Having previously played Boiling Point at Loughborough’s Break Escape it was a return visit to take on something completely different, their horror room, Nerve Klinik!
Let me start this review by saying that I have worked in the scare industry in the past. I’ve had the privilege of creating plenty of jump scares so I was apprehensive of whether or not an escape room can really be that scary. After all, they can’t turn you into a quivering wreck and halter your escape…… or can they? After all, its the only game at Break Escape that requires you to sign a waiver before entering.
Your friend Sarah Jones had been looking into a way of making quick money and decided to take part in an experiment for a new drug at Dr Greuber’s clinic. Since Sarah left you haven’t heard from her so have decided to head over to the clinic to check that everything is okay. Upon entering, it’s very clear that Dr Greuber doesn’t run a normal clinic! He doesn’t appreciate unwanted visitors and is said to have laid traps around his workplace to gas potential victims if they aren’t clever and brave enough to escape within 60 minutes!
Well, the atmosphere begins before you even get into the room. Ally, our games master for the day did a fantastic job at building up the story and putting everyone on edge before you even get in. We were a group of 4 this time and one of us was clearly showing their fears as Ally brilliantly terrorised them for the entire hour! With such an effective build up, you know that you are going to be in for an hour of real fun.
The game is a mixture of puzzles and all of them fit perfectly with the theme of the room. There are some really unique problems to solve and all of this happens while Dr Grueber makes his presence felt. One of the things I love so much about this room is that because you are so focused on solving your problems, you often forget that he’s around and therefore his appearance can often be a surprise. Not only, because you are focused, but also because he can appear from literally anywhere!
The other positive of this room is its size. The room is big enough that your group can feel separated and isolated, particularly if your group is small. There are times where the group may need to too and fro from different rooms in order to collect items you may need. Some of those items often seem like set dressing until later in the game. There is also a really unique element that helps to expand the games space and will truly offer a terrifying moment for at least one of your team. I can still hear the scream!!
The games puzzles are so well designed that it takes some time before you begin to realise that everything you’ve been doing through the games leads to one big meta puzzle finale. By that point, much of the group had been terrified enough for their brain to be scrambled and we need to take a step back, restock and try and solve it again. It brings the game to a really satisfying conclusion.
With this being a horror room, the game play is slightly different to the way you may find in other rooms. Where as non-scary rooms often allow you to play out your game with trial and error, Nerve Klinik often pushes you through the game. The good thing is that this in no way takes away from the enjoyment, the fun and the fear.
The room uses two clue systems. The first, an evil spirit who will play with your mind while throwing obscenities at you. Part of the fun is throwing them back (the game is 16+ for a reason). This adds an element of humour in the game that perfectly juxtaposes the fear. The second system is totally unique and couldn’t fit more perfectly into the game if it tried.
It’s clear that the owners of Break Escape have meticulously planned the design and set up of Nerve Klinik. The game’s look combines the grotesque and the sinister perfectly and the two main game areas compliment each other so well. One, brings the clinical macabre world of Dr Grueber to life while the second brings a pristine, sinister feel to it. The use of lighting, sound and room decoration add to the atmosphere of the room and puzzles are intricately sewn into its environment. This all adds to the unsettling feeling you get throughout the game.
This is a truly great experience with enough scares to keep you on your toes. Some people talk about the scariest escape rooms in the UK and Nerve Klinik is often mentioned and with good reason. There is enough in here to scare even the most hardened individual. After speaking to our GM after the game, a handful of people have apparently wet themselves and it’s not uncommon for people to quit the game before it has finished. The escape room elements doesn’t suffer at all with the puzzles and scares going hand in hand. The only question is, are you brave enough to book appointment with Dr Greuber? Escaped 58:42