Muddy gets locked in: escaping the Escape Rooms, Plymouth
Don’t think bad of me too much, but I’m secretly counting down the days until term starts. My moody teens are proper fun sponges at times. So when trawling the interweb for things to keep them occupied (seriously, what happened to messing about by the river?), I came across the Escape Rooms in Plymouth. I’m well aware its over the Tamar, thanks, no need to write in. But its easily reached by road, rail, sea whatever, I think this is one day trip worth the potential nosebleed.
Its very simple. You’re locked in a room, and the challenge is to solve clues and find the key before the time runs out. Andrew Downey, owner of the Escape Rooms came up with the idea after trying a similar experience in Kiev. (Alarm bells ringing anyone??) As he spoke, I was imagining Hostel like dungeons – he was either really brave, or a complete loony. Turns out it wasn’t to dissimilar to the movie: no power tools for torture, but stepping into a block of flats in the eastern bloc he was asked to hand over his mobile (sod the alarm bells, where’s the fire escape???). So why he hadn’t legged it at this point? He knew it was ok as ‘the toilets were quite nice!’ But he survived, no one tried to chop him up into little pieces, and he enjoyed the experience so much, he brought the concept to Plymouth.
We tried Germ – the easier of the two since we er, had the kids with us. The backstory is: you have been captured by insurgents whilst investigating allegations of chemical weapon stocks within the eastern territories during the cold war. A double agent has left you clues that could lead to your escape. So first off don’t panic. Everything you need to escape is in the room with you. Joshua is on call and can slip clues under the door if you get stuck, but you’re in there for an hour, and you’re perfectly safe. You’re watched at all times via CCTV and can communicate with Joshua on the outside if you need to.
He asked us if we had any phobias, and when Mr MC said he didn’t like spiders very much, was handed a rubber mallet. Joshua also looked at our feet and said, ‘oh you forgot your wellies’. But don’t worry – he’s being a windup merchant – this is all scene setting!
While I can’t go into detail (it would ruin the surprise), you gotta think laterally. We quickly shaped up like a social experiment nightmare. Plymouth’s answer to Big Brother. But solving the elaborate clues was compelling and satisfying. Some were easier than others, and some were downright hard. The hour went really quickly though – thank god Joshua was on hand, or we might still be locked in!
It was tricky, and we did need help with some cryptic clues, but we had such a buzz when we escaped (look at our jolly faces!). Sadly not in time (61 minutes) so technically we died. There are two escape rooms – we can’t wait to try Bizzarro Quest. And the moody teens? Less moody and a little bit smug 🙂
Good for: those that love puzzles and challenges – fans of The Crystal Maze, The Rooms app, The Da Vinci Code. Wannabee spies and secret agents. Great for know it all fathers in law, quietly clever mothers in laws. Moody teens who know way more than you. Significant others who decipher ONE clue and take responsibility for solving the whole challenge (*eyeroll*). Families. Teams of any kind, corporate, clubs, Hen and Stag parties. Teen birthday parties.
Not for: Those that find the Chat crossword puzzle a challenge. Claustrophobic’s. While the room is large and the windows are open, those who like to be in full control of their environments might find it slightly out of their comfort zone at first. Though its branded as suitable for all, younger children might find it hard.
£££: From £60 for a team of four, this is a brilliant way to spend an hour.
10am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. The Escape Rooms, 30-34 George Place, Stonehouse, Plymouth PL1 3NY