The Oracles, Modern Fables

Played: February 2020

How we did: 2 person team – 60:15

In a nutshell:  What if time travel and aliens were a real thing, and they made an Escape Room in Hackney?

4.4 / 5

Host – 4

Puzzleology – 5

Fun Factor – 4

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 5

Stash – Team photo emailed after

I love what the team at Modern Fables are doing. First of all, they are not afraid to go deep and geek out. In a city awash with Harry Potter themed rooms, these guys are creating ambitious narratives around conspiracy theories, aliens and time travel.

Doubly impressive is that all the rooms incorporate the same universe, part of one big narrative arc. I hugely admire the commitment to spookiness, a feeling of unease that permeates the rooms before you walk in the front door. 

That’s all very well George. But is the room any good?

Well, yes it is. They have an excellent use of a games master, which sets up a memorable first puzzle. One which has to be one of my favourite ever. I still smile thinking about it. Snaps to my co-puzzler for realising the plan to which we needed to stick. 

Any room should be fun and it should be satisfying to complete. The game designers have riddled the room with puzzles that tick these boxes. There is a really nice way of knowing how you’re doing, and a sense of completion as you move from one puzzle to another. And thats where things get weird (in a really good way). 

As a first timer to Modern Fables, I felt the set-up was actually too heavy on the narrative. To the point where were were getting lost and the immersion suffered. The team running it could simplify the story and this would allow the visitors to get more out of it. Less is more. 

If I were to put together a nostalgic mix-tape or greatest hits of puzzles across all the rooms I’ve done, there are two in this room that would feature for sure.

Full Disclosure: I was not charged for this room

Area 51, Escape London

In a nutshell: The truth is in there…? Hit and miss puzzles and unreliable props

Played: December 2019

How we did: 2 person team, 57:30

3 / 5

Host – 3

Puzzleology – 3

Fun Factor – 3

Immersion – 3

Room Quality – 3

Stash – Team photo emailed after, with time and team name 

I felt this room at Escape London had a lot of potential. All X Files and nutty alien puzzles, but it just didn’t all quite work for us. 

The first room is nicely set up. I loved the main geographic puzzle. The reveal to get the next room is very cool. 

That said, using an out of date laptop as part of a clue really pulls me out of it. I have enough problems with real life passwords, to enjoy cracking escape room windows passwords. 

Things got more hit and miss in the next room. We needed the odd clue in here, and one of the key props was broken. So I had to actually leave the room to get the dude’s help. 

Again, Escape London falls down with slow response times to requests for help. Really nice people work there, but the basics need to be tightened up for it to become a slick operation. 

The end felt underwhelming. We looked at each other and asked ‘did we do it?’ 

It’s a fun enough room, but I wouldn’t recommend it heartily. Personally, Overthrone and The Cabin were just more fun. This one beats the Da Vinci room though.