Escape the norm!

(January 2018)

EVER fancied willingly being locked in a room and subjecting yourself to brainteasers and challenges in order to get out?

Funnily enough, it’s never really been a hankering of mine either. But, if you’ve never experienced the Escape Rooms concept before, I’d now definitely urge you to give it a go.

Leamington’s new Experimental Escape facility was our fifth encounter with the activity, which is designed to test specific skills, such as problem-solving, logical thinking, perception and communication.

It’s ideal for small groups of between two and five, consisting of family or friends who are encouraged to work together as a team to crack the clues and, ultimately, free themselves from the room.

In fact teamwork is essential. There are so many questions and riddles posed and time is of the essence. You’re only given 60 minutes to advance your way through the challenges and escape.

It might be a padlock combination, a numeric interpretation or clever riddle you’re tasked with solving. Each step moves you one step closer to the finish line – a bit like a metaphorical board game.

Competition is encouraged and the best times posted are recorded on a ‘leader board’ outside. Exhilarating and frustrating in equal measure for the most competitive among us!

The first room to open at Experimental Escape is called The Machine, the context being that the machine was created in an attempt to be at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence but appears to be an absolute failure.

Ever since the mysterious disappearance of the Professor – the mastermind of this creation – The Machine has remained dormant. So we are asked to try and determine what went wrong and restore communication – in under 60 minutes.

Easier, perhaps, than it sounds!

Our party consisted of two adults, a teenager and a 12-year-old and we managed to crack all the clues and escape within the hour – by the skin of our teeth.

And, without including any spoilers, the climax is very exciting.

For us the challenge level of this room was just right but for those who are still Escape Room virgins, it might prove trickier.

Don’t fear though – there is an Experimental Escape staff member watching you on camera every step of the way and chiming in with little hints and tips on a screen when required. (It wouldn’t be much fun if you spent the entire hour trying the decipher the first clue!)

There’s even a bell to ring if bigger clues are needed. We only had to resort to this once.

The Escape Rooms concept may not be for everybody – but they’re a firm favourite in our house. And there’s good reason why they are taking off across the world.

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