Escape Room, Manchester – The launch
Whilst my experience at Escape Room UK was complimentary, this review is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Escape Room UK is Manchester’s newest Escape Game Company. Opening just 6 weeks ago, they have already made their mark and are certainly standing out from the crowd. There are a few key differences between Escape Room UK and the existing companies which make an immediate difference;
- The Franchise – Escape Room UK is part of a worldwide franchise, and Manchester is the first branch to be opened, with plans to follow suit in both London and Birmingham, this company is about to take the UK by storm
- The Venue – Immediately on entering you get the sense that you’re in a more professional setting. Escape Room UK is based in a converted night club, with a fantastic location, great facilities, and a reasonably priced bar, this company are focused on making the whole visit part of the experience. While most escape game companies offer corporate packages, this is the one where you can really see successful corporate events being held.
- The Games – Being part of a large franchise, Escape Room UK has access to a dedicated R&D team who develop all the games. Currently having 24 games in their portfolio to choose from, each new site conducts research to ensure the most suitable games are selected for each location. In addition, on being presented with a new game idea, the team have 8 weeks to turn it around and produce a successful, installed, working game.
- The People – It’s hard when walking around the venue to find a member of staff who isn’t utterly passionate about what they have built and what they are trying to achieve. From being greeted at the door, to being escorted to the bar, they are determined to give you an amazing experience from start to finish. Speaking to each member of staff you can see how proud they are with what they’re doing, and how much effort they have put in to making the company a success.
- The Price – For a premier service Escape Room UK does not come with a premier price. Priced the same as it’s competitors, when splitting the cost between the team, for 6 people to play The Secret Lab the cost is only £2 more per person than playing Sabotage at Breakout Manchester, and was the same for a 5 person game at Make A Break or Escape Quest and a 6 person game at Clue HQ. Prices at the bar are also reasonable, with the cost of a pint around £3.
Escape Room UK has opened with 5 rooms, and in keeping with other Escape Games each room is scored on difficulty. Currently Escape Room UK has one 3 star room, The Mummy, two 4 star rooms, Slaughter House and Prison Break, and two 5 star rooms, Room 13 and The Secret Lab.
We played The Secret Lab, the only game in Manchester so far to have less than 5 teams on the top 5 leader board, as so far only 4 teams have succeeded…..
On entering the room you immediately see that the set up is already a cut above the rest. Instead of feeling like you’re in a room kitted out as an Escape Game, you simply feel like you’re in the room. This adds to the atmosphere of the game, and you feel more immersed as you hunt for clues in this wonderfully believable setting.
Obviously I will not go into a lot of detail about the game itself, as I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for potential gamers. but I will say that once again Escape Room UK managed to keep the puzzles fresh and interesting, while also making them in keeping with the theme of the room.
One thing a veteran escape gamer will immediately notice however is the lack of the hint screen. Escape Room UK does not communicate with you via a screen in the room, but instead, a hint button on the wall can be pressed if you get stuck, and staff will come in and give you a clue. This is one aspect of the game I didn’t like. Having such an amazing setting for the game, and getting the player fully immersed in the world they have created, having someone then walk into the room (you’re supposedly locked in) kind of breaks the mood and brings you back to reality. I think the clue button, (and being restricted on how many times you can press it) is a better approach than being given clues when the observer feels you need them. It allows you to make the decision as to when you need help, as it puts you in control. But perhaps combining the help button with a screen would work much better then having staff enter the room with you, and this is something that I fed back to the staff after playing the game, so hopefully this will be implemented in the future.
The Secret Lab is very hard, we didn’t escape, but there was just two of us (any excuse) and we still had a great time.
We also got to have a sneak peek at some of the other rooms, and one thing we noticed consistently is the amount of effort put into the decoration and set up of each room. This is a company that takes the theme of a room very seriously, from the high quality décor, to realistic props, and even the smell of the room helps to set the scene. We also noticed that each room was very different, and also very different to rooms we had seen from other companies. Escape Room UK is not afraid to take it to the next level, as indicated by the amount of screams we heard throughout the night! But not to fear, there are rooms suitable for everyone. I suggest that if you have younger children, wish to avoid a fear factor, prefer not to play in the dark or wish to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia, that you speak with a member of staff prior to booking about which game you should select.
Escape Room UK advertises itself as Manchester’s premier experience, and from what I have seen so far, it has the right to do so.
Book now for your chance to try out these amazing new escape games, and use the promo code ESC20 for 20% off!
Oh, and almost forgot to mention, they’re partnered with Blizzard!!! And will be adding a games room to the site soon!Thanks for reading!
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