Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published January 3rd 2015
Innovative, fresh and engaging
The concept of an escape room was pretty new to me but I had heard about it from friends who had been before. They seemed to love it and have even played in a number of European cities before. To me it sounded like an amalgamation of video games, puzzles, a real life treasure hunt and perhaps a dash of a fantastical theme or idea that made the player feel like a hero. Anyway, it seemed like a pretty cool thing to do and very generation Y.
So it came to be that Escape Land was the first escape room we played. Located in London, it was situated a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station, on a quiet street which looked mostly empty. Luckily it was number 1 so we didn't have to walk far from the street corner, marked by a large poster at the front glass window. Not knowing quite what to expect, we walked into the office/front desk, having made a booking online/ via email prior.
The gentleman, whose name we later came to learn was Sandor, was a pleasant host and talked us through the debriefing in the first few minutes. There was a cupboard at the front to leave any bigger bags - it's best to travel light. Remember, you will literally be stuck in a room for an hour or so.
The theme for the escape room was SteamPunk, a mixed genre of fantastical ideas of an alternate history, incorporating the era of the steam engine and all things steam-powered in a post apocalyptic future. It is usually in the setting of a western civilisation, in this case, British history. The theme was an accurate representation of what was inside the room so be ready to be transported to another era, another time, another fantastical you; at least for a little while.
For those of you who may question your own puzzle solving abilities, do not fear, I was exactly the same. Sandor will be watching your game, and as if on cue, will come to your aid when required, making the game flow smoothly, whilst managing to keep the player captivated and thoroughly engaged throughout. You may even surprise yourself with your newly discovered abilities!
Armed only with a walkie talkie for the team, some paper and yourself, one of your greatest resources will be your team, which can include anything between 3 to 5 people. The complexity of the game will vary depending on the number of players, but the timing felt just right. Without giving too much away, there was a large variety of different puzzles to solve, all at once, but mostly a little bit of everything, and you will find you solve some all by yourself, which is quite satisfying. The tasks incorporate a combination of manual dexterity, lateral thinking, logical sequencing and also some creative thinking, therefore engaging parts of the brain you may not regularly exercise.
The basic idea is to find your way out of the escape room within the allocated time, which is doable but challenging at the same time. Additionally, we found it a great team bonding experience so you could involve your corporate team or even for the next birthday for family or friends.
Innovative, fresh and engaging, I'd definitely recommend challenging yourself with EscapeLand!