CTRL ALT ESC – Detention
Updated: May 23
Having completed their other two rooms (Spacescape and Frankenscape), I was greatly looking forward to our summer holiday – a return to Kent meant a return to ‘CTRL ALT ESC’!
Their other two rooms were outstanding (Spacescape remains one of my favourites), and I had heard great things about their new room, ‘Detention’. Rather than my usual team, we were instead composed of 2 experienced players, and 2 tag-a-longs. Fortunately, I don’t play rooms for the record, but rather the experience.
It was rather a gloomy day in Margate as we approached the room, but were looking forward to it nevertheless…
The naughty children
The theme of this room is a school detention – something I’ve not heard of before! Walking into the room, we were very much transported back to a primary school classroom, complete with wooden desks and a blackboard.
The set dressing was excellent, with a few surprises up its sleeve! The props were all high quality, and fit the room design perfectly. We were never left wondering whether a puzzle was incomplete due to a fault in the room, or our own issues. There were many enchanting moments throughout, with sneaky triggers that kept us guessing until the end, like the uneducated students we were!
The puzzles themselves were multi-linear (yay!), with an innovative hint system, which I don’t want to give away. Suffice to say, I was enjoying myself from the start of my detention.
There was a decent variety of puzzles to attack, which I’m only just realising covered the range of subjects you may learn in school. Math, Geography and even Music intertwining with the common childhood pranks and toys you may have played with! There was plenty going on in the room – we tackled a lot of the room as individuals, coming into pairs at various points.
The puzzles didn’t necessarily flow between each other – it wasn’t always clear what came next – but there were some common threads moving throughout and it didn’t take us too long to find our way each time.
With the puzzles themselves, I think we got lucky with our team in question – we have certain talents that helped us here. I can imagine other teams becoming easily frustrated with some of the puzzles, though I imagine they would be supported by the Games Master (GM). One bugbear I had was the fact that, whilst some triggers were automatic, others were very clearly triggered manually by the GM. Finally, there wasn’t really any clear ‘goal’ to the room, or resolution. Even the final ‘escape’ was GM triggered (although it was a lot of fun!).
Our GM, Anna, was fantastic. We had a lovely chat beforehand about rooms we’d already done, and she came across as genuinely warm and friendly. Unfortunately, she soon switched into the stern teacher taking us to detention (a role she took on beautifully). She knew just when to give us hints and nudges, and was very excited for us at the end. She also offered to explain to us anything we had missed or didn’t quite understand, which isn’t always the case with GMs. Thank you Anna!
Outside the room
The room itself isn’t in the most auspicious of locations, located on the seafront of Margate. That said, the room itself does bits and bobs and there is an off-license just around the corner alongside a couple of cafés, should you need a drink or snack. There is a small waiting area in the building, with benches and standard puzzles. There are big, robust lockers to store your belongings (fridge-sized), and you are provided water to take into the room with you. We have also been given an exceedingly warm welcome and farewell each time we’ve been.
There are steps in the building and the room itself – this is in no way suited for those in wheelchairs or limited mobility. There is also a required part of the room that requires a reasonable amount of mobility, so please check before going if you think this may be an issue.
There is a dexterity puzzle that I opted not to do, but didn’t take my teammates too long to complete once they had worked out the ‘knack’. Hearing is also and essential part of this room, as well as colour perception.
The room was fairly spacious, with reasonable ventilation, and well lit. However, there was a soundtrack playing which could be off putting to some, and some narrower corridors to navigate to reach the room.
There were also some puzzles just above head height, so although kids may love this room, they would need parental help for quite a few of the puzzles!
Was it worth the money?
We paid £80 for a group of 4 – £20pp. Compared to the going-rate for other escape rooms, this is definitely good bang for your buck.
Pros; Theme, props, GM, puzzles
Cons; Accessibility, flow, triggers