Mission: Wavebreak Enigma Quests

Played: January 2020

How we did: 3 person team – 60:15

In a nutshell: Stylish, steady submarine shenanigans with superb hosting

4.4 / 5

Host – 5*

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 5

Stash – Team photo, with prop, emailed after

Having really, really enjoyed their Heist, I was excited to come back to check out Enigma Quests new room. Having bought the tickets during a flash sale to promote their new room, we got these at half price – so it’s worth signing up to their newsletter.

First impressions are really, really solid. From the dude on the door (who was the newest member of the team to join) – to Sean (our host and one of the most senior) the team here are great. So professional. So enthusiastic and just on it. Full marks to the hiring policy and the training policy.

Regular readers of the blog will no doubt be aware that my dad doesn’t like escape rooms. Thankfully, he wasn’t here. My brother was, and he loves escape rooms. 

We started hazily, familiarising ourselves with our new submarine home slowly. It is a well-finished room. Although it never felt like we were on a real submarine (too spacious, too bright, too … new) the puzzles fit the theme well. 

The thing I love most about Escape Rooms is the communication. It’s the essence of a successful escape. And I love that a lot of the puzzles here totally, 100% require it. 

How does this measure up to London’s other Submarine room at nearby Hint Hunt? It’s the better option. A better use of tech, with more of a fun factor – and world class hosting.

That said, as a room I enjoyed the Million Pound Heist more than this one.

Before, during and after the room – Sean took the time to explain things to us with patience, enthusiasm and charm. His debrief left us feeling like we were his old friends, who had just pulled off a world class, highly heroic submarine rescue.

The first room I’ve done where it felt weird not having our host in the photo too. 

The Battle for Britain, Escape Plan

Played: January 2020

How we did: 3 person team – 62/71 aircraft shot down,  59:28

In a nutshell: Hugely satisfying, uniquely British WWII room. My favourite in London so far. 

5 / 5

Host – 5

Puzzleology – 5

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 5

Room Quality – 5

Stash – Team photo, with uniform, emailed after. Also individual cards with times and contact details

Regular readers of this blog will know that my dad doesn’t really like escape rooms. I’d heard really good things about this room from Escape Plan. Golly gosh were those expectations met. This is a really, really excellent escape room – which even my dad enjoyed. Here’s why.

First up. Sara was a top-tier host. She brought professionalism and enthusiasm to the room and the story, keeping to character and knowing when to nudge us the right way with a clue. 

The room is set up in such a way that you’re – at first – a little muddled as to how you’re going to complete the mission. I admire the way the Escape Plan designer purposely allowed this, and it gives a really satisfying ‘click’ at some point during the game. After that, we found full flow. 

And satisfying is the one word to describe this room. It’s a really fun room, built around an excellent grandstand ‘point scoring’ final puzzle. But what is so commendable here is that each of the little puzzles is just in that sweet spot.

On reflection it seemed that there were nicely different types of puzzles to fit the different ways our teams brains worked. (I got dad cracking on a morse code clue which kept him busy)

The use of background music or audio can sometimes miss the mark in rooms. Here it is utilised really well, building and swirling to create an adrenaline rush as you launch your defence of the country. What a way to end a room!

You leave feeling satisfied; you’re brain has had a good workout – and when Sara was explaining the couple of clues we couldn’t crack, we weren’t groaning, as can be the case in other rooms. We were applauding the creator and kicking ourselves. Only one puzzle stuck out as hitting the bum note.

Full disclosure: we weren’t charged for the tickets

Dark Magik, Access Escape

Dark Magik

Access Escape

Played: January 2020

How we did: 2 person team – 6/6 dragon eggs,  58:30

In a nutshell: The Uk’s only completely dark escape room

4.2 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 3

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo emailed after

There’s a lot to love at this pop-up escape room.

First up, it is totally unique. Goodbye eyesight. Hello other senses! And lots of fumbling.

Second, I hugely admire Hannah’s project. In London at the moment it is easy to come across larger, international escape rooms where successful rooms are transplanted from other countries. 

It’s the opposite here. One woman, who has done everything herself. Setting up her puzzles in her living room to test on friends! A proper passion project, and so cool to see. 

She was a supportive host, watching us and attentive to our needs for clues. 

While I’ll keep this spoiler free, the set-up is that you need to retrieve six magic dragon eggs by solving the puzzles. Naturally enough, some puzzles worked better than others. 

There’s a hand-made feel to the puzzles, and despite the efforts of the audio and the props it was never lost on us that we were in the dark in a room above a pub in Canning Town. 

I recommend visiting this room while it’s still available. The fun factor of playing in the dark carries and uplifts the puzzles. And it is a total, mind-blowing moment when you take a peek in after the game is over. 

Also, with our ticket price around the £22 per person mark for a team of two – this represents one of London’s best value escape rooms.  

Operation Blacksheep, ClueQuest, London

In a nutshell: Top tier Escape Room. Hugely entertaining way to save the world

Played: Feb 2019

How we did: 3 person team, 55 mins

4.6 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 5

Stash – Team photos printed out for us in studio. Optional extras

This was my second visit to ClueQuest after really, really enjoying their first offering Operation Blacksheep. 

It’s a premium outfit. Hosting is enthusiastic, professional. Puzzles are varied, enjoyably ‘out there’ and a satisfying level of challenge. 

ClueQuest really do force you to work together as a team and keep communication fluid, which I love.

Visiting with two colleagues, it was all smiles after and a nailed-on team building session. 

This room takes you into a villain’s hideout. For the most part, its spacious, breezily designed and with a few mini red herrings to keep the time pressure on. 

Generally, I’m not a fan of books in escape rooms. I don’t enjoy having to leaf through pages (or not) and I find that they suffer from smudging, pencil marks and wear and tear too easily.  

While there is one puzzle that has launched itself right into my long term memory, the majority of puzzles, while fun at the time, aren’t memorable.

In my opinion ClueQuest seem to be aiming to capture the corporate market. Loads of parallel rooms, huge waiting area, premium price tag, corporate section of their website. No bad thing at all.

The price point for, say, a team of two, is higher than most in London. For me, it’s worth it though.

Utterly, utterly fun. 

Plan 52, ClueQuest, London

In a nutshell: So much fun, I’d do it all over again

Played: Sep 2018

How we did: 4 person team, 61 mins

4.6 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 5

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photos printed out for us in studio. Optional extras

Where I popped my Escape Room cherry. ClueQuest happened to be a five minute walk from our office. That we stumbled upon arguably London’s strongest escape room is quite the coincidence!

What’s to love. The venue is in a very cool, quirky layout. What hits you immediately is the strong branding and theme. Kudos to the creators for weaving that narrative and iconography through their games.

For me, its full marks on fun factor and the creativity of their puzzles. My group was three other escape room first timers and it was such a positive experience. 

The host was always there when we needed them, responding quickly and sensitive to the fact that we were newbies. 

Another really important point is that the puzzles gain momentum as you progress. Starting small in a little office, ending with a real showpiece. 

Such a professional set up: choc-a-bloc with custom-made props and puzzles. This remains the only room I’ve played where I’d happily go back and do it all again. 

Submarine Torpedo, Hint Hunt, London

In a nutshell: Immersive, claustrophobic room with good quality puzzles

Played: April 2019

How we did: 2 person team, 51:52

4 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo using our phone 

This was a return to Hint Hunt encouraged by the discount voucher. Al joined me again but my dad didn’t make the cut. (See Zen room)

With my grandfather’s naval background, I had been really keen to try out a submarine themed room. 

This room is actually used twice at Hint Hunt. We were given the option of launching a torpedo or surviving engine failure. Despite Al’s strong experience of solving engine failure with his vintage car, we opted for the torpedo.

Using the same room twice meant that the room is sprinkled with red herrings that don’t relate to the game. While I don’t enjoy major, in your face, red herrings in any game, these didn’t both us. 

The guys at Hint Hunt were really helpful in the pre-grame and the instructions were clear and fun. I do enjoy any room that has some real props to enjoy or wear while you’re escaping.

It’s a fun room. As is the mark of a good room, we were laughing and joking our way through it. We and the host enjoyed some banter, together. 

I really enjoyed the blend of puzzles – mixing classic escape room puzzles with more technical challenges. Crucially, they helped to drive the narrative too and the little ‘sub-missions’ along the way kept us engaged.

I don’t think this room would work so well for most kids. But if you enjoy a little of a mechanical and technological slant to your puzzles, I’d recommend it as a solid room

Zen Room, Hint Hunt, London

In a nutshell: Satisfying Japan-themed espionage room with one really awesome puzzle

Played: March 2019

How we did: 3 person team (one very late, one was my dad) 57 mins

3.6 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 3

Room Quality – 3

Stash – Team photo using our phone + discount card for next visit

My dad doesn’t like Escape Rooms or Japan. It seemed like the perfect Father’s Day gift to take him to the gorgeously Japanese Zen room at Hint Hunt

My first experience of Hint Hunt, I’d heard good things from their international reputation. As is custom, my dad arrived 45 minutes early. Unfortunately Al missed his train, and would be missing the start for sure.

Kindly, the staff were as accommodating as they could be, given it was a busy weekend.

If you can imagine how beautiful a Japanese spy’s headquarters would be, the team at Hint Hunt have nailed it. Only occasionally around the room would a clunky old fan pull you out of it. What the room does need is a fresh coat of paint and some sprucing up. It is showing visibility of years of good, hard, escaping. 

As my dad mused, myself and eventually Al whizzed enjoyably through the tasks. Without giving much away, there is one really, really fun puzzle that still makes me smile nearly a year later. 

I’d recommend this room, although I’m keen to see if Hint Hunt can do better

For a second opinion, here’s my dad’s review

The Dentist, No Escape, London

In a nutshell: Unlike most trips to the dentist, this was really fun

Played: August 2019  

How we did: 4 person team, 57 mins

3.6 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 3

Room Quality – 3

Stash – Team photo using our phone + with props

High up above a Londis on Oxford street, space was always going to be a premium for these guys. In fact, finding the venue could be called the first puzzle here. They double down on the macabre at No Escape, and the result is a fun room with a solid blend of puzzles. 

Side note – this featured image is not taken from the actual room. Sadly it’s a promo shot from the No Escape team

My team comprised of some escape room newbies and we had that perfect mix afterwards of kicking ourselves for not getting some of the clues. But also smiles and satisfaction that we got out and worked together so well. 

The folks running the show have clearly given a lot of thought to the dental theme, and they’ve combined some classic puzzles in a satisfying manner that keeps them fresh. 

There was one notable red herring right there in our faces, that didn’t add anything to the game. But, as is so often the case, it takes away. 

Million Pound Heist, Enigma Quests, London

In a nutshell: Slick, hugely enjoyable heist where priority is not quickest time but most $$$

Played: May 2019

How we did: 3 person team, $ 567,357

4.4 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 5

Stash – Team photo using their Ipad with props and giant cheque

This is a room worth checking out at Engima Quests. The aim is to explore a high-class thief’s safe house before infiltrating the bank to escape with as much dosh as possible. 

The first room is, for me, a classic escape room. It looks good, feels real and is full of cool shit to pick up and examine. 

I always say the mark of a great escape room is if you’re smiling and can enjoy some banter, together, while you escape. They nailed it here, combining physicality and brain-scratchers really nicely.

Use of props was on point. And, crucially it really felt like a heist. 

The hosting was helpful, and it’s a clever way they work the hints into the story. We could have a good laugh with the host, but they scored a point down for forgetting to email us the team photo later on, as they said they would. 
This is as ideal for a group fairly new to escape rooms as it is for an experienced team of crack criminals escape roomers.

Joker’s Asylum, Omescape London

In a nutshell:  Ambitious but flawed origin story for Joker

Played: September 2019

How we did: 4 person team, 54:31

3.2 / 5

Host – 3

Puzzleology – 3

Fun Factor – 3

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 3

Stash – Team photo using our phone + whiteboard leaderboard

Joker’s Asylum is the hardest room at Omescape. The dark theme and the fact that a minimum of 4 players is required intrigued me. 

There’s a pretty hefty twist early doors, around which, in fitting with the circus theme, I’ll delicately tiptoe along the tightrope. 

After a disappointing debut in the Biohazard room, this was a lot more fun. While some of the puzzles and objects are worn and tired, we were laughing and smiling, and really having to work together as a team. 

Walkie-talkies are essential here, and as the game went on we found ourselves getting frustrated at our reliance on them.

The puzzles are ‘out there’ and it is commendable how they all aim to push forward the story and combine into the room’s last challenge. 

Previously, we’d had issues with host comms and support. This time, I’m sorry to say, a major boo boo in the form of the wrong locks being put on two objects. It resulted in us receiving a padlock code over the radio. And 15 minutes given back to us for the time we lost. 

While it is a step up from Biohazard, this room is a real challenge. Solid teamwork and communication is crucial here. If you (or your friends) get frustrated easily this might not be the game for you. 

Taking a step back, it’s hard for me to recommend a visit to Omescape. This is because both times I’ve visited we’ve had loooong waits to enter the room and either long delays on requests for clues or, as here, schoolboy errors with setting up the room. 

I’d love to see a rethink on the staffing support and a refresh on some of the puzzles, which are looking a little tired.