Posted in Break Escape

The Christmas Cheer Challenge – Break Escape

Game 18

It’s been a while since I have had the chance to play a new game at Break Escape but, with their new Christmas room opening there was no better reason than to give it a go. Hey, it’s November but that’s Christmas season right?!

THE STORY

Santa’s behind on his deliveries and needs more Christmas Spirit to power his sleigh. You as elves in his workshop must find the secret formula for Christmas Spirit and find as much Christmas Cheer as you can before the clock strikes 12 midnight!
Can you and your team make the Christmas Spirit in time to spur Santa on, and gather as much Christmas cheer as you can before your time runs out?!

THE GAMEPLAY

The first thing to say here is that this is a proper escape room. I’d wrongly assumed that as it was a Christmas room and, in theory, it has a limited appeal each year, that it would be a cheesy, easy to play, festive bit of fun. How wrong I was. This is a proper escape room. It has some really decent puzzles and a really nice mix to boot. Designed to be accessible for the whole family, there is something for everyone to get there teeth into. It’s also a game with a slightly unusual twist. It’s has a 100% escape rate. Here, it’s not about if you escape but more about how well. The room comes in two parts, the first, the need to fix the elves machine in order to be able to create more Christmas spirit. The second part is about collecting as much Christmas cheer as you can in order to convert to Christmas Spirit. Uniquely, the first part of the game is the only thing you need to do to escape. The collection of Christmas cheer is optional and the puzzles you need to crack to gain cheer increase in difficult. Here, it makes it a little difficult to give it a difficulty rating. The initial machine puzzles aren’t too difficult on the whole but the second half really does get the brain matter working. Progress in the game is made really clear as the machine reacts that what you do. There are some really nice touches and things that the kids will really enjoy. In addition, some hidden surprises and at least one moment that I’ve never seen in an escape room before. The room has a good mixture of physical, logic and observation puzzles as well as a good amount of searching. Some are genuinely clever and make you smile when you eventually work them out. As you make your way through the cheer puzzles, the very fitting Tinsel the elf updates you on the percentage of cheer you’ve collected. Collecting 100% cheer will be a real challenge, even for enthusiasts. There is no messing here, Break Escape have created a room that really does have a level of difficulty that can differentiate depending on your level of experience, without taking away the enjoyment. You also get your money’s worth because, unless you finish all the cheer puzzles early (unlikely), you’ll get your full 60 minutes, something many enthusiasts haven’t done for some time!

DECOR

The room is amazing! Some Christmas rooms you can see how it has been made on a budget. Break Escape have splashed some serious cash on the room and the result is something very complete. The quality of what they have done really does immerse you in a Christmas fantasy. Every prop and puzzle has been carefully considered in order to give a real feel to the room. You can even dress up too! If this room doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit then you might as well give up on Christmas completely! Beautifully designed and beautifully themed and a really great addition to the line up already available at Break Escape.

OVERALL

Another great game for the whole family. If you are looking for a Christmas room that will challenge and enchant you then look no further. This is the perfect addition to your Christmas.

Escaped: 60:00 with 75% cheer collected

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty (main game) *****

Difficulty (Cheer) *****

Overall *****

Posted in Break Escape

The Enchanted Forest – Break Escape

Game 5

This was our final trip to Break Escape as we got to experience their newest game, The Enchanted Forest. Having heard nothing but good things about the room, we couldn’t wait to get in and see what it was all about!

THE STORY

A portal has been discovered that leads through to another world. The realm is under the control of a dark enchantress, and the forest sleeps. Can you wake it, and find a rare blue gem before the enchantress and make your escape?!

THE GAMEPLAY

The Enchanted Forest is a very non-linear game. The beauty of it is that there is so much to do you will always be able find something to keep your group occupied. We did this room as a group of four and found that splitting into groups of 2 or, at times working on things on our own was the way forward. The game offers a huge amount of variety in its puzzles. There is a great mix of logic, visual, mathematical, physical, skill and word puzzles meaning there is something in the room for every skills set. The beauty of the room is that although it is non-linear for the most part, you can always tell you are making progress. Each puzzle gives a definitive end and it becomes clear early on the aim of, at least, the first element of the main room. I would even argue that there is so much to do, if you didn’t discuss what you did with others and avoided the puzzles you had completed the first time, you could play it more than once and have a totally different experience.

After the initial start (which is a wonderful beginning), don’t feel disheartened that it will take a little while to get into your stride. All of the first phase puzzles for the room are available to you, it’s just simply working out what goes with what. It took us a good 6 or 7 minutes once in the room to begin to group things together in order to begin solving puzzles.

Phase three of the room brought yet more wonderful surprises and a really nice touch. Again, the theme and story were brought well into play and it was a nice change of pace and a nice variety of puzzles that help bring the room to a climax. It was almost like you had been presented with a new room! Everything in this game has been so meticulously thought through. There is not a single puzzle I didn’t like and not a single moment I didn’t enjoy.

I haven’t mentioned the start yet. The entrance to the room is one of the more unique we’ve played and certainly gave us the wow factor. There is also a really amazing way to reach the main room. I’ll give nothing away but it still my favourite way of progressing through a story and I’m amazed no one had done it before. There was certainly a squeal of excitement from our group when we realised just what it was!

One of the unique elements of the The Enchanted Forest was the side mission that became part of the game. Embedded into the room were physical puzzles that enabled the group to obtain precious lifestones (golden golf balls). Obtaining these would reduce you final time, as long as you escaped within 60 minutes. Each ball took off three minutes of your time. We decided to avoid these and concentrated on the important puzzles. The owners, Tom and Jak, came to see us at the end and showed us how to complete each puzzle. It’s all in the technique is all we will say.

Don’t get me wrong, this room is hard. Like, really hard, but there were two clue systems in play in the room. Throughout, a very wise and helpful owl provided us with hints and tips. There was also the occasional appearance from the Enchantress herself but how I will keep a mystery.

DECOR

Every single element was so in keeping with the theme and the attention to detail was phenomenal. There were so many new and unique elements to the set design it would be impossible for me to list them all. The room was stunning and I would go as far to say as one of the best examples of room design we have seen so far. I cannot praise Break Escape enough for the craftsmanship and creativity that has gone into planning and delivering such an immersive experience. Even if you suck at Escape Rooms, it’s worth the visit to The Enchanted Forest just to marvel at their handiwork.

OVERALL

By far the most immersive, detailed and complete escape room we have ever done. Also, the hardest escape room we have ever done. If this is the direction Break Escape are heading with any future rooms then they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. It is clear that the owners, Jak and Tom, have a passion for the industry and this shines through in their design, puzzles and overall theme. If there were Escape Room awards, this should win all of them! You NEED to book this room, and now! ESCAPED: 58.31

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****

Posted in Break Escape

Nerve Klink – Break Escape

Game 3

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.

THE STORY

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!

THE GAMEPLAY

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.

THE DECOR

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.

OVERALL

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

Theme *****

Decor *****

Gameplay *****

Difficulty *****

Overall *****