Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published April 21st 2018
Latest Escape Rooms With Historic Themes
With escape rooms themed in World War Two and ancient Japan, Escape Hunt is the latest puzzle master to put Birmingham to the test.
The Fourth Samurai is one of the escape rooms at Escape Hunt. Photo Alison Brinkworth
This is the first Escape Hunt to open in Birmingham and it has launched with two rooms - The Fourth Samurai and The Finest Hour.
There are two of each of these escape rooms available at any time from 10am to 10pm daily and the company also has two other spare rooms where it is planning to open another themed conundrum very soon.
Set in a large building at the top of Corporation Street, the first challenge is to find the venue as it is a little hidden. It's just on the corner of Corporation Street and the Priory Queensway and although the address is Corporation Street it is actually on the Priory Queensway side of the junction. The front door is kept locked but friendly staff are quick to come downstairs and greet guests after they hear the buzzer.
The lounge area at Escape Hunt in Birmingham
The escape rooms are based on the first floor where visitors are welcomed to a lavish lounge. In this waiting area, there's games like Jenga and Solitaire to keep the brain buzzing while you wait for your room in a relaxed atmosphere. There's also the scoreboard to see how the most intuitive of previous contestants have faired - no pressure then!
Staff told me that there were also plans afoot to add a bar here too, which would make it even better for those on a birthday celebration, stag do or hen party.
For those not au fait with escape rooms, teams of up to six people are locked in a room and have one hour to escape by solving a series of puzzles. They can be mental and physical challenges and Escape Hunt's rooms are a little in the style of The Crystal Maze with elaborate, well thought-out decor and accessories.
The age limit is 10 and older for both rooms, which can be done by couples or a group of between two and six people. The price changes depending on the number, with the charge at £25 per person for up to three players, or £20 per person if there are between four and six players.
The Fourth Samurai is the easier of the two rooms. It's set in ancient Japan with a good storyline to go with the adventure. The games master leads everyone into the room with their heads down before locking them in and explaining their challenge.
Contestants are told they are now Japanese Samurai warriors, who must crack the clues to find an evil warrior's mystical sword.
This, of the two rooms, is more like the Crystal Maze with some scenarios that require physical, sports-like solutions, and others that are about finding pieces of puzzles or using your wits to work out the result.
Escape Hunt in Birmingham pits your wits against the clock
There are several rooms within both escape rooms to get through, which adds to the excitement and the Fourth Samurai requires lots of logic and observation, but also out of the box thinking, making it a refreshing escape room to suit different types of people. This one, out of the two, would be the better for those going with children.
It's a lot of fun, especially the decor and accessories. Most people manage to complete this room within the 60 minutes, so it is a good place to start.
The Finest Hour is the more difficult of the two rooms
The second of the rooms - The Finest Hour - is much tougher and, so far, only 40% of people have completed it within the hour.
Set during World War Two and involving spies, codes, Nazis and maps, the contestants are transported into a world where they must save Britain from being invaded.
The detail in the room is unbelievable and it really is like stepping back in time (there's even carrier pigeons). The Finest Hour is more impressive in my opinion, but it is also so much more challenging.
Set in a dark atmosphere, this game relies heavily on your wits and mental ability. The clues are much more subtle than in The Fourth Samurai and much more concentration and observation is needed. That said, it was still a very entertaining and enthralling escape room to do with plenty to talk about with the group afterward.
Escape Hunt rooms are slightly different to some other of these challenge venues as there are no clocks counting you down, which in a way takes away a little extra pressure of seeing the minutes pass by when you are stumbling on a clue.
With a cosy lounge, this is also a venue that is making the escape room more of an experience than somewhere to quickly go in and out of. There was a definite emphasis on sitting groups down round a table to chat before and after the challenge, which brought everyone together as a team and improved their camaraderie.
With great ingenuity and extravagant themes and decor, Escape Hunt is a fun and unusual activity for families, friends or work colleagues that would also make for a memorable date for couples. One thing is for sure, it's unlocking a whole new adventure in Birmingham.