liverpool and  Manchester areas. This quickly expanded into an invite for Mark, the reviewer behind http://www.reallyfun.uk/puzzled-pint-manchester/ as well as myself, with the premise being that as a team of 3, we play a room none of us had before, and then without chatting about it afterwards, write our own reviews. We left the final decision to Ken ( seeing as he was paying up front), and he settled on the new room at Tick Tock Unlock Salford, called the Hatch.

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We met up before hand at the New Oxford pub, just over the road for a quick drink, chat and general conversation about our experiences so far, as well as a generalisation of our favourites and ones to miss. I was fashionably late to this, mainly as I have a foot injury   (awaiting X-ray results). I don’t know about the other 2 guys, but I was pretty nervous going into this. We all have good % escape rates, and was wondering how well we’d work together. In each group of regulars, there tends to be a variety of personalities that assist in being successful, and if we were all the same, how would we cope? Just one of the small things that was on my mind.

We popped over the road to Tick Tock Unlock, fortunately Mark had been before, as late at night, the sign outside is a little tricky to see otherwise. It is set underneath the railway arches just outside Salford Central train station, so the immediate thought is to imagine a cold, dark damp place. The door was answered rapidly, we were ushered inside where we had the usual chat with the game host, and thankfully, it was nice and warm. They also provided somewhere for bags and coats to go, if you didn’t want to take them into the room, which is always a good touch.

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The Hatch sounded an interesting concept. You have an hour to turn off an electromagnetic device that will wipe your memory, so you either manage it, or fail and have no memory of the attempt ( quite a clever idea). Added to that, we were split up at the start which wasn’t expected, with Ken and myself in one room, Mark in the other, with walkie talkies to talk to each other ( we ended up just yelling). The puzzles in the first rooms were definitely designed to get us working as a team, even if Ken and myself completely butchered one of them. We also had answers to puzzles Mark required and vice versa, but we eventually muddled through into the main room.

Even though there was a linear aspect to the room, it seemed to flow pretty well. A lot of the puzzles were definitely different than usual, either in their presentation or in their solution, and we did get a little stuck, we generally received a fairly quick prompt ( maybe a touch too quick sometimes), where we hadn’t properly checked/searched. They also had the MOST difficult puzzle to physically find where we would never have found it without assistance. We did generally fly through each puzzle, with what turned out to be the final puzzle an absolute corker, and if you solve that successfully, you feel like you’ve definitely achieved something and possess the patience of a saint!! We escaped with 17:30 left on the clock, which is the fastest time they’d had so far ( in a relatively new room), and I honestly think we left 10 minutes in there as well. The usual discussions and photograph followed, and it was time to say goodbye, as I had to rush off to catch a train. It was a bloody fun night for certain!!

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The room – the premise is sound, but doesn’t quite follow through from the initial brief. There’s a great opportunity in my eyes to stick a huge machine in the middle of the floor of the main room saying electromagnetic device on it, with several puzzles requiring solving to de-activate it. Saying that however, I did really enjoy how they linked up all 3 of the rooms throughout the game, and culminating in one of the more challenging final puzzles I’ve seen. There’s an about right level of difficulty overall, with some easier and some more challenging, and it’s definitely a fun game to play. That one tweak suggested above, would set it slightly aside to some of the other escape games.

Now to see what the other 2 have written….