Oakham is known for many things: an old prison, a large body of water and a wildlife park. It wasn’t until recently that the county’s first escape room opened its doors and we were invited to go along and try out two of their games. First, Gas Alert!
You and your friends have snuck in to the laboratory of world revered scientist, Professor Wotamesser, in the hope of finding the ingredients you need for your practical jokes.
You’re just reaching for the bottle of snake venom when you accidentally knock over a bubbling flask, releasing an evil smelling gas into the air. Oh no!
Will you be able to find the antidote before the fumes finish you off and will you complete the science experiments and escape before the professor returns to discover who has messed up her life’s work?
You have 70 minutes. The clock is ticking…
Imagine an escape room that tests all that chemistry knowledge you learnt back in your GCSEs and you have some clue of what to expect with Gas Alert!. Owner Tessa, a former Science teacher has used every inch of her subject knowledge to bring a very unique, touch and enjoyable game to One Way Out.
Before I get to the game, I have to mention a moment that there isn’t enough of in escape rooms, the host fully playing a role as part of your game. We had a lovely chat with Tessa on arrival and then, once ready to start the game, she asked us to wait in reception and a wonderful little scene played out with her fully in character. It didn’t add anything to the game play itself but it really shows the passion she has for her games and adds a really fun elements to the overall experience.
The game has a mix of linear and non-linear sections and the wonderful puzzles you find in the room will bring some great aha moments to group as you begin to explore further and further into the Professor’s lab. There is a mixture of observation, logic, word and maths puzzles along with something unique to any games we’ve played before, actual science experiments and the use of science equipment to solve puzzles. For someone who found science tricky in high school, it was good to know that another member of the team was able to remember how some of these experiments worked! Now, No Way Out offers a game for up to 8 people. Often, when escape rooms offer larger numbers there is always a concern that some people may end up twiddling their thumbs. Not here, there are a huge amount of puzzles to complete. More than enough to keep a team of 8 very busy. It’s the reason why the rooms are 70 minutes, because there is genuinely too much to do in 60. As a team of two, we had to really be on our A game to get anywhere near escaping on time.
Puzzles are all logical and the room is very well signposted. In an usual way, each puzzle has some kind of riddle that went with it. Where some rooms may give more visual clues, this room often gave word riddles to give you a clue of what to to. It was a little like your own personal narrator that helped you through the game, an element that we quite liked.
Be aware, this game is difficult. More brains will certainly make things easier but as a team of two we found it tough. If you are an inexperienced team, bring a larger group, you’ll need them. When we say it’s difficult, don’t think we mean ridiculously tough because it isn’t. It’s a room that really makes you feel like you’ve earned your reward. Due to the mostly non-linear nature of the room, it’s also a game that has to test your memory at times. You may complete something in the room and have no idea what to do with it only to find it comes in useful a little later on. You really have to keep tabs on what you’ve used and what you haven’t.
The game takes place in the lab of the Professor and, as you would expect, looks like a science lab with all the props and details you would expect from a real, corporate laboratory. There has been real attention to detail here to make it looks as authentic as possible and all the spaces you explore feel real. There are some nice throwback props to use which brought a smile to our face and these are incorporated really nicely into the games theme and puzzles. Nothing here looks out of place or poorly put together, the whole decor really brings the game to life. You can see the level of thought that has done into the room with the quality of the finish.
A tough but really immersive room that will challenge any team. If you want a real test take it on as a pair or bring a larger group and tackle the game together. Either way, make sure you go along as Gas Alert is well worth the trip to the smallest county in England.
Escaped: 66:06 with a handful of clues.