Roll Out the Barrel, Escape Plan

Played: February 2020

How we did: 3 person team – 58:58 – escaped with full barrel

In a nutshell:   Stealing a barrel of beer in WWII party room – it’s a corker

4.6 / 5

Host – 5

Puzzleology – 5

Fun Factor – 5

Immersion – 4

Room Quality – 4

Stash – Team photo, emailed afterwards + score card

This is a really fun, World War II themed room. It offers a broad mix of puzzles to work the muscles and the brain. So taxing are some of the puzzles it’s advisable to attempt this one stone cold sober – as Poirot would say – with all the little grey cells intact. Ironic for a room themed around stealing beer!

True to form, the team at Escape Plan have created a well thought out room. Like a lot of top escape rooms in London, they care about the little details and touches, and they clearly take pride in what they do. 

Where they stand out is the uniqueness of some of the puzzles and props. Lots of really hands-on puzzles involving wood, metal, glass and parts of planes – and the odd bicycle. As wacky as a party at the end World War Two should be. 

Now it’s in a unique location underneath a very snazzy Indian restaurant in Shoreditch.  They do well to get straight to the puzzling before you even get in the door. Regular readers of the blog will know how much I value a sense of progression, moving through the puzzles – as well as fun, personable and responsive hosting. 

In both senses, they really nail it here. Like all good rooms, communication and teamwork will be some of the many keys to success. After that, everything drops into place. 

While their Battle for Britain room remains my favourite room in London, I am happy to recommend this one hugely. For me it’s just lacking the charming setting and the spectacle of grandstand puzzle we enjoyed before.

I’m mightily relieved that we managed to escape this one without the incisive military knowledge, experience and heroism of my father.

Full Disclosure; we were not charged for this room

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. 

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

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.