Time for another escape room review, which again will be kept a little bit vague as I don’t want to spoil it for others by being too specific!
When I heard that there was an escape room called Breakout in Manchester which had 2 identical rooms that could be played at the same time I knew that we had to play them. I’m not saying that we’re a competitive group, but when the first question when doing the escape rooms is “did you make it and what time did you get out” before someone says hello to you… well, there may be a slightly competitive element.
There were 9 of us doing the rooms, so we split into a 4 and a 5, with Emma and I on different teams. We were all briefed together by Daniel, who was friendly and funny, putting us at ease. The theme of the room, Classified, is that it is the final exam of a secret agent. My group went upstairs while Emma’s went downstairs. Due to how the unit is, we could hear what they were shouting and vice versa. It was really difficult remembering not to shout when you solved some of the puzzles! Daniel told us at the start that as it was a bit of a competition if they gave one team a clue, the other team would automatically get a clue which I thought was really good and would keep the playing field level.
The room itself was quite bare, with almost everything in the room having a purpose. This meant that some of the time one or two of us were standing around waiting/doing nothing as there wasn’t anything to do (near the end for example) Compared to other games we have played where there are extra objects in the room that aren’t part of the game and are there to throw you off, this made the game feel quite linear. The bare room may have been a reflection on the theme of the game, as it was supposed to be an exam. The time went quickly, as usual during these rooms, although it did drag a bit near the end when a piece of equipment wasn’t working the way it should have done for us!
So, to sum up – much better than Make a Break in Manchester, but not as good as Escape Quest in Macclesfield or Clue HQ in Warrington! I believe that the lease for the Classified units is up soon, but the premise of being able to compete against friends is a good one that I hope is done well in the future. Breakout Manchester also have several other rooms with different themes, and hopefully we’ll be trying out some of those soon.
Just to be clear – if we’d had a vital piece of equipment working properly, then we would definitely have made it out first. As it was, our team of 4 (with one new player) were very close behind the team of 5 (who have all played 2 games previously!) so we feel the victory would have been ours had things been fair!