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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. 

Biohazard, Omescape

In a nutshell: Enjoyable if you’re a scientist (probably), but let down by hosting issues

Played: October 2019

How we did: 3 person team, 57:45

3 / 5

Host – 2

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 2

Immersion – 3

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo using our phone + whiteboard leaderboard

This was my first visit to Omescape. The host was a really nice guy, but there was a major delay in getting us briefed and into our rooms. What became clear is that it was just one dude, and he was waiting for the other room’s groups to arrive to brief us all at once – that is some serious plate spinning. 

If you like to geek out with chemistry, you’re pretty sure to love this room. The second and third parts are so formula-heavy, that two of us just kicked around getting bored and our chemist friend went to town.

I loved how the room evolved from location to location. Really fun start as you ‘break in’ to the laboratory. Some tenuous puzzles had us sighing once we got into the lab. 

One other point to consider, this is a small location with rooms packed in. We had the noise from a different group bleed into our room during the final puzzle. Plus, given the serious waiting time, a lot of noise came through from the waiting area. Both of which really sucked. 

A major bug bear of mine is requests for clues going unanswered. We were stuck on a particularly tenuous clue, trying to call the guy for well over 5 minutes. 

I’d love to see Omescape rethink their staffing and support, particularly during peak hours. Having just one person cover everything provides a disservice to the customers. As nice as the guy was, our enjoyment really suffered. 

If I didn’t have a voucher for a second game, I wouldn’t be coming back.

Codebreakers Mission: Breakout, London

In a nutshell: Realistic wartime code-cracking

Played: October 2019

How we did: 3 person team, 44:18

4.2 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 4

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 5

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo with prop clothes, using our phone + certificate plus local discount for restaurant 

Our second Mission: Breakout. Taking us back to WWII and, again, full marks to the creators for nailing the setting and ambiance. 

From the very start, with the video intro with Mr Churchill, you’re immersed. Living the life of a code breaker. It’s a really fun time. They use some really cool props to bring the game to life. 

Reading some other reviews, it seems they have taken on the feedback from previous years, as we didn’t encounter any of the issues mentioned. 

Looking back, the type of puzzles were always going to be more code-breakery. We worked well as a three and, as is the mark of the room for me, had a lot of fun throughout. 

Of the two, it’s hard to recommend one ahead of the other. I’d say, just pick spooks and trains or WWII. 

The Lost Passenger Mission: Breakout, London

In a nutshell: Spooky and technical challenges in utterly authentic Underground setting

Played: August 2019

How we did: 3 person team, 52 mins

4.4 / 5

Host – 5

Puzzleology – 3

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 5

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo with prop clothes + certificate plus local discount for restaurant

Man, oh man. They do not make many escape rooms like this one. Set up as ghost hunters, the mission is to investigate the real life mystery deep underground from 1924. 

Full marks to the folks at Mission: Breakout for using the real life setting so well. Well done for setting up the start of the mission brilliantly. It all worked spot on. We’re thrown into it, smiles all round – a little bit scared.

Where it can improve is in the puzzles. None of them really blew us away. Where they didn’t land it was due to really old equipment not working (or staying put) very well or arbitrary puzzles tacked on which didn’t drive the story forward.

I’m not a fan of technical, switchboard-style puzzles. But train enthusiasts will have steam coming out of their ears here (in a good way)

Unfortunately the big grand stand puzzle isn’t the finisher, and we felt a little underwhelmed getting out of the last alleyway. Thanks to the staff for making it fun though. The mark of a good host is if you can remember their name, and if they made you laugh – nice one, Pixie!

This is a decent set of puzzles greatly enhanced by the staff, the setting and the storyline.