ESCAPE LONDON - Casino Heist
After nearly a year without playing a room, I was so excited to get back to it. We chose "Escape London" as we've had great experiences there previously, so we knew our first time back would be a good one! Fortunately they did not disappoint, and this was truly a room to remember.
In this game, you are planning a heist on a casino, and must steal as much money as possible before escaping. When you first enter the room, it's fairly unassuming - you find yourself not in a casino, but in a bar. However, you soon find yourself journeying through the casino into the safe room.
What 'Escape London' have managed to do with such a small space is amazing. Although elements did feel a little basic at times, and certainly the space felt very tight, there were plenty of puzzles and a definite sense of progression. It also felt like a great play on the 'casino' theme, which bought added interest. Finally, elements of the final room linked right back to the first, uniting the entire experience.
Right from the start you know this is going to be a good game. Although the space was fairly small, there were lots of things to see and find. Multiple puzzles on the go from the start meant everyone was immediately engaged and excited and, as mentioned, the surprise at seeing a bar rather than a casino gave a little hint that this room might have more to it than previously expected. The puzzles continued in a multi-linear nature, with multiple puzzles on the go right until the final puzzle.
Unfortunately one of the initial puzzles was a dexterity puzzle, which I quickly handed over to my other teammates. Simultaneously we were also presented with a mathematical puzzle, although the provided hints (we eventually found) meant we were able to achieve this and move onto more interesting puzzles.
One thing you quickly realise about the puzzles in the room is how perfectly they are themed and linked to the room - from cocktails in the bar, to cards in the casino. Admittedly, as much as I enjoyed these puzzles I was aware that some of them required prior knowledge. However, the majority were able to be puzzled through, although this was where my second issue with the room arrived - although we did indeed 'puzzle' through some of the puzzles, there was a distinct lack of feedback so we struggled to know whether we were indeed on the right track or not. That being said, it was refreshing that we had to figure out what to do with lots of these puzzles rather than having the solution (or instructions) handed to us.
In general, there was a huge variety of puzzles and types of puzzle in the room, and the final stage was one of my favourites of any room I've encountered. A fantastic array of different puzzles requiring lateral thinking, limited time, and the challenge to decide whether to commit to finding more money or getting out.
The room and and venue are entirely flat, but the room itself has very little space and could easily lead to a feeling of unease if you suffer from claustrophobia or other space related anxieties, especially as this lead to feeling quite warm.
The soundtrack for the room was quite loud, and there was one puzzle I physically could not do due to this (I have hearing issues). The hint system was also delivered via walkie talkie, so naturally this was discarded in the first room.
Otherwise, there were no physical puzzles after the first, I can see no issues with colour perception, and the rooms were well lit.
Outside the room
The venue is well decorated inside, certainly enough to generate interest in other rooms. There is a toilet (which I believe was accessible), and storage for belongings. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, and were interested in our feedback afterwards.
One thing to be noted is there are few places to eat/drink nearby, and there is a reasonable walk to reach main transport links.
Was it worth the money?
We paid £26 each for a team of 4 and was definitely worth the money. We all got our money's worth, being constantly engaged and had a great time.
Pros: Multi-linear, lots of lateral thinking, great value for money
Cons: Small space, loud music, lack of feedback on puzzles